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Injuries a Headache at Robinson

Rams battle to stay ‘match fit’ in face of multiple injuries to key players.

Robinson midfielder Brigitte Kuter's doesn't want her injury to hold her back.

However, when she’s required to head the ball past the goalkeeper, she can't help but worry about lingering effects of a mild concussion she received last winter during a club indoor soccer game.

"I'm a little more hesitant now to protect my head," she said. "I don't want to risk getting another concussion."

"I got hit in the back of the head with the ball," she said.

Kuter said most of the pain has passed, but on occasion, she experiences side effects.

"I occasionally still have headaches after heading the ball a lot," she said. "But I'm not trying to hold back."

Kuter is just one girl on the team recovering from a concussion.

Senior Allie Beck and sophomore Jeannine Molleda are two others suffering from post-concussion symptoms.

"I can count on one hand how many kids I've had with concussions in 25 years," head coach Jim Rike said. "Then all of a sudden, I get a bunch in one season. It's just weird."

The team’s injuries aren't limited to concussions. As the girls ran laps during practice, Rike pointed at each one describing their ailments ranging from bruised legs to bronchitis. Only a few earned a bill of good health from the coach.

"We just need to try and stay healthy," he said.

Rike said that high school soccer isn't to blame for his team's poor health, but rather the amount of out-of-school work the girls do on their own.

"It seems like every time [the girls] go off to a club tournament, somebody comes back hurt," Rike said. "[The injuries] are partly because the kids are playing so much. They don't take much time off."

The injury-laden team is trying to avoid limping into the 2010 season, but Kuter said that a recent scrimmage highlighted the drastic situation.

"We had a scrimmage and a third of our team was on the bench," she said. "I've never see a team with this many injuries before."

Senior defensive forward and team co-captain Ali Heck said the injury spell has created a cautious atmosphere at practice as news of more injuries comes in each day.

"Practice is definitely lighter," she said. "The worry for injury is there now. Every game is a risk, but we have faith we'll be OK."

With so many injuries, some teams might worry that their season is ending before it even begins, but the injury spell hasn't completely depleted the Rams' starting 11.

"The hub of my defense is in good shape," Rike said. "The attacking players are the ones I'm worried about."

Trying to look at the situation in a positive light, Heck said the time spent healing will provide younger players with an opportunity they may not have received this early in the season.

"We're good as long as the younger kids step up," Heck said. "We just need the experienced players to keep working hard."

Robinson plays at home against West Springfield on March 25, at 7 p.m., and returns from spring break with a home match against Centreville on April 6.