By Delainey Kein, Staff Writer

UMF Women's Field Hockey Player Lindsey Whitney (photo courtesy of UMF Athletics)

UMF Women’s Field Hockey Player Lindsey Whitney (photo courtesy of UMF Athletics)

The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) athletic training room may seem like a place

no athlete ever wants to go. However, the warm glow of the lights coupled with the constant

sounds of the hot tub bubbling, athletes chattering, and tape ripping, creates an atmosphere that is

both welcoming and safe.

Injuries are unavoidable for college level athletes. Karin Krzal, 7 year UMF athletic trainer

said, “No one can prevent all injuries.” This, however, does not mean there aren’t steps and

actions to take to reduce the risk. “being a well conditioned athlete certainly helps,” said Krzal.

“The athlete needs to recognize the demands of their specific sport, and address these demands in

their conditioning program.”

Krzal has seen a huge varieties of injuries. She sees certain common injuries frequently. “We

see a high number of lower extremity injuries, such as ankle sprains, leg strains and spasm, and

lower extremity contusions,” she said. Krzal also mentioned some extremely serious injuries,

“the most serious injuries I have seen at UMF are concussions, heat stroke, infections, and

fractures.”

With such a huge risk factor of getting injured, why then, do athletes continue to play sports?

Lindsey Whitney, a junior psychology major and field hockey athlete, put her two cents in on

the topic. “I had a pulled hamstring,” said Whitney. “My injury made it harder for me to run

without being in pain.”

Whitney missed two practice because of her injury, even though it was considered a minor

one. “I love playing sports,” she said. “I have never been injured before in my life which is why I

was so concerned when this happened now. There are risks in everything in life.”

Krzal has had the unfortunate experience of letting athletes know their injury is season

ending. “The most difficult aspect of athletic training is limiting or removing athletes from

participation,” she said. “We do often see a ‘grieving period.’ Emotions often include sadness,

disappointment, frustration and sometimes even anger.”

Although risk of injury is fairly high, there are plenty of precautions that can be taken to lower

the risk. “To prevent injuries I make sure to stretch more and I continue to heat my hamstring

before practices still so that my injury does not return,” said Whitney. “The best thing to do is to

seek help when needed and not ignore an injury, even minor ones.”

Krzal has a front row seat of watching athletes risk injury to play a sport. “Students continue

participation in athletics for love of the game, the friendships, and the enjoyment many

experience while participating,” said Krzal.