I have never been an athlete and because I am now a sophomore in college and have very little athletic ability, I probably never will be. I love sports. I like playing them occasionally with friends. I enjoy watching those who work harder than I do at being physically skilled put their hard work and training to the test.

Lately I have been struck with a major issue with those who partake in sports.

Playing hard and playing to win is something that you have to do if you are going to be successful in any sport. When you do this, you take a major risk of being injured.

Most athletes work on a daily basis to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You would think that working so hard to maximize your performance level would mark out any chances of getting hurt, but no one can predict the unpredictable.

On every level of athletics there are those horrible moments when someone takes a hit, steps wrong or falls awkwardly and you see them on the ground, unable to get up. The worst part is, when you are just a spectator, there is very little you can do to help at that moment.

Just the other week, Jordan Barrett, sophomore quarterback for the football team at Southwestern, was tackled while running downfield with the ball agianst Bethany College. While Barrett has taken a number of hits throughout his career, the effect of this hit was astronomical. Barrett severely broke his leg and is now sidelined for the rest of the season.

During the Builder’s last football game, a player from McPherson suffered a similar fate and had to be carted off the field on a stretcher.

I’ve seen soccer players get banged up to where they can barely move, basketball players hit the gym floor with ridiculous amounts of force and videos of cross country runners who have stress fractures. When you think about how much physical and emotional pain these people go through, it’s just depressing.

When you’re an athlete, you are taught by coaches to give 110 percent, but there are a few instances where that doesn’t lead to the land of milk and cookies.

Athletics will always be a battle of body and mind, pitting those who put in the effort to be the best against each other. This is something that will never change. I do hope in the future that everyone remembers there is a life outside of athletics and a life after sports. What we do to our bodies now will affect the health and well being of them down the road. I want to see athletes play to the best of their ability, but I also want people to still be able to follow their future dreams.

Clinton Dick is a sophomore majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at clinton.dick@sckans.edu.