Minor injuries occur often in athletic careers, but when injury severity means sitting out of physical activity, injuries can have mental effects on players.
Among Webster athletes, sophomore Seth Parrish, senior CJ Lang and senior Allie Miller all picked up knee injuries ranging in severity, from a minor sprain to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.
Miller is a two-sport athlete, playing basketball and soccer. Miller’s injury developed through what she thought was a recurring knee problem, picking up injuries three separate times over the course of a year, with her first coming in May 2021 and her last in May 2022.
Miller was keen on playing through her injuries because she did not want to quit playing soccer.
“I had just joined a new team last year, so I was really trying to meet the people on the team, and I didn’t want to stop playing soccer, so I thought that it was just like, ‘Oh, I just have knee problems.’ I didn’t think that I would have something structurally wrong,” Miller said.
After her third injury, Miller went to get an MRI, where Miller learned she had torn her ACL and her meniscus, and would miss nine months of sport.
“I was so shocked, and my dad had a conversation with me in the car about how I don’t have to stop playing just because of this, and then I got home, and I cried,” Miller said.
Lang plays basketball and picked up a lateral meniscus tear on his left leg Nov. 4, the first day of practice for this season. While making a quick cut, Lang’s knee buckled, but as he continued to play on his injured knee, he had to decide on whether he would get surgery or continue playing through the injury.
“I had to either pick between trying to play on it all season or to get the surgery, and ultimately, I just got the surgery. I wouldn’t have been able to play the same if I hadn’t,” Lang said.
Lang received surgery on Nov. 22, and began physical therapy a week after.
Parrish is on the wrestling team and got a sprained knee in practice Jan. 14, when a teammate bigger than he put too much weight on Parrish’s leg. Although he picked up a minor injury and expects to be better in a week, Parrish’s injury has affected his confidence during practice.
“It feels like I can’t walk, so when I’m sprawling on opponents, I just get that mentality that my leg hurts,” Parrish said.
Parrish plans to play through his injury, tending to it on his own with ice and elevation.
“I can’t give up wrestling right now. I’m in a good state. I don’t want to stop, and I’m so afraid to stop,” Parrish said.
After receiving surgery for their injuries, Miller and Lang went to physical therapy to work on getting muscle back. Miller and Lang worked to rebuild lost muscle in their legs with different workouts.
“If I was wearing shorts right now, you would see my left leg is significantly skinnier and smaller. It still is, and it’s been six months. When it (surgery) first got done, there was no definition in any of my leg, I looked like I had no muscles because I didn’t. I had lost it all,” Miller said.
“In the beginning it (recovery) was hard because I had lost most of the muscle in my quad, because my whole quad and my knee kind of shut down,” Lang said.
Miller is six months into her recovery after receiving surgery July 25. After three months of recovery, Miller’s knee brace came off and she started to work on squats and body weight exercises.
Although Miller will miss this basketball season, she hopes to play soccer in the spring.
“I don’t know if I’ll be ready, but I’m going to try,” Miller said.
After six weeks of injury Lang returned to the court Dec. 16, during the Varsity Shootout against Bishop Miege at the Mizzou Arena.
“When I first got surgery and was contemplating just playing through it or not, I was wondering, I was always asking myself if I could ever go back to the way I played before, but honestly, now that I’m playing again it hasn’t really changed. I’m back in the same mindset I was before the injury,” Lang said.
This will be Luca Giordano’s first year on ECHO Staff, but he also made several contributions while taking journalism class his junior year.