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Athletes deal with injury, play through pain
Ashley Clatterbuck
Antelope Staff
Riley Newcomer
Photo from Lopers.com
Patrick Kremer
Photo from Lopers.com

Torn ACLs, sprained ankles, broken bones? These are not uncommon terms anymore when talking about sports. Sports related injuries are a common occurrence when playing at the college level. Currently, the UNK football team is dealing with and adjusting approximately 12 injured players, some of which are starters.

Bob Crocker, UNK’s defensive coordinator/secondary coach is prepared when it comes to injuries on the Loper football team.

“I would guess that five or six of our starters are injured,” Crocker said. “In order to compensate for players unable to play, we use a depth chart for each position so that players are moved up in order to replace the injured player.”

Riley Newcomer, a senior business education major from Morrison, Colo., is just one of the players unfortunate enough to be struggling with an injury. As of now, Newcomer is battling two knee injuries.

“I am 10 months out of reconstructive ACL surgery on my right knee and strained some ligaments in my left knee a couple of weeks ago,” Newcomer said. “I am dealing with those injuries along with tendonitis in both knees, which makes it a challenge to even lift myself out of bed in the mornings.”

Football injuries are not a new thing for Newcomer.

“My worst injury was probably when I was up at the University of Wyoming and I tore both of my groin muscles off the bone,” Newcomer said. “The only way I can explain the feeling is that it’s like walking around with a knife stuck in your lower abdominal region, making it impossible to do anything.”

Luckily, with help from the UNK Athletic Training Department, injured players are able to get daily treatment in order to recover and return to the game as soon as possible.  
“I call the training room my second home,” Newcomer said. “It seems like I have been living there for a couple of years now, but if you are injured there is no better place to be.”

Newcomer has been very pleased with the help and treatment he has received over the past few years. “We have an amazing training staff working in there with Bill Murphy and Roy Stutz,” Newcomer said. “They do a great job by working with the athletes and getting them healthy to return to the field as quickly as possible.”  

Some players that are continually hurting themselves are in a battle between the sport and their physical wellness.

Patrick Kremer, a junior computer science major from Westminster, Colo., is taking the fall season off in order to make sure his body is fully prepared for the 2011 fall season.

“I injured myself last year during practice,” Kremer said. “We were working on special teams kickoff coverage, and I was running down the field and cut, which made my knee go out.”
Despite this, Kremer kept practicing.

“I kept practicing on it, because at the time I had just come back from an injury and did not want to believe that I could be hurt again,” Kremer said. “But, later on that practice, my knee gave out again, prompting the trainers to send me to get an MRI, which told me that I had torn my ACL.”  

After a year of recovering and building back muscle, Kremer returned to summer camp only to hurt his knee again. “Five days into camp I moved from safety to receiver and hurt my knee again, so I am taking this year off of football to have a full recovery for next season.”

Kremer finds it bittersweet taking this year off to recover.

“I miss being around the guys all the time and being a part of a team,” Kremer said. After many months of physical therapy, Kremer will return to the football team in the spring and begin conditioning again after his long road to recovery.

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