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March 14, 2013 / umbcdawgblog

Bouncing Between Student and Athlete

By: Emily Witsaman

The life of a student-athlete can be chaotic, stressful, busy, and fun at the same time. This semester I have to juggle between my classes, my internship, practices and workouts, and treatment. In addition to that, I just recently found out I need to have “Tommy John” surgery on my left elbow, scheduled for the Monday of spring break. The surgery adds another obstacle to my already busy schedule. Luckily I am having the surgery during spring break so I won’t have to miss any classes and will have a week to recover before classes resume. The recovery for the surgery could be anywhere from five months up to a year. I am hoping all goes well and for a speedy recovery to be back in time for the season in August.

A typical day during spring training for me can be very busy. Depending on the day, I have 7:00 a.m. condition twice a week with the team, and practice for two hours four times a week. Our lifting times are scheduled for three times a week, once being with the team. Rehab and treatment in the training room is the most important in healing my elbow. My internship office hours are every Tuesday and Thursday. Outside of the craziness with volleyball, my schedule is filled with classes in the afternoons and evenings. Being a part of a college sports team, however has helped me improve on my organization and time management skills. I am able to do my homework and study in the free time I have between classes and in the evenings. I enjoy always having something to do and having to balance between school and athletics.

Looking back my first semester at UMBC was a huge shock and wake up call for me. I had to balance between being in my first college volleyball season, as well as my first semester at college. I learned quickly how important it is to be organized and manage my time around my volleyball schedule. With the help of the upperclassmen and my academic advisor, I was able to find what worked best for me in regards to study habits and completing homework. Since completing three seasons of volleyball at UMBC, my stress level has decreased and I am able to balance between school and volleyball. I have also found it very helpful to get a tutor as soon as I find something difficult in my schoolwork.

Staying healthy and getting treatment is also a high priority for being an athlete. Because of my elbow injury, I have had to spend much of my free time that I have available in the training room with our athletic trainer, Cindy Kubiet. When I first found out the seriousness of my injury I became very upset. Cindy gave me a rehab program to follow and told me which treatments need to be completed. With the help of the great athletic training staff and team doctor we have, I have been given the confidence that I will make a great recovery post-surgery. Stay tuned for my next post after surgery!

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