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 its
just the right environment. Everyone Ive 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 teams members were childhood soccer stars.
According to Mohamed, a couple of members on the team are playing the sport for
the first time.
Its 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: (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
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
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 its cold
outside and there isnt 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 dont 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. Its a very nice collection of
people. We have better relationships with each other, and at the same time
its fun and we get to be together. by Stacey L. Adams