Archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Injury bug bites athletes during offseason play

August 13, 2003

Singers Eddie Cochran and later Alan Jackson weren't completely accurate.

Because actually, there ain't no cure for the summertime black and blues.

For a handful of local athletes, the summer hasn't been all fun and sun.

Tonganoxie juniors Jessica Bogard and Addie Heim and McLouth sophomores Catherine Gunther and Heaven Mills all have been bitten by the injury bug during the summer months.

Bogard and Heim, who play on summer league basketball teams, both sustained injuries on the hardwood.

Gunther and Mills, meanwhile, were injured playing softball.

I heard a pop

Bogard's injury will require the most recovery time. While playing in a Bonner Springs tournament, the incoming junior went up for a basket, but an opponent was called for an intentional foul. When Bogard returned to the floor, she came down awkwardly on her knee.

"The top part of my knee went one way and the bottom part went another way," Bogard said. "People around me said they heard a pop, and I felt it pop."

That sound signaled a torn ACL and meniscus damage.

Luckily, Bogard doesn't compete in any fall sports, and she is expected to return to full strength in December or January. That means she likely will miss some preseason practice and possibly a few games when the season tips off in December.

During surgery on July 22, doctors inserted two screws into her knee.

Since then, Bogard has been working through physical therapy. She now wears a brace, which she'll have until early September.

Slowly, she'll be back doing regular activity. In two to three months, Bogard can jog. She'll then be able to sprint in five months and should have the all clear in six months.

Bogard will have to be patient. Just in the last two years, she's played basketball in the winter, softball in the spring and now both during the summer. It's hard to keep her away from a basketball court or a softball diamond.

"It's pretty tough because I can't play for awhile," Bogard said. "To be at those games and just watch -- I will be there for support, but it will be hard because you want to be out there playing."

A top player on the Tonganoxie High softball team, Bogard also played on the Leavenworth Twisters 16-and-younger team this summer and missed out on nationals.

People staring

Although she didn't suffer ligament damage, Heim did sustain a broken bone, an injury that has become more embarrassing than anything else.

While playing in a Mid-America Youth Basketball game last month in Tonganoxie, Heim collided with an opponent. The incoming junior said as she faked on an inbounds play and her nose collided with a opponent's head.

The scene wasn't pretty -- Heim's nose bled profusely on the gymnasium floor. She later learned it was broken.

"It was just a big ordeal," Heim said. "I went on vacation and all these people were staring at me."

Then last week, while working with one of her steers, the large animal stepped on Heim's foot. After finally jerking her foot from under the animal's hoof, Heim discovered that the accident claimed one of her toe nails.

"It actually hurt more than my nose," Heim said. "That hurt really bad. All through the night it was aching."

The junior had closed nasal surgery, meaning the surgeon didn't have to cut open the skin as he positioned her nose back into place.

From nose to toe, Heim should be ready when volleyball practice begins Monday.

"I think it will be fine," Heim said. "It might be a pain in the neck, or a pain in the toe, but I don't think it's going to be that big of a deal."

Heim will play volleyball this fall. Her surgeon has urged her to wear a protective mask, but she's not hip to the idea.

"I don't want anyone to see it," Heim said. "I'm embarrassed. It's huge."

Diving can be dangerous

In McLouth, Gunther's protective covering is more difficult to conceal.

A member of the Kansas City Pride softball team, the 15-year-old sophomore-to-be broke a bone in her right hand and now wears a cast. The injury occurred while diving back toward a base.

Mark Gunther, Catherine's father, said she will wear a cast for another month. Gunther was a pitcher and first baseman for the Bulldogs during the spring campaign.

Mills, a fellow MHS softball player, also had an off-season injury, but hers luckily didn't include any broken bones.

The second baseman, playing in a McLouth recreational league, was hit in the elbow by a pitch, but the painful injury didn't result in a broken bone, MHS coach David Denham said.

Area coaches will hope injuries will stay at a minimum when practice begins for fall practice Monday.

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