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Written by Kaelyn Spickler

Collegiate athletes are used to being the “big dogs.” On game days, they are greeted with smiles and well wishes from their professors, friends and even strangers. When the whistle blows and game time begins, they are in their element, shining. But suddenly, an athlete is on the ground crouching in pain. The whistle blows in signal to stop: the players kneel, the trainers run out to the scene and the fans go quiet. This moment is every athlete’s worst nightmare as it could set back their career, or even end it. These RC athletes recall their scariest injuries.

Junior Caleb Jordan quieted the gym last season when he went in for a dunk.”I went up for a dunk last season, and I was going too fast. My hands were really sweaty, so I slipped off of the rim, and that is all I remember,” Jordan said. Jordan had to follow the concussion protocol in order to get back to doing what he loves, but this injury is still something that’s not far from his mind. “It was kind of hard getting back after having a concussion and being out. It happened in the beginning of last season, so it didn’t impact the season too much, but it’s still something I think about daily.”

Sophomore Josh Dawson heard a little pop while he was lifting, but that little pop in his back caused the baseball player to be out of performance for five months. “I was in the gym deadlifting and tried to do too much. I was doing three sets of 10. I got to the ninth rep on the third set, and ‘pop,’ and there went my back, but I didn’t think much of it and figured I’d sleep on it, and it would get better,” Dawson said. It took more than sleeping on it for Dawson to be fully recovered, as that little pop was his 11th and 12th ribs moving out of place. “It was awful to be out for five months. When I finally got cleared, I was so surprised that I didn’t believe him.”

Junior pole vaulter Lindsey Baxter had a once and a lifetime accident during the national qualifier meet. “On my first jump, my pole snapped in half while I was upside down in the air, so the momentum flipped me over in the air. I put my hands down to catch myself, luckily, but the pole sliced one of my hands, and I broke the other hand.” It took a lot of mental adjustments for Baxter to her confidence back up as the flashbacks from the accident haunted her. “I ended up seeing a sport psychologist and did a lot of reading on the injury. The first practice I was paranoid and kind of jumpy, but I started off small and slowly eased back into it.”

Sophomore Corinne McPadden has been off the basketball court since February of this year when she sprained her ankle that lead to a stress fracture until she ultimately had surgery. For McPadden the goal is to start playing again. “I’ve been out since February, so it’s been awhile. It’s never fun being injured, but it makes you work harder because you want to get back to playing. I have learned a lot watching, but it has definitely made me hungry and ready to come back,” McPadden said. She hopes to be fully recovered and back to doing her thing on the basketball court by December.