In this week's Varsity Xtra cover story, Post-Gazette writer Mike White examines the emotional toll season-ending injuries have on high school athletes. Click here to read his story.
(Photo: Washington senior Shai McKenzie, who is sidelined with a season-ending injury, cheers his team on Sept. 26 against Jeannette. Bill Wade/Post-Gazette)
"Patrick DeMeo is the Pirates medical director, and has worked with other professional teams and college athletes for many years. Ask him who is the toughest patient to deal with and he doesn't hesitate to answer.
"The most difficult athlete to treat, including the pro and collegiate athlete, is a high school senior who has lost his or her senior year because of an injury," DeMeo said. "It's terrible. These are kids who have put a tremendous amount of effort into becoming a high school senior athlete. It's their turn and their year and when that suddenly gets ripped away from you, it can leave a tremendous emotional void."
Ever since the dawn of scholastic sports, injuries have taken away the seasons of high school seniors. But the injuries have hit notable WPIAL seniors particulary hard this school year, and not just in football. And everyone from DeMeo, to coaches and parents say what many people don't realize is the emotional toll a season-ending injury can take on a senior athlete -- and even their parents.
Some athletes even battle depression."