Injury cancels Knupp’s sophomore season, jeopardizes future seasons


Photo Courtesy of Brianna Knupp

Sophomore Brianna Knupp plays catcher in one of her softball games. Although her injury prevents her from playing, Knupp still has hopes to be a part of the team by being a manager for the Varsity Softball team at HHS.

Karleigh Gentry, Page Editor

Due to an ongoing injury, sophomore Brianna Knupp is facing the fact that she won’t be able to play softball this Spring. After playing on multiple Harrisonburg Little League teams and the JV team at HHS as both an eighth grader attending Skyline Middle School and a freshman last year, Knupp has had to come to the hard realization that she her injury in her left shoulder is more severe than previously anticipated. 

“This injury has caused me to stop playing softball completely for this season,” Knupp said. “[It doesn’t only affect softball though because] I’m constantly in pain and can barely sleep.”

Prior to trying out for the JV team in eighth grade, the injury was noticeable for Knupp. With her doctor telling her not to play, she did what most athletes would’ve done and continued to play through the pain and discomfort. 

“We went to my family doctor and she didn’t do anything about it, so I played my eighth grade season and after it started to get worse throughout, we went again and nothing happened,” Knupp said.

With constant pain and no answers, Knupp and her family visited Dr. Ben Mwanika who works with athletes at HHS constantly. With the goal of Knupp being able to keep playing softball, her family wanted answers as to how to relieve the pain in her left shoulder. 

“My family doctor didn’t do anything other than blame muscles for the pain and Dr. Ben made me do physical therapy twice and get a cortisone shot, but neither worked,” Knupp said. “Physical therapy began to make the pain worse and the cortisone shot never worked or took the pain away.”

In addition to softball, Knupp previously played volleyball, so injuries have been something she’s dealt with in the past. This one, however, impacts her more seriously. 

“I’ve injured my elbow by overcompensating last season trying not to injure my shoulder again, I’ve had knee problems due to growing too tall too fast, sprained ankles from my volleyball season in eighth grade and a broken finger from volleyball,” Knupp said. “This injury at this point requires surgery to fix [whereas] the others did not.” 

Not only are injuries something Knupp is very familiar with herself, but her family as a whole is used to dealing with injuries as well due to Knupp’s older brother, senior Marcus Knupp’s previous participation in football. 

“My brother played football for five years and he almost tore his meniscus and [Anterior Cruciate Ligament] during a scrimmage, so he ended up having to quit football mid season,” Knupp said. 

After understanding there is no possible way to play softball this season without pain or the possibility of making her injury worse, Knupp has decided to try to be a manager. By taking a year off, Knupp hopes her shoulder will heal for her last two softball seasons as a junior and senior. 

“My mom has constantly reminded me that it’s okay to take off my sophomore year; [however,] I still want to be apart of the team, so I’m going to be a manager for varsity, [but my goal] for this season specifically is to heal my shoulder completely before playing next year,” Knupp said.

Sophomore Juju Butler, though choosing not to play softball this season despite having a successful freshman season on varsity last year, has helped Knupp overcome the mental and physical struggles of dealing with an injury. The two formerly played on little league teams together and reunited as eighth graders on the JV team. 

“I’ve played softball with Brianna for as long as I can remember,” Butler said. “I decided to help her through it because I didn’t want her to feel like she was going through it alone and I could also relate to her because I’m not playing this year, not due to injury, but due to other circumstances, so that helped me relate to her better during this time.” 

For anyone else dealing with an injury, Knupp hopes to set an example of how to remain positive and understand that being patient and taking time off is an important part of the recovery process. 

“If you’re injured, don’t play it off just because you want to play the game [because ultimately] it will hurt you more in the long run and keep you from doing what you love,” Knupp said.  


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