August 23, 2014

Elyria
Fog
72°F
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Doctor of hard knocks

Midview graduate patches up pro soccer players

Midview High School graduate Dr. Michael Schaefer is tending the strained muscles, pulled hamstrings and bumps and bruises of soccer players on the Cleveland City Stars, the area’s newest pro sports franchise.
Schaefer, 34, serves as one of the team doctors while enjoying the fast-moving games at Krenzler Stadium at Cleveland State University.
The pace of the soccer matches is truly astounding, Schaefer said.
“A lot of them are younger players starting to make a name for themselves,” he said. “They put a tremendous amount of stress on their bodies. It’s a violent game — but not intentionally.”
About the only protection worn by players are shin pads, he said. Head injuries are the most serious threat in pro soccer, he said.
Schaefer practices medicine at MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio, where he also serves as assistant professor of physical medicine.
The fledgling Cleveland City Stars play in the second division of the United Soccer League and have a 6-1-4 record.
So far, the most serious injury Schaefer has had to deal with was a severe shoulder separation suffered June 9 by a player on the Cincinnati Kings.
Schaefer administered pain medication and eased the man’s shoulder into a sling so he could be transported for further treatment.
Mark Geissbauer, general manager of the Cleveland City Stars, said Schaefer “is very caring about the players.”
“He’s doing a terrific job for us,” Geissbauer said.
The important thing in sports medicine is to think quickly on your feet and keep a cool head so minor injuries don’t become serious ones, Schaefer said.
“It’s important to make the right decision for the safety of the player in the heat of the competition,” he said.
Sometimes the decision of the doctor is not very popular with the player, he said.
For example, Schaefer stopped a regional wrestling match in Garfield Heights when a competitor’s nose bleed quickly turned serious and the wrestler began bleeding from the mouth.
“These bleeds can be life-threatening,” Schaefer said.
For drama, nothing so far has beaten the experience of sewing up a high school soccer player’s eyebrow after he collided with another player at a match last October at Cleveland John Marshall High School.
“We put a drape over him on the sidelines and sewed him up,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer, a 1990 Midview graduate, studied medicine at The Ohio State University after getting his undergraduate degree at Case Western Reserve University. He then went on to a sub-specialty fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
He is married to Jill Durkee, a 1992 graduate of Midview High. The couple has two young daughters and live in Grafton.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.