The student news site of Troy High School

The Chariot

The student news site of Troy High School

The Chariot

The student news site of Troy High School

The Chariot

Season in Pause

The perspective of student-athletes at Troy High School who suffered injuries during their senior year.
Senior+Parker+Brandenberg+poses+for+the+camera.
Aanya Shah
Senior Parker Brandenberg poses for the camera.

Senior year is a year full of choices and decisions; many students attend college or trade school, join the military or enter the workforce. A few students, however, commit to college for sports through an extensive recruiting process that requires an immense amount of time, dedication and passion for their sport. Troy High School boasts a number of student-athletes who have committed to colleges to continue excelling at athletics.

While some student-athletes commit to college for a sport, others continue to play recreationally in college through joining school intramural teams, community leagues and sports clubs. Sports are a major part of life for many students, and for some, a possible career. So what happens when a student-athlete suffers a sports injury? 

According to The Chariot’s annual senior survey, at least 12 seniors have suffered season-altering sports injuries, a few of whom committed to play a sport in college. Parker Brandenburg, senior and the quarterback of Troy High School’s Varsity Football team, is committed to play football at Elmhurst University and was one of the 12 students who suffered an injury senior year. Brandenburg sustained a fracture to his collarbone and was out from mid-September to December. When asked about his football career in college in regards to his injury, Brandenburg says, “It definitely made me want to play that sport even more in college.” He reasons, “I want to give it another shot because I felt like I didn’t leave on my own terms. That’s part of the reason I’m playing at the next level is because if I want to give up football, I want to be able to give it up on my own, instead of being forced to.” 

His injury flipped his perspective and motivated him to move through the season with a sense of gratitude. “I always knew not to take [the ability to play] for granted, but the injury cemented not taking every season or any moment I have with my team for granted.” 

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Brandenburg finds this applicable to his life outside of sports as well. “You can’t just wake up every day thinking tomorrow’s guaranteed because, even though it’s just a sport, in real life, you don’t know if tomorrow’s gonna happen.” 

During the time period where Brandenburg could not play due to his injury, he notes that he took on other leadership roles to help the team: “For every game I’d be there and also be there as much as I could during practice. I would be in more of a leadership role and try to be a coach to guys who needed it.” 

Fortunately, Brandenburg was able to play at the last Athens game. “My doctor let me put pads on and go in for the last play, so I was still pretty active.” Brandenburg looks forward to playing football at Elmhurst University after graduating Troy High School and is excited to take the next step into his career.

Justine Perakis, senior and Captain of the Varsity Girls Basketball Team, shares her perspective of a student-athlete who, while not committed to a college for a sport, was injured throughout her final basketball season. Perakis suffered a knee dislocation before the start of the season and worked hard to recover from her injury throughout. While in college, Perakis “was planning on joining a club team in college” but notes that she’s “worried about it now because I don’t want to get an injury when I’m in college that could affect my walking to classes.” 

Senior Justine Perakis (Aanya Shah)

On the positive side however, Perakis says that her injury helped teach her life skills and “how to be independent.” Although she was injured, Perakis learned the importance of finding ways to support the rest of her teammates. She expresses, “Once I hurt my knee and I was on the bench myself, I really realized how I can be part of the team, cheering them on, even though I’m not physically playing. It just really gave me a whole other perspective, and I could see how things were working and weren’t working from on the bench.” 

Team morale is important to Justine, so she was more than happy to “cheer them on, give them ideas, help run plays and explain drills to people that missed practice.” 

While Perakis was frustrated by her injury at first, she gained much more: a new perspective on basketball, the importance of supporting her teammates and a determination to contribute to her team in whichever way she could.

Similarly, senior Ben Sumnar says that having an injury while playing sports has “made practices and games a little bit more challenging.” Sumnar is a triple sport athlete, and participates in Track and Field, Lacrosse and Soccer. While also not committed to a college for a sport, Sumnar notes that it was difficult for him to “push through” his “constant injury,” especially since his events in Track and Field are long-jump and high-jump, both intense events that require an extensive range of motion and physical fitness. 

Sumnar adds that the demands of his Track and Field events contribute to him getting “re-injured over and over again in Lacrosse.” Although his injury has added a significant challenge to senior year, he maintains a positive attitude, and says that he “supports [his team] whenever I can.” He admires how “everyone on the team is supportive” of his recovery. Sumnar attends all the games to support his team both on and off the field.

While the injuries of these athletes are different and all pose different challenges in many ways, the athletes themselves have one thing in common: they emerge as leaders through supporting their team off the field while still maintaining a steadfast passion for their respective sports.



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About the Contributor
Aanya Shah
Aanya Shah, Staff Reporter
Aanya Shah is a senior and a first year reporter for The Chariot. She joined newspaper because she has a passion for covering stories that go overlooked and misunderstood, writing Op-eds on social issues, and enjoys reporting about community happenings. In her free time, Aanya loves playing volleyball, exploring local cafes, and is a Word Hunt enthusiast.
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