McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Down for the count

Professional athletes often have their careers overshadowed by a injury and find it hard to escape the attention drawn to it
Al Diaz / Miami Herald / TNS
Miami Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb (2) is assisted onto a cart after an injury during the game against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023.

Professional athletes often get injured while playing. It is just part of the job. They are knocked down and they get back up again. For most athletes, it is just a small injury that will heal overtime. But for others, it is the spotlight of their career.

Many pro athletes are more known for their injuries than their skills. A clock beating touchdown could leave people talking for weeks, but so could a broken ankle during a basketball game. 

Athletes with hard hitting injuries find it hard to escape the spotlight positioned on that injury. They can make a full recovery and continue to play their sport, but both the athlete and the media are haunted by the injury that never really goes away. 

Football player Damar Hamlin along with several other athletes have had their careers overshadowed by their injuries 

On January 2, 2023, during an NFL football game, Buffalo Bills safety, Damar Hamlin, was hit in the chest during a tackle and fell into cardiac arrest. The impact on Hamlin’s chest caused his heart to stop, a condition known as commotio cordis, according to CBSnews.

After spending nine days in the hospital, Hamlin recovered. Once he became injured, it is all everyone can talk about. No one is focused on his skills and experience anymore. People who are not Bills fans or sports fans now know who he is and what happened to him.

Hamlin goes on to make a full recovery and still continues to play for the Bills, but his injury still lurks behind him. People still see him as the safety who died on the field. He is no longer seen as the athlete he is, as his injury engulfed his career.

Like Hamlin, Tommy John is another athlete whose injury still follows them.

Tommy John was a Major League Baseball pitcher between 1963-1989. During the 1974 season, John tore his ulnar collateral ligament, UCL. 

Later that year, he recovered after being the first to try an experimental surgery. This surgery was then named after him. It is now known as “Tommy John surgery” and became what John is known for, according to Raleigh Surgery Center

He is not remembered for the pitcher and great player he once was. No one sees the four time MLB all star, all they see is a torn UCL.

Athletes among all sports struggle with comebacks after their injuries. Athletes push their boundaries and put in the work to make their bodies back to what they once were to become great again, yet it goes unseen. All anyone sees is their injury and not their career. They fight to escape the spotlight focused on their injury, but it never goes away. The talk lasts longer than the injury.

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