(WDVM) — Thousands of high school athletes dream of competing under the bright lights, but for some, those dreams can change in an instant.
“They have put a strain on the growth plate of those joints in those areas that can be incredibly debilitating and prevent them from participating life-long in the sport they want to be in,” said WVU Chief of Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Dr. Brad Wright.
Dr. Wright has trained many athletes in the tri-state area. Wright said younger athletes are getting “burned out” due to the physical demand of playing.
“Prevent injury to the point that they can perform at the highest level of the sport without having previously burned themselves out to the point of not being able to play,” said Dr. Wright.
Being an athlete has evolved over the years turning the game into a year-round job. Dr. Wright says not training properly can be detrimental to the body.
“All travel sports have come under the microscope,” said Dr. Wright. “It’s not helpful in the long term for these kids, they need to take a break and do something else.”
For one athlete, Hagerstown Community College softball player Ashley Bachtell, she could barely lace her cleats freshman year. Bachtell tore her right rotator cuff right as the season started and she watched her team compete from the bench.
“I just started noticing every time I threw, it just started to hurt very badly every throw,” said Bachtell. “I was doing heat, all that stuff and it didn’t get better and got to the point I just couldn’t throw anymore.”
Over time, Bachtell caused serious injury to her shoulder. She thought any hope of collegiate dreams would disappear.
“So it’s just been constant my whole life, especially when travel ball starts it’s just been 12 months I’m playing softball and on top of that, other sports so it is a lot of strain on the body.”
Ashley listened to her body’s needs and with time and patience, she worked through her injury. She is now ready to compete in HCC’s 2020 season with hopes of returning to nationals.
“I think just listen to your body when people are hurt,” said Bachtell. “They want to get out in the field but it’s important to listen and take the time off if you need the time off.”