While people all across the world were celebrating love this past Valentine’s day, Stevan Radosavljevic ('17), a member of the Sarah Lawrence men’s basketball team, was breaking his elbow. A minute before the end of the game against Farmingdale State, Radosavljevic went in for a rebound, and landed on his left hand which caused something “weird” to happen to his arm. He felt a pop and, as he explained, “something was sticking out.” Radosavljevic believed that he had broken his entire arm by the reaction of the people surrounding him on the court. He said “they were kinda freaked out by the whole scene.” He was ordered not to look at his arm, and trainers from Farmingdale state covered the fracture with a sheet. Radosavljevic lay on the basketball court and waited for an ambulance to arrive. “I screamed at first,” Radosavljevic recalls, “All of these things were coming into my mind. Career ending stuff. Because it felt really wrong and not natural.”
This event was confirmed by teammate Nikos Efstratudakis ('17), who saw the entire incident occur. “Stevan was playing very hard”, Efstratudakis said. He explained that Farmingdale was playing a little too rough, they were pushing too much. “The refs were not calling anything. We were complaining for the past two or three plays to the refs because they [the other team] were pushing too much.” A few minutes before the elbow fracture, Radosavljevic was pushed all the way off the court and into the sideline bench. Ahead by twenty points, there was no need for the intensity perpetuated by Farmingdale State. Efstratudakis admits that he was completely shocked by the incident and stood with his hands covering his mouth for a few minutes. “It scared me for sure,” he stated.
When athletes play a sport, injuries are part of the game. It is in situations similar to Radosavljevic’s that a trainer is especially needed.The head Sarah Lawrence Athletic Trainer, Fred Jimenez, explains that in situations during a game, he must decipher whether athletes need to go to the hospital for injuries such as a fracture or dislocation. “We must preserve the health and safety and well being of the student athlete above everything else. It does not matter if it is a championship game, five minutes left, first game of the season, record of the opposing team - none of that matters. You have to stay completely impartial and make the best decision for the athletes long term health”, explained Jimenez.This type of injury, fracture of the elbow, will take around six to eight weeks to heal.
“I’m very traumatized actually thinking about playing basketball again.” Radosavljevic admitted. He is in good hands with the support of his teammates, coaches, and Jimenez. Once an injured athlete regains motion, they must work on regain function. “You do everything that you can do without causing more damage to the injury. Because there is a fine line between stimulating the tissue enough to help it repair itself, and then adding more stress and more load that will cause more damage. That’s where your education and clinical training will help.” Jimenez explained. Student-athletes regularly encounter injuries, but with the direction of their trainers, they can recover quickly. Sometimes, however, with more serious injuries, such as a concussion, athletes must be excused from their classes for a few days of rest. Radosavljevic's injury is certainly unique, but he is expected to regain mobility by the end of this semester. Luckily, too, the basketball season just came to an end which means the lead scorer will not miss any action.
“They [teammates] described it as one second of hell,” Stevan remembered. Let’s hope his next Valentine’s day is closer to heaven than hell.