Why A Broken Bone Can Lead To A Broken Spirit — And How To Overcome It

Catherine Rile, Staff Writer

Sports are at the core of an athlete’s life. They spend time at practices, meets, games, and they spend time taking care of themselves by eating healthy. But what happens when all that is taken away? Injury causes stress for an athlete because they are losing a consistent component of their life they have always known. Joran Thomsen, ’24, and Kate Mindak, ‘22, both student athletes at Minnetonka, have been injured in the last year.

Mindak is a cross country athlete and track captain. She was injured during this past cross country season, breaking her fibula and obtaining a stress-fractured shin splint. 

“I think I was overwhelmed with everything going on in school, at home, not getting enough sleep, and not to mention that cross country takes a toll on your body,” said Mindak on the contributing factors of her injury. “I tried to think of my injury as a positive thing even though at times it was frustrating seeing the team’s improvements without me. I used my stress fracture as a sign to work on other aspects of my life than sports and focus on doing better in school, as I had been falling behind with my commitments. Mentally, I would say it was really hard watching everyone run without me, but it also did help me relieve stress in other aspects of my life…it wasn’t the end of the world for me.” 

Mindak was originally meant to be out for just two weeks, but then two weeks turned into six. 

“I really missed talking during runs,” she said. “I’m a huge people person and seeing all my friends go out on runs and have that time to talk and gossip made me sad I couldn’t be there.” 

Despite these negatives, Mindak shared how her perspective on her sport changed as a result of her injury and time off. 

“My perspective changed 100%. I didn’t really realize how much stress cross country had put on me until I took a step back. Also, I was able to help stay involved with the team with a lot of backstage items and I learned a lot from a coach’s perspective about how difficult it is to run a team of over sixty girls,” she said.

Thomsen is a Minnetonka football and track athlete and fractured his ankle this year. Minnetonka boys football had a successful season last year and track is just beginning now, but Thomsen was exempt from sports for three months due to his injury. 

“I lost motivation to get up and exercise since I couldn’t do much,” he said, speaking about how the injury affected him. 

Similar to Mindak, he recalled missing out on the social aspect that a sport provides. 

“What I missed most was practicing with my friends,” Thomsen said.

However, after sitting out for a while, Thomsen, too, was able to gain a new perspective on his sport. 

“I could see it from a coaches or fans perspective and saw what to improve” he said.

Although injuries are obviously not ideal for an athlete, and it is difficult to miss out on the season, taking a step back can provide a chance to gain a new perspective. A break can also bring with it the opportunity to rest and come back better and stronger than the prior season. Best of luck to both athletes, as well as any other athletes injured during practice or competition this year, on their upcoming seasons.