Raider injuries brought to light

Morgan Garrett, Staff Reporter

Being told they can not play anymore because of an injury will make athletes’ hearts drop in an instant. Thousands of high school athletes suffer from career-jeopardizing injuries every year. How many of those injuries cause those players never to step on that field or court again? Some student athletes at LDHS have experienced these career-changing injuries that have left them out of their sports seasons. 

Sophomore Varsity volleyball player Morgan Harshaw was taken out of her whole freshman volleyball season and took six months to recover fully from a concussion. 

“I was at the last practice before our first game, and I was playing back row and dove to get the hit from the other side. When I dove, I hit the right side of my head on the ground,” Harshaw said.

Sophomore JV football player Brandon Crisp tore his ACL twice and has sat out of Raider football for three years.  

 “I tore my ACL the first time in eighth grade and a second time in 10th. I tore them both by planting my foot and turning, but my knee just collapsed with all the pressure and weight,” Crisp said. 

Many athletes do not talk about the emotional challenges that often accompany their injuries. Others can only see the physical pain on the outside, but that does not mean that the emotional challenges do not also exist. 

“I tried to go to as many games as I could to support my teammates, but it was hard with all my symptoms. I felt a huge disconnection from my team and felt like I wouldn’t be welcomed back,” Harshaw described. 

“The thing that kept me going was knowing I was going to get better at some point, but I did feel disconnected from my teammates because I wasn’t able to put the same amount of work in as everyone else,” Crisp said. 

Senior Varsity soccer player Hatchell Hardy tore her ACL in the middle of the soccer season this year.

 “I don’t really remember exactly what happened. One moment I remember running to the ball to defend the goal, and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground,” Hardy said. “The only emotion I felt was anger. I knew instantly there was no more playing for me. Just like that, I was done with my senior season,” Hardy continued. 

Mother, teacher and RN Michelle Gibbs had two children experience serious injuries in their high school sports careers. 

Her daughter, Bailey Gibbs,’17, was a Varsity softball player, golfer and cross country runner at LDHS. In her high school career Bailey broke her wrist, got a concussion and suffered paralysis on her left side. Later on Bailey was on the D1 rowing and softball teams at Clemson University. In college she suffered from fractured ribs, a collapsed left foot arch and a broken humerus. 

Gibbs’ son, sophomore Mason Gibbs, plays Varsity golf and wrestles at LDHS. Mason suffered from several dislocations in his left shoulder that resulted in torn cartilage. He had to undergo surgery to repair the cartilage, and it took almost a year for him to recover fully.  

“It was difficult to watch the mental, emotional and physical pain my children were experiencing with their injuries. There was only so much I could do as a parent in their recovery processes. As being an RN I was able to do the therapy, treatment and remove bandages.” Gibbs said. 

We watch inspirational movies of famous athletes bouncing back from their injuries. We hear about crazy sports accidents on the daily morning news that airs around the country. Often we think of those injuries as struggles that strangers are suffering through. However,  athletes in the small town of Laurens go through the same injuries as those on the big TV. These injuries are not just legends; they can happen to anyone anywhere.