Anyone who plays a sport runs the risk of getting an injury. They can range from serious (broken bones, torn ACLs, concussions) to minor (bruises, scratches, sprained ankles).

I have had my share of injuries. I used to play a lot of basketball. My knuckles are permanently demented from the thousands of jammed fingers I got. In softball, I get hit with the ball all the time. I can’t count all the different sets of laces from the ball that have been engraved on my skin. I have been kicked in the mouth, hit in the face, scratched and bruised. I loved every second of it.

One injury I always wanted but never actually got was a black eye. I don’t know why I wanted one, but I think it’s cool.

I have also had countless sprained ankles or strained muscles. I used to have a coach give everyone ice packs to ice their arms after practices. We had to ice until we were cherry-red before we could go home. In my opinion, if an athlete isn’t icing after they’ve practiced or worked out, they are not working hard enough.

I have never had serious injuries. I have never broken a bone or torn any ligaments. I have never had stitches from a sport (only from my own stupidity, car mirror and slippery snow). I know people who have had more serious injuries, though.

My brother got stitches from sliding into third base once. My other brother strained his meniscus playing soccer. In high school, I saw three different girls (two of them my teammates) fall because of a torn ACL.

All the previously mentioned wounds and injuries heal, some faster than others. On TV we see the broken necks and near-death injury stories caused from sports. Those are rare cases. The overprotective parents who won’t let their kids play sports because of those things are holding their kids back from creating memories, making friends, learning the importance of work and so much more.

Bruises, cuts and broken bones will heal. Yes, they will hurt for a minute, but they heal. They also come with a good story. I heard once that scars are a tattoo that have a better story.

I personally love getting bumps and bruises from sports. To me, it shows that I am working hard and having fun. I usually show them off. For instance, last summer I was a runner on first base. My teammate was left-handed (which means they generally hit to the first-base side). He hit the ball at my thigh. It turned bright red instantly, and oh boy, did it sting.

The next day, I woke up and it was sore. The blue, purple, red and black spot on my leg was about the size of small paper plate. It was humongous on my leg. I was so proud of it that I wore shorts the rest of the week. I loved getting the stares and comments from random people.

A more recent example is the bruises on my arm from duck hunting last weekend. I didn’t have the gun in the right spot before I pulled the trigger, and the kick got me. I was finally able to wear short sleeves and was excited when I realized my bruises were visible.

Injuries are inevitable. They are awesome and include some even better stories. Yes, the ones that put you out for a few weeks suck, but they are still pretty cool.

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