Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

Dislocated from Varsity: How One Tennis Player Unconventionally Recovered Faster

Josh Walters
Courtesy of: Josh Walters

Hearing the words “You can’t play”  from a doctor is one of the worst things to ever happen to an athlete. You have one of two options. Wallow in self-pity, or dust yourself off and make a plan. Junior James Friggins, chose the second option and pushed himself to get better. 

James Friggens has been playing tennis since he was five. His mom played tennis in high school and helped start his tennis journey by enrolling him in a camp. 

However, playing tennis hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Friggens. Last summer, at the end of tennis tryouts, he went to hit an overhead shot and ended up dislocating his right shoulder. He was benched by his doctor for 12 weeks., 

“The first thing that went through my head was I’m not going to be able to play with all my teammates that I met over the summer and ones I’ve been playing with for years, ” Friggens said.

When you dislocate your shoulder, the ligaments, tissue that joins the bones, of the shoulder can be stretched or torn with continued usage.  The muscles in the shoulder might spasm, which can also increase the severity of the injury. 

“I had to do physical therapy about once a week at the high school, and more at home,” said Friggens, “It was really difficult trying to limit myself when I was doing my exercises.” 

Nevertheless, Friggens was only benched for five weeks. He learned how to play tennis with his left hand, allowing him to rest his right shoulder to let it heal. 

“I’m not ambidextrous, but from playing for as long as I have I just knew how things are supposed to happen,”  said Friggens. “It just took a lot of practice with my left hand.”

Despite completely relearning how to play tennis, Friggens still made varsity, sliding down from No. 2 singles to No. 4 doubles and making academic All-State. 

Photo Courtesy Josh Walters

“I practiced a lot during my free time and with a coach in Grandville and my brother, Kyle, ” said Friggens. “It was nice practicing with Kyle because he is left-handed and it was a stress-free place to practice left-handed.” 

Regardless, he still showed up for his team and supported his teammates.

“James was around [the team] the whole time and wanted to help us any way he could,” said Chris Wilton, his coach. 

Not only is he a hard worker, but he’s also a reputable teammate. 

“He’s always been super supportive and always looks out for other people,” said Simon Sispera, Friggens’ doubles partner. 

“I’ve never really had a major injury before and it’s really opened my eyes to what other athletes in the school are struggling through and how their season can be taken away by one misstep,” said Friggens. ¨We love to play sports, and to all the athletes out there, keep working hard, and everything will get better eventually.”




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Reegan Cook, Reporter

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