Injuries are Inevitable

How Much Practice is Too Much?


Tessa Green

Student athletes often practice every day for long periods of times in a competitive environment. This has caused injuries in high school and the athletic trainers see it every day.  

Kristen Cardin has been an athletic trainer for almost 30 years. The difference between schools she worked for compared to HSE is the state of our competitive community: to do more and be the best. This results in students overbooking themselves with private trainings on top of the normal practice schedules or being a two-sport athlete, leaving no break time.  

“Anecdotally, I will tell you that 75 percent of what I see here at HSE is overuse chronic injuries,” Cardin said. “This number is way higher than the national average.” 

The IHSSA rules implemented at HSE requires one rest day per week. This helps the high school regulate time spent on sports at the high school level. However, there is no way for the school to restrict time spent outside of school. One thing the school can do to help decrease injuries is to decrease the time span of practices.  

“I struggle with coaches and their flexibility of time. If you can get it done in an hour and a half, do it. Don’t make it two and a half hours,” Athletic Director Jim Self said in a press conference with journalism students. “If you are practicing at the same time in the beginning of the season as the end of the season, you have done something wrong in the beginning,” 

This is something the HSE volleyball coach took into consideration and he made their practices shorter and gave them days off occasionally. The players greatly appreciated it. Although, at the end of the day, the school is big, competitive and in the 6A class.  

“Club [season] is a necessary evil,” Self said. “If our players aren’t playing their sport year-round, they probably aren’t making our high school team.”  

Training outside of school is inevitable if you want successful outcomes on an HSE sports team, which means overuse injuries are bound to happen.  

“I think what affects the athletes here is not the time they spend on their high school sport,” Cardin said. “It’s how much time they spend with their club and personal trainings, those aren’t regulated.” 

The competitive athletics is a part of the HSE culture. It brings everyone together. This might mean a sacrifice of overuse injuries.  

“I go to the trainer four times a week,” junior Jay Renbarger said. “That much practice is necessary.  All the hard work shows up on the field and the scoreboard.” 

Renbarger is a lacrosse player on the HSE two-time state winning team. Athletes on most of the sports teams want to strive to be the best and go as far as state. The extra training is getting them to where they want to be. Will the students really stop training as much due to overuse injuries? Probably not. The athletic trainers are there to help athletes stay safe.

“Both of our trainers are extremely helpful and friendly,” Renbarger said. “You can tell they are very educated.”