Dennis Dodds: Brock Mealer as Metaphor for CFB Comeback Stories

Submitted by MGoShoe on August 7th, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Dennis Dodds has penned a story that features Brock Mealer's rehab under Mike Barwis and the Michigan S&C staff as metaphor for various college football comeback stories, including Michigan football itself.  The story also includes a section on Mark Moundros and Jon Bills and the accident that almost took their lives earlier this year.

Barwis made sure his project was serious. If he wanted to go for it, Barwis and Whiteman were going to torture him.

This comeback attempt wasn't going to be half-assed. This was going to be unprecedented stuff. The doctors were going to look like fools if Brock Mealer walked again, the docs outdone by strength coaches' regimen and will. Barwis prides himself on building the perfect beast. Never mind that West Virginia went to a couple of BCS bowls under his relentless direction -- the dude once owned two pet wolves.

Rodriguez threw in a carrot. Make it upright and walking by the Sept. 4 opener, he told Mealer, and you can lead the team onto the field before the Connecticut game. That was 10 months ago. "He hadn't even made it out of the wheelchair yet," Rodriguez said.

First there were, literally, baby steps as Brock inched his way across the turf at the indoor facility.

You decide.

While Barwis and Whiteman inspired Brock, Mealer could inspire the program further next month. Aided by canes, Mealer is on schedule to lead the Wolverines the 180 feet or so out of the tunnel, onto the field, under the "M Go Blue" banner to midfield for their 2010 season opener.

What started as a quest for Mealer is now a metaphor for the entire season. It is the year of the comeback in college football. Multiple teams, programs, leagues and careers are attempting to rise from the shadows this season.



August 7th, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

We can always count on you to post something that's not worthless Shoe! Great article, great kid. You can never go wrong with a story that mentions Barwis's wolves either.


August 7th, 2010 at 3:40 PM ^

I can't wait to see him lead the team onto the field. This story is 100 times better than Rudy. Truly inspiring and I may even have something "stuck in my eye" when this goal comes to fruition.


August 7th, 2010 at 4:08 PM ^

Great read, not just for the Mealer story, but in general. The Michigan season preview video embedded in that article is a joke though. The guy predicts 8-4 and says he doesn't know if that's enough for RR to keep his job. I personally would be over the moon about 8-4. Especially if we beat ND and MSU en route. He also says the D will be better "because they can't be any worse." Wow, deep insight there.


August 7th, 2010 at 5:48 PM ^

...story by Angelique:

Bills had a broken neck with fractures to the C3 and C4 vertebrae, and was transferred to U-M Hospital in Ann Arbor. He had neck surgery a few days later and is still wearing a halo, and he will continue to do so for the next four weeks. Kirk Moundros went through a few weeks of dizzy spells, but his brother said he is fully recovered.

"He's walking, moving," Moundros said of Bills. "He can probably run if he wanted to."

Moundros said he and Bills' older brother, Matt, spent every night the first week after surgery at the hospital with Bills. Moundros would sleep during the day while Bills' parents took the day shift at the hospital, and was available at night to help comfort his cousin.

"It's always nice to have family there in case he was scared or worried," Moundros said. "With that concussion, he was constantly having questions and was a little unsure of what was happening and why he was in the hospital."


August 7th, 2010 at 6:11 PM ^

Can't get enough of the Mealer story-- Elliot as well as Brock.

And can't help but comment on the article's metaphor:  "First there were, literally, baby steps as Brock inched his way across the turf at the indoor facility."  I'm looking forward to the not too distant future when the team's growth will force me to switch my Baby Shoe avatar to a size 13.

Mitch Cumstein

August 7th, 2010 at 7:01 PM ^

Can anybody with a medical background shed light into how he is able to walk?  I mean the doctors said 1% right?  Were they just basing that on the probability of someone putting in the work it would take to make it happen?  Also, I don't really get how physical therapy can fix the nervous system (which is what my impression was of what was damaged in the accident).

Either way, awesome story and truly and inspiration. I won't be at the game, so I just hope the coverage of this moment is captured by the network.

Zone Left

August 7th, 2010 at 7:20 PM ^

Gives some basics on spinal cord injuries.  I don't have the medical expertise or in-depth knowledge of his condition, but as I understand it, the basic idea is that the physical therapy along with medication helps to create new nerve pathways around the damaged nerves.  In some cases it can work given enough effort and in others, unfortunately, it never will.