For senior Patrick Talamantes, Oct. 7 was a typical day at soccer practice. And even after he sprained his right ankle, it was still a somewhat typical day.
Since his freshman year, Talamantes has sustained annual ankle injuries that bench him for weeks at a time.
“I just have bad luck,” Talamantes said. “I don’t think there has been one sports season where I haven’t been taken out for at least two weeks.”
But his most recent sprain has extra bite, for it is forcing him to sit out the rest of his senior soccer season, which included the Homecoming game.
Talamantes, who captains the boys’ soccer team and plays stopper, sprained his right ankle while doing suicides, an exercise where players run back and forth between two points, touching their hands to the ground before changing direction.
Planting his foot in the ground, Talamantes was just about to touch the grass when his ankle gave out.
“There was a sharp pain and a little pop. I’m pretty sure I actually heard the pop,” he said.
He immediately lay on the ground with his eyes closed, trying to gauge how severe the pain was in relation to previous injuries, he said. When he got home, he put on one of his medical walking boots used during previous injuries.
Because Talamantes has injured his right ankle so many times, he is more susceptible to sprains, he said. So Talamantes wears a brace at all practices. But at this particular practice, he was using a weaker brace because he couldn’t find his normal, stronger brace that day.
And according to Talamantes, that’s the most frustrating aspect of this injury.
“I felt broken—useless,” he said. “I was angry at myself for not getting my brace; (I felt) dread that I was going to miss out on my senior year of soccer and (I felt) guilt that I was letting my team down.”
At Homecoming, Talamantes watched the team play Buckingham from the bench.
“I’d been such a big part of the team,” Talamantes said. “But then I was at my senior Homecoming, not being able to do a thing—I felt kind of impotent.”
In his freshman year, Talamantes sprained his right ankle on both the left and right side of after stepping on someone’s heel in a track meet. This injury put him out of athletics from March to June.
In his sophomore year, Talamantes sprained his ankle in lacrosse (after pulling his hip flexor in soccer).
His most severe ankle injury occurred in junior year during a basketball game, when he sprained his right ankle, on both sides, while simultaneously fracturing his fibula.
But this year’s sprain has taken a larger toll than those in recent years, according to Talamantes’s father, Pat.
“You always hate to see a child be disappointed,” Pat said. “It’s extremely frustrating for him to be on the sidelines in his senior season when he doesn’t get to come back and play again.”
Junior Keegan Crain often replaces Talamantes as stopper.
And placing Crain as stopper removes him from his normal position as center midfielder, which in turn weakens the midfield as a whole, according to junior sweeper Skovran Cunningham.
But coach Matt Vargo said Talamantes’s absence has not had a profound effect on the team’s performance.
“We are not as strong without him, but other players have stepped up in his absence and we have still been successful,” Vargo said.
Despite his absence the team has still made it to playoffs.
Although Talamantes expects a short recovery time, he said he’s debating whether to play boys’ basketball in the winter because he wants more time to recover before lacrosse season starts in the spring.
However, Talamantes isn’t ruling out one last hoorah in soccer.
“Since the team made it to playoffs, I’m going to take some pain medicine and wrap up my leg really well and go out and play,” he said.