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The Lancer Link

News for the Carlsbad High School Community

The Lancer Link

News for the Carlsbad High School Community

The Lancer Link

Sam Mao overcomes sports injury

Courtesy of Sam Mao
Girls JV soccer team celebrates their win on their home field.

There’s one aspect of sports that all athletes can relate to: injuries. They affect athletes from all sports, but there are ways to prevent them. Sports-related injuries can range from muscle strains and sprains to breaks, but regardless, they take a toll on athletes mentally and physically.

For most athletes, their sports are their lives. For soccer player freshman Sam Mao, it’s the same as she pours hours of her time into honing her skills.

“My favorite thing about playing soccer is always being fit and making some of the best friendships I have ever had,” Mao said.

However, on the last day of her soccer tryouts, she strained her quad muscle while doing sprints. And as many athletes do, she kept pushing despite it. No matter what, she wasn’t going to be kept from her sport.

“I still played while injured but only because I can’t stand not playing,” Mao said.

Additionally, Mao exercising the same way repetitively day after day at tryouts contributed to her injury. Injuries often occur when an athlete exercises one part of the body too much. It’s possible to avoid this by alternating exercises with different muscle groups day by day.

“[It had] a lot to do with overworking,” Mao said. “[I just wanted to get back because] soccer is the way I release all my feelings and just have fun.”

Over time and with the addition of physical therapy, it got better. Even with her leg in a brace, she still went to practice. As a player of any sport, sitting on the sidelines and being able to do nothing but watch is a painstaking experience, but rest is necessary for injuries to heal.

“When I was healing, I just tried to attend every practice and cheer my teammates on,” Mao said. “It kept my spirits up seeing my team playing, and I just really wanted to get back out there.”

In the U.S., there are more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries for children and teens per year. Many of these take time away from their sports, as Mao’s injury took a little time from her.

“It has affected the strength of my leg, but I’m slowly rebuilding my leg back to what it was,” Mao said.

Injuries are an incredibly common issue for athletes, but there are plenty of ways to decrease the likelihood of injury. Some helpful measures include taking breaks between reps in strength training, staying hydrated and setting aside time to warm up and cool down.

“One tip I have for other players to avoid injury is to stretch all of the time,” Mao said. “Stretch before bed, after dinner, in the morning. You have to be insane about it, but it helps in the long run.”

Mao has been playing for eight years now, and her passion for the sport never ceased. She has big dreams and supportive friends to help her there.

“My goal is to play soccer in college and see where it takes me,” Mao said.

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About the Contributor
Anna Zaloom
Anna Zaloom, Reporter
Anna Zaloom is a freshman at Carlsbad High School, and it's her first year on Lancer Link staff. Outside of school hours, she hops from volleyball practice to volleyball practice, working hard with an upbeat spirit. When not in practice, she makes music with her band, writes creative stories, makes art and reads.

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