The Comeback Kid
Soccer wiz Mohammed Ahamed plays for keeps.
Good things come to those who wait. And doesn't Mohammed Ahamed '10 (Ghana) know it?
Senior midfielder on the Nazareth men's soccer team, All-American defender, and the Empire 8 Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2006, Mohammed helped the team to the finest season in the program's 30-year history in 2006 as Nazareth finished with a 15-5-3 record and advanced to the national quarterfinals.
"After every game we played, the opposing coach would remark about his composure," said coach Danny Gilbertson. "He was always cutting off a pass, defending a set play, or making a tackle that would save a goal."
AN EXERCISE IN PATIENCE
Mohammed's world came crashing down the following summer. Playing with a Western New York all-star team, Mohammed tore his ACL and had an osteochondral defect, a hole in the cartilage that had worn through down to the bone. His 2007 season was over before it ever began.
Without health insurance, Mohammed waited seven months before he was approved for a complex micro-fracture surgery, and the knee continued to deteriorate in the process. "I was told that if I had walked around on it for another month, I wouldn't have been able to play again," he said.
In August 2008, after two operations and an intense rehabilitation program, Mohammed, with a cumbersome brace surrounding his knee, was cleared to play again. The Golden Flyers finished the 2008 season with a 7-8-2 overall record.
"For a lot of people, it's a career-ending injury," said Mike Fahy, assistant athletic trainer. "Doctors often tell their athletes to never run again, let alone participate in a sport. It was his dedication and work ethic that made the difference."
In 2009, Ahamed was able to discard his knee brace and return to the fearless style that endeared him to teammates and opponents alike.
"I've grown up a lot during my time at Nazareth," said Mohammed. "I try to smile when things get tough. I try to be more patient."
Mohammed is set to graduate in May with degrees in business administration and accounting and hopes to continue playing soccer with the dream of competing for the national team in Ghana.