Being injured and unable to participate in a sport greatly changes one’s perspective on that sport. Junior Mya Dietrich fractured her spine, which took her out of cheer for the summer before her sophomore year.
“I was doing a back tuck on a tumble track and instead of tucking, I stretched out my body and fell on my butt,” Dietrich said.
This put Dietrich out of cheer for over two months over the summer. While recovering, she also had to do physical therapy for a month and a half.
During this time that she was injured, the cheer team attended UCA cheer camp at the University of Akron. Being forced to sit out during those three days made Dietrich realize how much she loved being able to tumble and cheer.
“It made me realize how much I loved cheer and that I was taking advantage of being able to tumble and do things without any back pain or pain in general,” Dietrich said.
Her injury also made her realize how impatient she was. Because she was not allowed to do anything and had to sit out, she could not wait for classes at camp and practices to be over.
There were many bad things about fracturing her spine, including not being able to tumble, but one of the other worst things about it was everyone feeling sorry for her.
“The worst part was not being able to tumble because I hated doing nothing at practices. I also hated everyone being so worried about me because I felt like I was inconveniencing everyone. Lastly, there was no way to get rid of the pain except taking Advil. I was in pain when I was standing, sitting, or laying down. The only time it didn’t hurt was when I was walking,” Dietrich said.
Over a year later, Dietrich still has pain in her back that never goes away. This pain still affects her tumbling at practices and games.
When an athlete is forced to sit out of their sport, they realize a lot of things that they took for granted, which I know from experience. Like Dietrich, I have had back problems since freshman year and got a concussion last year during track season.
Freshman year after my back pain started I had an MRI done to rule out a stress fracture and spondylosis, which is a degenerative condition that affects the spinal disks. Once they results came back, they diagnosed my back pain as bad muscle strains.
I did physical therapy for about two months and was not allowed to tumble during this time. Like Dietrich, this made me realize that I was taking advantage of being able to tumble without pain and even in general since I could no longer do it.
This past football season my back pain got really bad again. I went back to the doctor, where they did an x-ray and were able to quickly realize what was causing my pain.
The x-ray showed that I had lost a normal lumbar curve in my spine, which cause my spine to appear flat from the side. Because I have to arch my back when I tumble, this cause a lot of pain for me because I was forcing my spine to move in a way that was no longer natural.
This also caused sacroiliac joint pain on either side of my spine. I had to go back to physical therapy for two more months. Although PT helped and I was discharged, I still struggle with this pain every single day.
I was not allowed to tumble when I was in PT. Once I was cleared to tumble and to this day, there are many things that I am not allowed to do, including simple skills like back and front walkovers and bridges.
Sophomore year I got a concussion that took me out of track for about a month. I had to do half days at school and I was not able to even go to practice and sit out because everything about it hurt my head.
My concussion changed my perspective on sports the most. With my back injuries during cheer, I was still allowed to go to practice and see what I was missing. This was not the case during track season.
I felt like I was missing out on so much during this time where I could not attend track practice. It also made me miss out on a lot training, which negatively impacted my season in the long run.
Although they hate being injured, many athletes, including myself, are thankful for their injuries in some weird way. They have made me realize how lucky I am to be able to do the things I enjoy and have taught me to not take advantage of them. These injuries have also made me enjoy my sports a lot more than I did before.
The girls lacrosse team has been working hard to get ready for regular season. With practices a few times a week, the team is growing stronger physically and mentally.
Mike Sheehan has been the girls lacrosse coach for five years. Sheehan aims to “provide the teaching and motivation to put the team in a position to win 16 plus games.” Preparing for the spring, Sheehan challenges the team to grow altogether, so that rivalries can be beaten.
“The team has been meeting 3 times per week splitting time between the weight room and conditioning. Many of the girls have been attending clinics to improve their Lax IQ.” Sheehan says. Sheehan and the girls hope to beat challenging teams like Green, Hoover, St Joseph, Brecksville and Brunswick.
Sheehan’s goals for the rest of the year include winning 16+ games, playing into the third round of state playoffs, scoring 144 goals as a team, and having less than 90 goals scored against Stow.
Senior Lexi Armstrong hopes to win more games than lose games and to keep improving as a team. Armstrong works on encouraging teammates as well. “I encourage teammates by helping them fix their mistakes or improve their skills rather than getting upset at them and making them feel bad” Armstrong says, “Sheehan always says a team is only as strong as the weakest player.”
Junior and goalie Audrey Stone’s season objective is to make an interception and clear an opponent’s score over the 75 yard line. Stone encourages herself by working hard every practice. “I have been focusing on improving my reaction time so I can be a better player.” Stone says.
Lacrosse has been an immensely growing sport in the US this decade. With the growing popularity and mass of new players, the girls must keep up their pace to beat oncoming teams. During the 2017-2018 year, girls lacrosse held a dominating record of 17 wins and 4 losses.
“The game brings me back every year” Senior Madie Gash says, “I love the person I become when I’m out on the field, it transforms me and makes me lose track of all time and I love it.”
Gash strives to constantly push herself; at the same time, reminds herself why she comes back each year –to endure her deep passion and talent for the game. Gash wishes for the team to be “the most positive, most hardworking and most skilled” in the league this year.
Gash is committed to play lacrosse in college for Ashland University, a private division II school in Ashland, Ohio ranked as a “Best College” in National Universities Tier 2.
“My goal is to continue to encourage my teammates and myself to be the best players we can be.” Gash says.
Main goals for the girls are to continue working hard and make it past the first round of playoffs. Stow lacrosse looks to keep getting better and end the season on a strong note.
After a rough start to the season, the boys basketball team has made a tremendous effort to end the season with a winning record.
With a record of 9-9, the team has practiced hard after school and on weekends to improve their skills in hopes of winning more games. Senior and captain, Evan Bainbridge, believes they are motivated them to be better.
“The season is going alright, but I know it can be better. We had a rough start to the season, but I think we finally have the momentum we need to do go in playoffs,” Bainbridge said.
From beginning to now, the team has changed drastically with new additions and skills, but the team is still hoping to grow.
“[Senior] Jack Wilson, who is one of our main guys, was out for six games at the beginning of the season. Since he has returned, he has brought a different energy which has helped us win more games,” Bainbridge said.
Making improvements for the rest of the season starts with practice. The team has been putting in the work during all of their practices, so they can improve in time for playoffs.
“Practices have been going well. We hope to start playing more as a team, so we can end our season strong, and hopefully, we can make a big run in the playoffs as the underdogs,” Bainbridge said.
As the team itself works to improve their dynamic, Bainbridge has been focusing on himself. He hopes to help the team by improving how he plays against other opponents.
“A lot of teams look to face guard me and take me out of games, so I have been trying to improve my game to be able to impact the game in different ways to help us win,” Bainbridge said.
Throughout the season some players have experienced minor setbacks. For junior, Christopher Miller, he is sadly out for the rest of the season because of issues with his hands
“Being injured this season has really helped me put things into perspective. I have never really known what it’s like to be out and how much it would affect me. I’ve had to view everything like practices and games in a different way,” Miller said.
Since Miller has been out, he has learned different skills that he would not have had he still been playing. Being injured has given him the chance to improve skills that are not physical but mental.
“I have really learned how to be a positive influence. I have also learned how to listen better and give more advice in time of need,” Miller said.
Although he will not be able to contribute anything to the team on the court for the rest of the season, Miller hopes to start improving for his senior season as soon as possible.
“I am going to participate in AAU this season and get a private trainer. I want to continue to improve and build chemistry with the rest of the team after the season to prepare for next year,” Miller said.
Miller hopes to see the team improve for the rest of this season, and he hopes the team next year starts working towards their goals for next year.
“I have very high expectations for next year. I want to lead the team in a positive way. I hope that we play together well, and I want us to always be on the same page. Hopefully the team sticks together, and we can be brothers on and off the court,” Miller said.
Come out and see the boys on senior night as they take on Saint Ignatius at home Saturday, Feb. 23.