Sports Injuries: Discovering Myself

Andy McCann, Guest Columnist

Playing hockey for 11 years, I never expected myself to have to step away from the game. First, in December of 2021, I broke my elbow and had to sit for six weeks. Then in January of this year, I sprained my acromioclavicular joint and was sidelined for four weeks. Then, to top it all off, in May, I tore my ACL and meniscus and had to say goodbye to sports for six months. 

At first, I thought I would enjoy the break because hockey took up most of my time. I had always been scrambling to do my homework and study for tests. For the first few weeks, I was able to complete all my work early and had enough free time to watch TV and go to bed early. However, it started to get rough at times, considering hockey was my main hobby, and I started to have too much time on my hands. I didn’t know what to do with my life. I spent a lot of time overthinking about when I would get back to hockey, school, and other social issues. I was starting to crumble as a person. I knew I needed to find myself.

To combat all of my problems, I decided to find a new hobby to keep me occupied while I recovered. I had gone to the gym previously, but never made any commitment to it. At first, my thought process was that if I worked out, I could prevent injury in the future because I would be much stronger. However, as I kept going to the gym, it became much bigger than just preventing injury. The gym became a place where I could hangout with my friends, while also working out and improving myself. 

After months of going to the gym, my mental health started to improve exponentially. I also researched different ways to do self-therapy. Sometimes it was hard for me to focus on school work or even talking with my friends, so I found many different breathing and mentally clearing exercises to prevent myself from overthinking. 

My mom introduced me to writing my feelings and goals down on a piece of paper, which also helped me strive to find myself. The combination of self-therapy and working out helped me clear my mind and focus on improving myself so that I would be an even better person when I was ready to go back to hockey.

Having to sit out most of the year from hockey caused many problems for me, but it actually helped me solve some of them too. As a high school student, it can be hard to find yourself, especially being put into a school with 4,000 kids. I have learned that there are going to be bumps in your life, like injuries, but there are people there to help. 

Whether it be a parent, teacher, or another friend, there are people around you who have experienced or are experiencing similar problems. There is no shame in looking to people for help and I cannot thank the people around me enough for helping through my rough patch and teaching me that everything is going to be alright.