Should you disclose an injury to college coaches during the athletic recruiting process?

I recently had a chance to speak with a recruit who was telling me that he had missed some time after the football season due to a knee injury.  When asking him further about what happened, he told me that he had torn the MCL but didn’t want that to be known.  The reason why he was keeping it “on the down low” was because he didn’t want college coaches to know.

In speaking with this recruit and knowing his connection to college football, it struck me as odd that he would want to keep something like this to himself.  With medical science these days, what exactly cannot be fixed or improved over time?  It is not like this recruit was expected to workout before Signing Day.  So the question is, does an injury like this need to be told to a college coach?

The obvious reason why this recruit may not want to tell college coaches is because they think that it might scare them away.  But what college football programs have not been stung here or there by a torn ACL or knee problems?  In my opinion, this type of thing happens all the time and they are not suddenly going to disappear late in the process.  Here are reasons why you should and should not tell the coaches.

I am going to tell the college coaches I am hurt because:
What use is there to hide this?  If a college coach has not offered an athlete a scholarship, then injury or not, it will make little difference to their long term evaluation.  For the schools that have offered, if you are good enough, why would they pull the offer?  What injury have athletes not come back from?  Microfracture surgery?  Tommy John surgery?  You name it, an athlete has come back from it.

Chances are that if a coaching staff is going to pull your scholarship offer or no longer recruit you because of a torn up knee, then the same staff may eventually sell you out down the road as well.  Fast forward a year and you hurt that same knee while at their school.  Are they suddenly going to say that your scholarship will not be renewed?  If a staff pulls the offer in the first place, then something like this may happen.  While ethics are not strong in college athletics, I would assume must would want you even with the injury.

I am NOT going to tell the college coaches I am hurt because:
Do they really need to know?  The coaches should be evaluating me on my senior film and performance during camp in the summer.  They should not be taking into consideration that my knee has problems at this point, especially with the doctor telling me that it will be stronger than before in six months.  It will just take a little time to get there and back to normal.

My final analysis is that you should:
Tell the college coaches simply because it is not something you need to hide.   Many coaches like to come and watch an athlete participate in a winter sport to get a feel for their athleticism and toughness.  They may come to a basketball/wrestling practice or a game.  For hoops, the coaches can see what type of athletic ability you have on the court.  In wrestling, they can also learn more about you and your toughness.

Since the coach may be asking you about coming to watch you participate, you need to be honest with them as to if you will be in action or not.  The last thing you want to tell a college coach is that you are not practicing/playing after they made the trip to your school.  That and lying is not a great first impression to have in front of any college coaches.

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