The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 8, 2012

Pain isn't gain


Daily Item

---- — Hanging in my piano studio is a wire story entitled "Teen athletes often train in overdrive". I clipped it from the Aug. 7, issue of The Daily Item. The article citing the injuries suffered by teens whose bodies are taxed from sports practices and games is accompanied by a picture of Morgan Stippel, 19, who has had five knee surgeries over the past five years, and the scars from these surgeries are evident. The Oct.18, issue of The Daily Item featured Alexis Reid's decision to play through pain to complete her senior year on the Shikellamy field hockey team. She is considered an inspiration to her team, even though her doctor warned that she would be at greater risk for successive injuries if she played before she was healed. These two articles deal with the same topic but with different viewpoints; one as a warning, one as a heroic story.

My credentials are those of a pianist who suffered from chronic repetitive stress injuries over a period of 10 years. Music was the center of my life and my means of livelihood. Despite that, I was required to take time off to heal. I completely understand how difficult it is to walk away from something that means so much. I was fortunate to find relief through two processes that helped me understand how my body moves when playing: Alexander Technique and Body Mapping. I am now certified and licensed in both areas.

Unlike professional athletes, we are not compensated in the millions for the likelihood of life-long debilitation.

Over my decades of teaching, I have seen teenagers face surgeries usually reserved for much older patients. One intelligent, vivacious young woman had four ACL surgeries, including cadaver ACL replacements, by the time she was 21. I encourage teen athletes to be as inquisitive as possible about the nature of their growing bodies when deciding whether or not to play with a serious injury. One excellent resource for female athletes is "Warrior Girls", by Michael Sokolove, published by Simon and Schuster.

No pain is gain. Pain is a signal that your body gives you to tell you something is amiss. Learn the difference between soreness from conditioning and pain from injury. Make informed decisions that take the long view.

Kay Hooper,

Selinsgrove