High school athletes crumble under pressure

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High school athletes crumble under pressure

Seniors Erin Alonso and Elena Mateus go in for a painful dive during a Carlmont volleyball game.

Seniors Erin Alonso and Elena Mateus go in for a painful dive during a Carlmont volleyball game.

Izzy Mitchell

Seniors Erin Alonso and Elena Mateus go in for a painful dive during a Carlmont volleyball game.

Izzy Mitchell

Izzy Mitchell

Seniors Erin Alonso and Elena Mateus go in for a painful dive during a Carlmont volleyball game.

Rachel Borshchenko, Staff Writer

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According to the National Alliance for Sports, 70 percent of student athletes quit sports by the time they enter high school.

With their rigorous high school schedules, many students quit the sports they used to love because of the changes they face in high school.

There are many reasons why high school students would quit sports they’ve been participating in since childhood.

Sophomore and former gymnast Michelle Tenin quit because of the pressure that she feared high school would put on her.

“I wasn’t ready for next season, and I knew it would be stressful balancing homework and practice. The time commitment was huge, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it,” said Tenin.

Sophomore Katie Fetterman, who quit basketball as a freshman, was also stressed because of sports.

Fetterman said, “Basketball became really stressful for me with all the classes I was taking. It wasn’t something I was 100 percent passionate about and I didn’t want to hold back my team like that.”

The social aspect of teams plays a big part in why people choose to play or quit a sport because of the bond that is created within the team.

Tenin said, “I also quit partially because my entire team quit too. Everyone else kind of just followed each other’s lead because nobody really liked it that much anymore, so once one girl quit, another quit, and another.”

Soccer coach John Wilkinson currently coaches three competitive girls soccer teams. He said that the reason behind girls and boys choosing to play a sport is different, and therefore can lead to different reasons for them quitting.

“Girls are different than boys, because many [girls] play for the socialization. Girls will quit mainly around a high school age once they gain independence like being able to drive, and have other options,” said Wilkinson.

Injuries are common in high-level sports, and are one of the reasons parents are reluctant for kids to play sports.

Sophomore Elise Haugerud, a former gymnast, said, “I quit gymnastics because I had two stress fractures in my elbow and I had to have surgery. With three and a half hours of practice everyday, it was too much for my body to handle.”

According to a study done by Kim D. Barber Foss, high school sports cause 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations yearly. Additionally, 21 percent of traumatic brain injuries are sustained by youth sports players, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting Pre-Conference Program.

Although injuries can be a big issue, Wilkinson said he has never seen someone quit just because of an injury.

“I have seen a lot of ACL tears in soccer. [That] can take someone out for a season, but I’ve never seen someone drop out permanently because of these injuries,” he said.

Getting injured can be detrimental to high school athletes, whether or not they quit because of that injury. Twenty seven percent of boys and 29 percent of girls reportedly quit a sport because they were injured.

Some feel that teenagers are pushed too hard when playing sports, and that changes should be made.

“It really depends on the person, but I think it’s stressful for high school students because it’s hard to balance sports get good grades at the same time. It’s also a huge time commitment as well,” said Fetterman.

Jillian Osheroff, a senior at San Mateo High School, felt that there was not a place for both sports and academics in her life. Osheroff quit volleyball, basketball, and soccer upon entering high school in order to better balance her time.

Both academics and sports take up so much time. It’s tough to succeed in school and fully enjoy playing on a sports team if you’re stressed about both,” Osheroff said.

According to a study done for the United States Tennis Association, the number one reason that students provide for quitting sports is a lack of fun. Tenin saw this firsthand as she continued to advance in gymnastics.

“When you first start it’s fun, but it gets more intense. The higher you go up, the more they expect of you, and some people just can’t handle that pressure,” she said.
Whatever the reason may be, high school students have a tough decision on whether or not to continue with sports.

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