Schafer’s injury a blow to Mellon |

Schafer’s injury a blow to Mellon

Michael Traum

David Schafer’s freshman indoor track season at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., was going pretty good.

The 1996 South Tahoe grad had become one of the team’s top sprinters, competing in the open 400, 4-by-400 relay, and other running events in the University Athletic Association League.

But a foot injury during the indoor league championships on March 27-28 has sidelined Schafer’s athletic endeavors for at least two weeks.

“I noticed he was limping after the championships. He said he had some pain up and under his heel,” said Mellon coach Gary Meckley. “That’s a red flag for me. We got to the doctor right away.”

The doctor confirmed Meckley’s concerns – Schafer was diagnosed with plantar fascitis in his left foot.

According to “Lifetime Fitness and Wellness,” published by William C. Brown, 1990, plantar fascitis is an inflammation of the “fascitis,” a tough band of tissue on the bottom of the foot. Symptoms include tenderness and/or pain near the heel. Typical causes are running on hard surfaces or uphill, running on toes, having an imbalance such as high arches or uneven leg lengths and having improper cushion. Treatments include workouts on light surfaces, bike riding, rest, icing and being fit with orthodics.

Schafer said that other than running on the tight-turned indoor tracks, his style hadn’t changed. But the doctor informed him that he had high arches and that one leg was longer than the other.

“It was nothing I actually did. The trainers said it was something that was bound to happen sooner or later,” Schafer said. “It’s not a season-ending thing. I’m doing the exercises and hope to get started again next week.”

The Mellon outdoor season begins the first week in April.

Meckley said that although he wants Schafer to return properly, he’s eager to continue the development of his fine freshman fast man.

“I was very happy to find out he was coming here. It was like a present. He’s one of the bright spots and harder workers on the team,” Meckley said. “I hope he doesn’t get discouraged by (the injury). He’s got some work to do. But I’m very satisfied with every aspect of coaching him.”

Once Schafer returns, he hopes to anchor the sprint teams with what Meckley calls, “above average speed, in the top 15 percent for the league.”

During the indoor season, the Mellon 4-by-400 relay’s best time was 3 minutes, 37 seconds (South Tahoe High won the zone last year with a 3:25). Schafer has also ran 37.8 in the open 300 and a 52.6 in the 400. Meckley said once in shape, Schafer will aim for running 50-second 400s consistently.

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