A captain’s guide to treating an injury during senior season

Karlo Vlahek, Contributing Writer

The most devastating news regarding my injury was not that I had torn my MCL but that I was out for the rest of the football season.  As a senior, working my way through my final stretch at Schreiber, I was facing my very last season of high school football.

At first, I contemplated whether or not I should have even told anyone about my injury, but I could not walk without limping.  I knew that if I went to the head athletic trainer Rick’s office, I would be out for a good amount of time.

At that point I did not have much time left in my last ever football season, so I did not want to spend a single moment in his office.  For an entire week, I was walking like the Penguin from Batman.

At night, I could not sleep more than  four hours because of the immense pain from my torn MCL.  I did not tell anyone I was out for the season, so my teammates thought I would be returning to practice the next week.  As a captain, I promised myself in the beginning of the season that no matter what, I would be a role model to my teammates and lead by example.

After I got injured, my duty as a captain on the field changed.  I had to show my teammates true dedication and devotion to what you set your mind to: coming to practice every single day regardless of your condition.  My head coach, Jamel Ramsay, told us as a team what kind of sport we signed up for.

“This sport isn’t a ‘me’ sport, it isn’t a selfish sport.  It’s a team sport, a selfless sport,” said Ramsey.

I tried to interpret that as best as I could, and this is why I tried to set good examples as a captain.  I showed up every single day not for me, not for my coaches, not for my parents or anyone else, but for my team.

At practice, I helped out the players who filled in for my position.  I would occasionally help the coaches and the student coach, senior Jason Toth, as well.  When I was not helping on the field, I was pestering my doctor to give me approval for my MRI scanning.

My approval took longer than usual, which lessened my chances of getting back to the field.

As a result, my season was cut in half, but I was happy to see that each one of my teammates got to enjoy his season to the fullest, especially the seniors who will never suit up in blue and white and play on the Schreiber turf again.

As a captain, you must be a leader.  It is especially difficult to fulfill that task when you are not on the field anymore.  Throughout the remainder of the season, I gave it my all as a captain that did not even get to see the field.

I hope that next year the players will understand true dedication and never give up on themselves, their teammates, or the program.