Panther Injuries

Not all heroes wear capes. Elder's own Sam

Not all heroes wear capes. Elder's own Sam "Terminator" Paff

There are many keys to having a successful season when you’re a football team. Having discipline, execution, and the right play calls are amongst a plethora of other things determines whether a team will win. There are also variables that you can’t control on the gridiron, like staying healthy.

Injuries are a part of every sport, not just football. But the injuries sustained in the game of football seemed to only get worse as the years go on. Teams win and lose championships based on their ability to stay off the sidelines in a cast.

Coming into the season, the Elder Panthers knew they had the talent to do something special on the field, if they could remain healthy. Throughout the course of the season, the Panthers sustained several blows to players that put them on the sidelines.

A player who has been on and off the field is senior cornerback David Heisel. David has worked his tail off during his career at Elder, and his senior year presented the opportunity to start and be a huge factor and the defensive side of the ball. During the St. Xavier game, David sprained his right ankle and was sidelined for the remainder of the game, and the following two games. “I tried initially to get up, but realized I had to get to the sidelines. Punched the bench and was devastated.” David went on to say although being injured was a major blow, he was glad he fought so hard to get back on the field.

During Elder’s game against DePaul Catholic, David, not being able to catch a break, sprained his left ankle. When asked if he’s going to start changing his approach out on the field, Dave said, “I know now that every game could be my last in an Elder uniform, I have to give it my all in every play.” David finished by saying he hopes he can remain healthy for the remainder of the season, and hopes his hard work will help Elder achieve a state title.

Another player who has been sidelined is senior guard/ tackle David Guck. Against the game against ST. X, Guck partially tore his mcl and also dislocated his kneecap on the second drive of the game. “It sucked. I knew right when it happened that it was bad” Guck said. David, like many others, faced some struggles will rehabbing. “Knowing you’re stuck inside while the rest of the team is out there practicing and getting better is tough” he said.

Guck went on to say that although the road to recovery is a challenge, it taught him a lot about himself. “I don’t think a true athlete has been through it all until they have been sidelined and gone through that recovery process. It taught me that some things, like football, require your whole heart to be successful.” Guck has fully recovered and is back on the field, and like Heisel, all he wants is a ring.

A player that hasn’t been able to get back on the field is senior lineman Sam Paff. Paff suffered a shoulder injury that ruled him out for the year after week four, and his shoulder would be stuck in a sling that has given him the nickname “The Terminator”. Although Paff wouldn’t be able to help the Panthers on the field, he made it his goal to help the team in any way he can off the field.

“I started by making sure all the guys felt that had enough liquids while playing” Sam said. “Keeping hydrated doesn’t seem important, but it is and guys need to quench their thirst.” Sam also went into how he relieves his teammates with his sense of humor during workouts, and said he always makes sure everyone is not only getting better, but also having a good time while doing it.

So far this year, the Panthers have had their fair share of injuries. But having the spirit of guys like Guck, Heisel, and Paff are the reason they continue to grind and plan on taking a deep trip into the playoffs.