Minor injuries can take a long term toll on athletes

By Trevor Skanes

A long-term injury is an athlete’s worst nightmare, one that many Raiders have faced. The pain of a torn ligament or a dislocated shoulder, however, is far worse when coupled with time spent stuck on the sidelines, sometimes forever.
Sophomore Danny Korduba recently tore his meniscus playing soccer and will be out four to five months. The meniscus, a cartilage in the knee, can tear if a powerful twist or a sudden stop in motion causes the femur to grind against the tibia. “I was at goal-keeper training doing a drill when it tore,” said Korduba. “I thought it was my ACL, so I was kind of relieved it was my meniscus.”
Still, Korduba is upset about the repercussions of the injury. “It’s irritating. I would like to help my team out as much as possible,” he said. “I can barely sit on the bench when opponents score on us.”
Former varsity football player Cody Biondi, a junior, experienced several shoulder injuries that ultimately ended his playing career. When his shoulder was examined after the last injury, “the doctors found damage that they said had been around three to five years,” said Biondi. He endured a torn labrum, AC joint and rotator cuff while playing football, injuries that will have a lasting impact.
“I can’t lift my arm straight up anymore,” said Biondi.
Junior Kelsey Meisch, a soccer and softball player, seriously injured her knee. “I had an LCL sprain my freshman year. I was out of soccer and softball for four months,” said Meisch, who twisted her knee while running to home plate by stepping on a bat left in the base path.
A year after the injury, she still feels the effects. “Sometimes my knee aches and I have to ice it,” Meisch said, who recalls her time on the bench as painful, too. “It was upsetting because I felt useless to my team. Sitting out also made me a little crazy because I love playing so much.”
Allie Hambleton is a 2007 graduate of the high school who played Division I soccer at Rutgers. Hambleton has experienced more than her share of injuries in her athletic career.
“I dislocated both of my knees many times and I had to get my entire kneecap reconstructed,” said Hambleton.
The surgeries forced Hambleton to the sidelines for almost a year. “The doctors brought my quad muscle down and wrapped it around my knee cap to hold it in place. When I got injured the summer going into my sophomore year of college, my knee-cap tore through the new ligament they made from my quad muscle. They ended up putting a cadaver tendon in my kneecap, held down by seven screws,” said Hambleton.
This affected Hambleton’s soccer career in a serious way. Though she had been red-shirted and was eligible for a fifth year with the Scarlet Knights, she was unable to play. “
At the Division I level you are always practicing and running, and my knees could not sustain the constant pounding,” said Hambleton.
While injuries are an unavoidable part of sports at every level, some athletes feel their effects long after the casts are off and the incisions have healed.