By: Brian Burkhart Prep Reporter Twitter: @BrianESPN
Talented players are everywhere in our sporting world today, from the high school ranks to the professionals, its not hard to find a superstar talent. The question that I want you to think about, when is a star athletes talent being used too much? It happens in sports all the time, but goes unnoticed more than less. A coach may put winning in front of his players, caring more about winning the championship then evaluating his players mental and physical health. A prime example that happened even last night is Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant went down with a season ending injury late in the fourth quarter of last nights game, it was diagnosed that he suffered a torn Achilles. He will be out for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. The reason I bring this up is because his injury can be directly related to how many minutes he has had to play down the stretch this year of the regular season. In the last 3 games Bryant has played all 48 minutes of the game, and at age 34 this has taken a ware on his body tremendously.
This topic of course varies though from grade level in the athletes respected sport. At the youth level it is a general un-written rule that all players get to play the same amount and they are out to just have fun. When you get to the high school level though, everything changes and winning takes priority over everything else. I remember distinctly back in my high school days, during my junior year we had a star player on our basketball team, Marcus Lewis. Lewis was the do it all player on our team, and we were trying repeat as conference champions. The rest of the team was not as talented and much of the pressure to win was put onto Lewis’s shoulders. Our coach was a legend in the area, and his mentality was win first, ask questions later. This ended up hurting our team in the long run, as Lewis went down with an ACL injury in the second to last game before the post-season started. Our coach had played Lewis every game, all game. I would always think to myself in the stands, how could his body keep up throughout the season logging these kinds of minutes. Our head coach took a little bit of heat for the incident but it was brushed off after a week or so because he has been with our program for so long, producing state champions in the past. I have a different thought though, and that is not brushing off the topic as if it’s not a big deal to student athletes. I feel that some coaches having the wrong priorities in mind and it is jeopardizing some of their athlete’s college playing careers. A student athlete is just that, it is not a machine or a person who can play 48 minutes a night, every single night. I am not saying a lot of coaches are like this, because they are not but I would like to see fewer injuries to players because of over playing them. This is only my opinion and you the reader are welcome to your own thoughts on this topic.
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