MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Myron Cope once wrote a famous parity for Sports Illustrated about Roberto Clemente’s real and imagined injuries. Cope went from head to toe analyzing each Clemente ailment as the Hall of Fame rightfielder could remember them, even illustrating them in a diagram.
Today, Cope could do the same story on West Virginia University quarterback Adam Bednarik, who’s considering taking up permanent residence in the Milan Puskar Center training room.
Trainer Dave Kerns’ most frequent visitor spends about two hours a day getting his aching body worked over. “I’m in there at 6:30 in the morning for about an hour and right before practice I come in and that’s another 45 minutes. After practice I’m in there for another 45 minutes to an hour,” Bednarik says.
Treatments started even before the season when he was still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. Therapy hasn’t let up since.
“It seems like every week I’ve got a new injury. I’m in the treatment room every day and it’s been going on since last December,” Bednarik says.
Evel Knievel hasn’t been injured this many times. His charts are dollied in. So far Bednarik has injured both shoulders, suffered a slight concussion, been poked in the eye and is currently nursing a sprained right foot. That’s what he can remember.
Some have suggested that Bednarik become more conservative on the field and not take on linebackers head on when he’s scrambling for extra yardage. Slide or run out of bounds and live another day. But Bednarik says he’s not wired that way. Besides, most of the things that have happened to him aren’t because of head-on collisions with linebackers or strong safeties. They are the peculiar and freakish things that kind of make you want to think twice about hanging out him too long because you might get hurt, too.
“The East Carolina game I get pushed out of bounds and I happen to land on my shoulder wrong,” he said. “The last game my foot just got caught the wrong way when I got tackled on a blitz.”
Probably the most freakish injury came in the Maryland game when he got smashed from behind by his own teammate. Offensive guard Jeremy Sheffey was trying to get a block for Bednarik down field and accidentally plowed him over.
“We’re going to have to keep our guys off Adam,” Rodriguez said after the game.
Bednarik, wearing a protective boot on his right foot, probably wouldn’t have played this weekend at South Florida. Having the week off has been a blessing for him.
“Everybody every week is getting sore,” Bednarik said. “We’ve really been going non-stop since the end of May and we haven’t had a bye week yet. It does take a toll on your body and some of our guys will now get a little bit of rest.”
Bednarik admits he’s yet to play a game at 100 percent and that includes the opener at Syracuse.
“I was telling someone on our strength staff the other day that I don’t think I’ve played one game this year fully healthy,” he said. “The Syracuse game that was probably the healthiest I’ve been and even in that game going in I don’t think I was 100 percent. I’m still waiting to play my first game at 100 percent.”
In the meantime, Bednarik, packed from shoulder to ankle with ice, will continue to get his treatments in the training room – a place he’s become more familiar with than even his own apartment.
“I pretty much know everything about that place now,” he said.
# The cancellation of West Virginia’s game at South Florida becomes the second football game to be postponed in four years. In 2001, West Virginia’s game at Maryland was pushed back a couple of weeks due to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
# West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said earlier this week that he is ready to start giving sophomore Brandon Barrett some work at slot receiver. Barrett sat out last year to concentrate on academics after having an All-American year at Martinsburg High School as a prep senior in 2003.
# No definitive time has been set for West Virginia’s rescheduled game against South Florida on Dec. 3, but if you remember last year when Pitt and South Florida had to reschedule its game in December the contest was picked up by ESPN2.
# So much for those that say Rich Rodriguez doesn’t spread the football around. In addition to throwing to the tight ends and fullbacks, Rodriguez’ quarterbacks have also completed passes to the left guard and themselves. Guard Ryan Stancheck and quarterback Adam Bednarik are tied for 13th on the team with one catch each.
# Instead of having 11 days to get ready for Connecticut at Milan Puskar Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Mountaineers will now have 18 days between games due to Hurricane Wilma.