Off the Chart

The Underdocs: making assists both on and off the playing field

This diverse group of medical professionals has a passion for fun, exercise and camaraderie.

Oncologists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and nurses at the Moses Cone Regional Cancer Center are enjoying the opportunity to feel like kids again — they are playing soccer.

As a boy growing up in Egypt, Mohamed K. Mohamed, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, was constantly playing soccer with friends and classmates. After completing high school, Mohamed chose medicine over a professional soccer gig because, according to him, the sport was always a hobby and medicine was a career. Now, no matter which city his career lands him in, he finds medical professionals with the same interest in the sport.

“When I moved back to Greensboro, North Carolina, I found it’s just the right environment. Everyone I’ve spoken to here is very interested in soccer, and there is a beautiful soccer complex here in the city,” he told HemOnc Today.

Two years ago, Mohamed found colleagues at the hospital who played soccer as kids and needed some organizing to form a team. Mohamed took on the task, and today the Underdocs play indoor soccer in a diversified adult league.

However, not all of the team’s members were childhood soccer stars. According to Mohamed, a couple of members on the team are playing the sport for the first time.

“It’s very interesting that one or two of the players that joined the team had never played soccer before. They started experimenting with us and became some of the few people who are the first in line every time we register the team,” he said. “They love it.”

Lew Iacovelli, PharmD, oncology pharmacy manager and Underdocs team member is just one of those folks. He grew up in an inner city and stuck mainly to playing baseball, basketball and football. Until his two daughters began playing soccer at the age of five, the sport did not interest him much.

The Underdocs
The Underdocs: (front row, left to right) Amy Wyscarver, pharmaceutical rep, Donnica Harris, oncology nurse, Allison Harding, pharmaceutical rep; (back row, left to right) Adam Peele, oncology pharmacy resident, Alexander Peabody, teacher, Mohamed Mohamed, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, Christine Scherer, physician assistant, Lew Iacovelli, oncology pharmacy director.

Source: M Mohamed

“Watching the kids play turned into helping the coaches, which turned into assistant coaching and so on. When I heard that Dr. Mohamed was playing in an indoor soccer league, I gave him flak for not asking me to play, so he invited me to play goalie,” he said.

Iacovelli turned out to be pretty good at the sport and has been part of the team ever since.

The 10-person co-ed team is diverse, to say the least. It is comprised of two medical oncologists (including Mohamed), one pathologist, the pharmacy director for the cancer center (Iacovelli) and a few pharmacists and oncology nurses. Some of the pharmaceutical representatives were also attracted to the team, so the Underdocs took them in.

“The league has everything from accountants to Indian chiefs; there is a huge diversity of folks who play,” Iacovelli told HemOnc Today.

The team plays in the winter and summer leagues at a covered complex with air conditioning. They sport uniforms similar to those worn by the professional Barcelona Soccer Club, a gift Mohamed brought back from Egypt for the team.

“We get our best turnout for the winter league because it’s cold outside and there isn’t much to do. We entered the summer league this past June but with vacations, nice weather, etc., we had trouble getting folks together to play,” Iacovelli said.

Though the team is serious about soccer, they play in the league for the fun and camaraderie of it all — and, of course, the exercise.

“We don’t practice before games; we talk all day at work then we show up and try not to get hurt,” Iacovelli said. “We win our share of games, but we also lose our share of games. The main thing is that we get together, get some exercise and have fun.”

According to Mohamed, the relationship between the members of the team is more of a friendship, as opposed to just a work relationship, which brings them closer together without any barriers. “It’s a very nice collection of people. We have better relationships with each other, and at the same time it’s fun and we get to be together.” – by Stacey L. Adams

Oncologists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and nurses at the Moses Cone Regional Cancer Center are enjoying the opportunity to feel like kids again — they are playing soccer.

As a boy growing up in Egypt, Mohamed K. Mohamed, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, was constantly playing soccer with friends and classmates. After completing high school, Mohamed chose medicine over a professional soccer gig because, according to him, the sport was always a hobby and medicine was a career. Now, no matter which city his career lands him in, he finds medical professionals with the same interest in the sport.

“When I moved back to Greensboro, North Carolina, I found it’s just the right environment. Everyone I’ve spoken to here is very interested in soccer, and there is a beautiful soccer complex here in the city,” he told HemOnc Today.

Two years ago, Mohamed found colleagues at the hospital who played soccer as kids and needed some organizing to form a team. Mohamed took on the task, and today the Underdocs play indoor soccer in a diversified adult league.

However, not all of the team’s members were childhood soccer stars. According to Mohamed, a couple of members on the team are playing the sport for the first time.

“It’s very interesting that one or two of the players that joined the team had never played soccer before. They started experimenting with us and became some of the few people who are the first in line every time we register the team,” he said. “They love it.”

Lew Iacovelli, PharmD, oncology pharmacy manager and Underdocs team member is just one of those folks. He grew up in an inner city and stuck mainly to playing baseball, basketball and football. Until his two daughters began playing soccer at the age of five, the sport did not interest him much.

The Underdocs
The Underdocs: (front row, left to right) Amy Wyscarver, pharmaceutical rep, Donnica Harris, oncology nurse, Allison Harding, pharmaceutical rep; (back row, left to right) Adam Peele, oncology pharmacy resident, Alexander Peabody, teacher, Mohamed Mohamed, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, Christine Scherer, physician assistant, Lew Iacovelli, oncology pharmacy director.

Source: M Mohamed

“Watching the kids play turned into helping the coaches, which turned into assistant coaching and so on. When I heard that Dr. Mohamed was playing in an indoor soccer league, I gave him flak for not asking me to play, so he invited me to play goalie,” he said.

Iacovelli turned out to be pretty good at the sport and has been part of the team ever since.

The 10-person co-ed team is diverse, to say the least. It is comprised of two medical oncologists (including Mohamed), one pathologist, the pharmacy director for the cancer center (Iacovelli) and a few pharmacists and oncology nurses. Some of the pharmaceutical representatives were also attracted to the team, so the Underdocs took them in.

“The league has everything from accountants to Indian chiefs; there is a huge diversity of folks who play,” Iacovelli told HemOnc Today.

The team plays in the winter and summer leagues at a covered complex with air conditioning. They sport uniforms similar to those worn by the professional Barcelona Soccer Club, a gift Mohamed brought back from Egypt for the team.

“We get our best turnout for the winter league because it’s cold outside and there isn’t much to do. We entered the summer league this past June but with vacations, nice weather, etc., we had trouble getting folks together to play,” Iacovelli said.

Though the team is serious about soccer, they play in the league for the fun and camaraderie of it all — and, of course, the exercise.

“We don’t practice before games; we talk all day at work then we show up and try not to get hurt,” Iacovelli said. “We win our share of games, but we also lose our share of games. The main thing is that we get together, get some exercise and have fun.”

According to Mohamed, the relationship between the members of the team is more of a friendship, as opposed to just a work relationship, which brings them closer together without any barriers. “It’s a very nice collection of people. We have better relationships with each other, and at the same time it’s fun and we get to be together.” – by Stacey L. Adams