Mar 3, 2015
Coin For a Comeback

For most New York Mets players who return from major injuries, the rewards of hard work and countless hours of rehab eventually show themselves on the diamond—and for some, in their pocket. As a token of his appreciation for their hard work, and to comemmorate their commitment and effort in overcoming serious injury, Dave Pearson, a physical therapist and athletic trainer who is the Mets’ minor league rehabilitation coordinator, has been handing out small coins that reference the players’ time working with his rehab team in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

According to The New York Times:

One side of the coin reads: “Every winner has scars,” while the other side has a picture of Mr. Met in sunglasses standing next to a palm tree. To receive the coin, a player’s injury must be significant and keep him out for an extended period of time. The player must also put forth genuine effort during his time with Pearson.

For Pearson, the mementos serve as a motivational tool and a reminder of their hard work that they can look back on in later years and appreciate. He said the idea for the coin came from his strength and conditioning colleagues, who hand out commemorative T-shirts every year.

Pearson told the Times he wanted something similar for the rehab program, but figured, “Nobody wants to wear a shirt that says ‘rehab.’”

Then Pearson thought back to his time before working with the team and recalled a coin he had received as a gift from a patient who had served in the military. As a token of his gratitude, the patient presented Pearson with a challenge coin from the unit he belonged to.

To decide who is and isn’t coin-worthy, Pearson and Jon Debus, the team’s minor league pitching rehabilitation coordinator, sit down and evaluate each player toward the end of his rehabilitation stint.

“If you’re the one that’s going out all night and getting sloshed and showing up late, being a bad influence, that’s not going to get you a coin,” Pearson told The Times.

One high profile Met who recently earned a coin is starting pitcher Matt Harvey, who spent many months with Pearson and Debus rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

“He did everything,” Debus said. “He met every date, every milestone, every time. There was never a day where I had to go out there and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get after this.’ It was, ‘Whoa, hey, take it easy there.’ ”

In The Times story, Harvey smiled as he looked his coin over and said he “might use it as a golf-ball marker.” He also showed it to Mets’ Manager Terry Collins, who noted that in the military, when someone puts their challenge coin on a bar, tradition calls for the other person to produce a coin of their own, and failure to do so results in buying a round of drinks.

Said Collins: “Maybe we’ve started something.”

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