Student athletes warned by couches to stay safe off the field, sometimes don’t listen

Evan Sale, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

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Coaches warn their athletes not to participate in activities that could harm them for the upcoming season. Pictured above is a student athlete’s broken pinky finger, while playing intramural basketball.

College athletes are held to a certain standard when they agree to play for their school. On the Division I level students don’t have a lot of free time between going to class and going to practice, weight lifting or meetings. Here at Berry, students who play sports are very committed, but they have a little more free time. Student athletes have free time to do whatever they want in the off season. They can play intramurals, join other clubs, and even pick up a new hobby. 

While all of these seem like harmless activities, they can be a nightmare for coaches. Coaches want the best for their players, but worry about the players getting hurt in the off season and would rather some players be wrapped in bubble wrap so that they don’t get hurt. 

Here at Berry, there have been multiple incidents of athletes getting hurt doing common things when they are out of season. These accidents range from twisting an ankle or breaking a finger while playing intramural sports, to trying to pick up longboarding for the first time and waking up with a bad concussion. Lacrosse coaches tell athletes all the time not to do things that would get them hurt or put their season in jeopardy, but they know that accidents do happen. 

The football coaches try and limit these accidents as much as possible by telling the football team that they shouldn’t participate in any intramural sports because it’s too much of a risk to get hurt. Similarly, some coaches say they don’t want anyone on the injured reserve trying to pick up a dangerous hobby like longboarding. 

Senior lacrosse player Nick Zakucia, affectionately referred to as “Tony Hawkucia”, was one of the brave souls who decided to take up the hobby of longboarding, and once he felt accomplished enough he eventually took up downhill speed longboarding. As he was racing through the hills of Mountain Campus, he was going too fast and lost control of the board, flailing himself onto the concrete, gashing open his knee and giving him a concussion. 

“As soon as I came to, I realized I made a big mistake. That almost cost me my season,” Zakucia said. 

Accidents can even happen if nothing “dangerous” is involved. A student who graduated last year, (who asked to remain unnamed) twisted his ankle while dancing in their dorm room, leaving them out for a couple of practices. 

Another student, who asked to remain unnamed (because his coaches never found out about his injury) broke his pinky to the point he might possibly need surgery. He did this playing intramural basketball in the winter after a ball was jammed into his hand. He said his pinky still isn’t fully healed. 

Athletes have a lot of free time when they are not in season. Coaches insist on athletes finding safe, non-active fun when they are preparing for the upcoming season, and to stay away from activities that might hinder their performance in the season.

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