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Keyword: charleston battery

Guest Post by:

Michael J. Barr, PT, DPT, MSR
Sports Medicine Program Manager
MUSC Sports Medicine

The start of the Carolina Challenge Cup on February 21st, marks the return of Major League Soccer to Charleston.  This will be my 8th season providing sports medicine services for the Charleston Battery, and I cannot remember a Challenge Cup having so much pre-tournament hype.  We have been talking about the CCC for months, since it was announced that international superstars Kaka` and David Villa were coming to play for the new MLS expansion teams Orlando City SC and New York City FC respectively.  The Houston Dynamo is returning to Charleston again this year to round out the field with their new USL PRO affiliation, the Charleston Battery.

I know everyone is excited to see the international players compete against our local team. Personally, I am just excited to see some outstanding soccer being played by some of the greatest players in the world and I am not just talking about Kaka` and David Villa.  The Challenge Cup this year will also bring US National Team players Brek Shea, Mix Diskerud, and DaMarcus Beasley to Charleston.  What an outstanding combination of international and US National Team stars for the Charleston Battery to play against and for the local soccer community to enjoy watching and cheering for.

For one of these players, it is not the first time he has been to Charleston to play at Blackbaud Stadium.  For those of your who have been a soccer fan in Charleston for a long time, you may remember the College of Charleston playing a friendly against the U-17 US National Team in a pre-season match in 1999; DeMarcus Beasley was a member of that team.

DeMarcus Beasley had an outstanding game that day scoring an early second half hat trick; unfortunately I remember that game all too well, as I was the goalkeeper for the Cougars in the second half, who was repetitively picking up the ball out of the back of the net that game.  Beasley went on to having an exemplary professional and international career, and I learned a very valuable lesson in goal.  As one of my former goalkeeper coaches used to tell me, “a lesson in goalkeeping is a lesson in life.”  That game definitely taught me, that even though I had more years left in my playing career, I needed to have other options for the future as well.  I chose coaching soccer and Sports Medicine, which is why working with the Battery has been a perfect fit for me.  I am excited to see Beasley step back on the pitch in Charleston; and to be honest, I am even happier that I am not playing against him this time.

If you enjoyed watching the World Cup last summer or are just a local sports fan, come out to the Carolina Challenge Cup on Saturday February 21st, Wednesday February 25th, and Saturday February 28th ; I guarantee you will not be disappointed, between the quality of play on the field and the excitement in the stands, it will be a time to remember.

On September 5, 2014, Charleston celebrated the career of soccer defender John Wilson. Prior to the match midfielder Zach Prince presented Wilson with a Battery jersey with the number 269 on the back, representing the number of matches Wilson has played for the Battery. In his time with Charleston, Wilson wore the number 25. In the 25th minute of the game, he was treated to a standing ovation from the home crowd. This game was Wilson’s last regular season game.

John Wilson in 2012
John Wilson in 2012

 

The Sports Medicine Team at MUSC Health is proud to have been a part of John Wilson’s soccer career. Our athletic trainers worked with John in his rehabilitation before he joined the Charleston Battery and continued the relationship with the team. Mike Barr, MUSC Sports Medicine Program Manager, spoke of his work with John Wilson. “John’s dedication to his sport and profession is second to none; I have never worked with an athlete as dedicated to his body and his recovery as John. His hard work and dedication is what made him a true professional and allowed him to continue to play and have such a long and successful career.”

We join with the rest of Charleston in wishing John all the best in his retirement from the Battery and know that he will continue to spread the message of soccer joy to kids around the country.

John Wilson of the Charleston BatteryIf you’re a Charleston Battery fan, you may have seen Defender John Wilson’s photo in some of our recent ads.  After learning of John’s success with the Sports Medicine program at MUSC, including his return to playing professional soccer, we wanted to share his inspiring story.

After growing up in Seneca, SC and attending Clemson University,  John turned pro in 1999 and played with several teams.  While at DC United in the 2007-08 season, he developed tendonitis in his knee; it became so painful, he sought medical help.  Good thing he did; the surgeon who repaired his patellar tendon said if he had waited any longer, the injury would have been disastrous.

John was 30 at the time and not knowing how long his recovery might take – and if he would ever be able to play at the same level– DC United let him go. “Professional sports is a cutthroat business,” he acknowledges. He returned to the Upstate and went to rehab in Spartanburg for eight months until his worker’s comp ran out.  “I didn’t think I would play again; I thought I was done. It plays with your mind.” Convinced he was not going to be able to play again,  he had already applied for a job as a medical sales rep.

Still limping, he met Battery coach Michael Anhaeuser for lunch, who asked him if he wanted to play despite his injury. Anhaeuser knows something of injuries having retired himself as a player due to an ACL tear.  John then met with Mike Barr, the Sports Medicine Coordinator at MUSC who in addition to having his doctorate in physical therapy holds multiple soccer coaching licenses.  Barr put together a customized plan of stretches and warm-ups.  Wilson recalled that Barr was honest and said he might not be as fast – even doing everything he could.  “A big part of playing is working with someone I trust.  Someone who knows what you’re going through. You want to know where you stand.  The coaches want to know where you stand.”

John Wilson of the Charleston BatteryJohn says that a lot of the young players who get hurt turn to the physical therapists or surgeons and say “heal me.” The reality is it takes some time.  And you may not get back.

John has been happy with the help he has gotten: to return to pro soccer after surgery eight years ago, and to keep playing well at 36 years old.

John is more than the sum of his knees and ankles and God-given athletic skills.  He is philosophical about his long soccer career.  “If you’re not fit, you shouldn’t take the chance.  Now I can enjoy the game more.”
When asked if he would choose MUSC for another procedure if he were injured or fell sick unrelated to soccer.  “They have taken care of me; I stick with what I know.”

Come join MUSC in supporting John and the Charleston Battery at an upcoming game.  Their schedule is available at http://charlestonbattery.com/schedule-schedule/

 

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