By Sydney Sears
Cross country member junior Haley Meyer watches her team sprint off in the distance wishing that she too could be a part of this experience, but for now it will have to wait.
Eight months ago Meyer noticed a discomfort in her leg and discovered that she had a stress fracture. Meyer was told by her doctor that she could not run for two months to allow time for her fracture to heal. As a passionate and disciplined runner, this pessimistic news was devastating.
“I am not able to run in practice or at meets, which sucks because I don’t get to be with my team,” said Meyer.
Teammate Junior Reagan Kurk sympathizes with Meyer.
“Injuries affect you in seemingly every way possible. The constant pain drains you and is tiring. Not being able to do what you love is one of the worst things in the world, especially when it seems like there’s nothing you can do to help it,” said Kurk.
Kurk raves that Meyer still puts in as much effort now as she did before her injury. She explains that Meyer shows up to every practice and cheers them, encouraging her team despite her injury.
Meyer’s cross country coach, Carl Hook, has supported her throughout this entire experience.
“I’ve just tried to encourage her to stay strong and make sure she understands that if you fight through a tough situation you emerge mentally tougher,” said Hook.
In the last eight months Meyer has not had one, but three stress fractures. This has caused more time away from running to heal.
“I know her stress fracture is hugely upsetting her, especially when she is one of the most active people I know,” said Kurk.
For this last fracture, which is located in her upper tibia, the recovery time is three weeks minimum. According to Meyer the recovery time depends on where the fracture is and how well it is taken care of.
Meyer has recently taken up alternatives to running such as running in the water, swimming, biking, and the elliptical.
“I also am trying to eat better to make myself more healthy and try to prevent this from happening again,” she said.
Kurk believes that Meyer is taking every precaution she can to get better and to prevent another fracture from occurring.
Not being able to run for months at a time is bound to stunt someone’s progress. Even with alternatives like swimming, the performance level will not be the same. Cross country runs six to seven days a week, so they are constantly working to get better. This has caused Meyer to suffer from her time off for healing.
“It has made me lose some of my endurance and strength in my legs,” said Meyer.
Hook explained that Meyer knows as a varsity runner that it will be tough to get her spot back after so much time off, but believes that she will snatch the spot right back up when she has the chance.
“An injury like any tough situation can either break you or make you. You either decide to give up or get stronger and as a runner that means swimming and cycling. Haley has worked hard at both of those to stay in shape and hasn’t given up,” said Hook.