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This could go down as year of the injury
By John Lemon | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 1/21/2012 2:27 PM

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I think I've found a positive to the snow that wiped out basically an entire slate of prep sports Friday night.

No games means that nobody gets hurt.

Actually, I probably shouldn't speak so fast. The way things have been going I'd put my money on a player slipping on the ice and wrecking an ankle. Maybe two or three players.

It's been that kind of year. I can't remember a season with so many injuries, not even close. And it's not just a relatively minor injury like a sprained ankle that keeps a player out a week or two. We're talking multiple torn ACLs that end seasons and high school careers.

I've had the misfortune of seeing two of these happen live. Batavia sophomore Erin Bayram went down against St. Charles East last month, and just last week Geneva senior Ashley Santos did the same at the McDonald's Shootout.

Obviously any injury this severe is so hard to see happen. You think of all the work these players, their families, coaches and teammates have put into getting to this point of a successful athletic career just to have it end in such sudden fashion with everyone in the crowd falling into a hushed silence.

You can multiply that disappointment when it happens to a senior like Santos, and when she has watched her own sister Sidney suffer two such injuries the past two years denying them a chance to play together. With those two sidelined it leaves a bunch of "what-ifs" as to just how much better an already excellent Geneva team would have been both last year and this one.

While I'd say the loss of both Santos sisters leaves Geneva as the team most affected by injuries, the Vikings certainly have plenty of company.

Kevin Jensen's first year at Batavia has been filled with obstacles for his team to overcome. Bayram was off to a super start this year, scoring and rebounding down low at a very effective clip.

About the only good thing to come from the injury was how Katie Ryan started to emerge as an inside force ... and of course Ryan then went out. And just before Ryan left Batavia's lineup, the Lady Bulldogs lost their best player Liza Fruendt for a couple games with a dislocated finger.

Three injured starters? Pretty awful luck, but check out what the year has been like for Rosary coach Dave Beebe.

Kianna Musaraca has only played in two games because of a back injury. Karly Tate missed four weeks with an emergency appendectomy. Courtney Bila missed a game and some practice time with a knee injury. Emmy Popovich missed a game last week and a practice with an ankle injury. Maddie Kombrink has been playing on a bad ankle for two weeks.

That doesn't include Rosary's worst blow when Madison Richmond tore her ACL recently and will miss the rest of the season.

It's gotten so bad that Thursday night when I didn't see West Aurora's best player Alexis Nelson in the starting lineup I figured here we go again. What's next? Imagine the relief when it turns out that Nelson had just been sick! Not fun I know but it sure beats the rest of this nonsense.

And it's not just girls basketball. The Geneva boys played the first month without Phil Lorenz and Matt Trimble. From Cole Gardner to Zach Strittmatter to Jake Pollack to Mike Rueffer, the Batavia boys have played exactly one game with their regular lineup.

And if you can pick an MVP by how far his team falls without him like Peyton Manning and the 2-14 Colts this year in the NFL look at what the loss of shot-blocking extraordinaire Robert DeMyers did to Aurora Central.

So is there a reason for all the injuries? Or is it just a rotten run of luck?

Jensen seemed to think the latter.

"Just seems we've all had some bad luck," Jensen said. "I can't really say its any other reason."

Beebe agreed.

"I'm not sure if there's a reason behind it," Beebe said. "I know that other teams in the area are going through the same injury pains. We have great trainers at Rosary that help the players recover quickly, but there's not much we can do to prevent these injuries."

Looks like we'll get back to the action on the courts when the snow stops and games resume Saturday. Here's hoping the stories in our Sunday paper will be about the thrills on the court, not the spills.

Congrats to Katie: Speaking of the players above, one of them just chose her college in a different sport.

The same Katie Ryan who can go get a rebound over almost anyone on the basketball court is the same one who slammed 18 home runs for the softball team as a sophomore.

And that has earned Ryan also a member of the 18U Wasco Diamonds a chance to play softball for the University of Dayton Flyers and head coach Cara LaPlaca.

Dayton is a Division 1 university with an enrollment of over 11,000 students and a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Ryan plans to study physical therapy and possibly biology.