CABOT, Ark. — Injuries are part of the game. Maggie Cyr knows this by heart. Her senior year she tore her ACL, MCL, and meniscus. However, it wasn’t the physical pain that hurt Maggie the most.
"I’ve played with some of my teammates since we were in the 6th or 7th grade so it’s really hard especially being my senior year and not being able to be with them you know."
Maggie is far from alone; due to the pandemic and injuries numerous high school athletes we’re dealt the harsh reality their playing days were over.
"You have a young athlete that eats, sleeps, and breathes sports. That’s part of their identity and now suddenly medically they can’t do it."
Cabot’s Director of Athletic Training Jason Cates began to see firsthand the mental effect this had on kids, so he decided to do something about it. Cabot partnered with Sidelined USA. A non-profit organization that provides resources to kids whose careers have been disrupted.
"We’re here before school, during school, and after school. We travel with them. Most often we spend more time with them even then their parents do."
Whether it’s a podcast or just someone to talk to, the program is designed to make the ones who can’t be on the field, feel like they’re still engaged with the team. Strength and conditioning coach Lucas Novotny helps is a huge fan of the program.
"Just allowing them to have a platform to discuss it with their teammates. Just an understanding of this stuff is normal and it’s good to talk about."
Although it’s not the fairy tale ending every athlete dream of, kids like Maggie hopes this is start of something special for the next generation.
"Like the trainers, the coaching staff, my teammates. They made it so much easier and it was like. I wouldn’t change it helped me grow to who I am."
"Being the one that laughs with them and cries with them. We may fight and scream during rehab but it’s all part of the process of grieving and getting through it but we see them all the way through it."