VYPE U talks with Angela Salazar about her journey through recovery and her overall experience playing soccer for the majority of her life.
Ninety percent of student-athletes report that they have experienced some kind of sports-related injury throughout their athletic careers. Not only do they experience injuries but 54% of them also report that they have played through an injury. These statistics not only show the sacrifice most student-athletes are making every time they play their sport, but it also shows how dedicated they are. One student-athlete who is a part of that ninety percent is Angela Salazar.
Angela Salazar is a junior at Rockwall High School who is driven and has dedicated 13 years of her life to soccer. Currently, she plays for the Rockwall Lady Jacket Soccer team but has played in multiple teams, all at different levels. Aside from soccer, she is the trainer at her school and would describe the experience as, "eye-opening." Throughout the thirteen years that she has been playing soccer, she has grown, not only as a person but as a player. To Salazar, soccer has impacted her life in so many ways. She has met so many different people that have impacted her and will continue to do so even if they don't currently play on the same field. Playing soccer hasn't only been about getting as skilled as possible; it's been about gaining experiences and friendships that positively impact Angela. To her, the most exciting part about playing soccer is the adrenaline most student-athletes experience. Not only does Salazar get excited about practice, but about anything that allows her to be on the field. When she realized she was pumped to be even near the field, she realized soccer was her destiny.
Throughout the years, Salazar has failed and succeeded, as everyone does, but the biggest thing she has learned is to push herself. Her teammates drive her, but without her own motivation, she understands nothing will ever be accomplished. While she played club soccer for Dallas Kicks, she didn't push herself 100%, and looking back she regrets not doing so. Salazar acknowledges that she wasn't as successful on that team because she wasn't pushing herself to grow and get better. Now, she pushes her limits and has been more successful than ever.
Although Salzar has played for countless teams, she believes Coach Edgar of Dallas Kicks Soccer Club has molded her into the player she is today. Her Soccer IQ would not be where it is today if it weren't for him. He was the coach that made her believe she was good enough and skilled enough to play soccer at a higher level. Without him, she would not be the soccer player she is today.
Playing sports come with tons of good but also some downsides. Most athletes are prone to some kind of sports-related injury in the span of their careers. There's nothing worse than having a season-ending injury that causes an athlete to do physical therapy instead of training to become a more skilled athlete. Salazar had a very similar experience when it came to her knee sprain injury. For most of the season, she was working on exercises her trainer advised her to do in order to get better. When asked about her experience she said, " No injury is easy to get through but I just did all of the stretches and exercises that I was given by the athletic trainer so I could get back on the field as fast as I could. Going through my injury did change how I played slightly in the case that sometimes I am more cautious about how I go for the ball because I do not want another injury." With most injuries, the mental challenges always get the best of students. Nobody wants to risk getting injured again, let alone the same one. Thankfully, Angela has never wanted to quit playing because she understands that she could not live without soccer.
When it comes to being a student-athlete, the student part will always come first, as most coaches say. Taking academics seriously is a major part of being able to play a sport in high school and in college. Most competitive schools also require academically strong students, so it's important for student-athletes to do their best when it comes to their sport and academics. When asked about her ability to balance being a student and being an athlete Salazar said, "It is pretty easy to balance both practices and being a student because my practice is actually my first period of the day. At times it does become difficult because of the amount of homework I have that week but other than that it's pretty easy."
As for her future, Salazar aspires to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study Kinesiology, and eventually apply for the Army Baylor DPT program in order to become a physical therapist.
VYPE-U sends her the best of luck in all she does.
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