Jan 29, 2015
Quick Hits: An Off-Season for Giving

In our November issue of Training & Conditioning, Stephen King, Strength and Conditioning coach at Villanova University, wrote an article outlining the training protocol of Matt Szczur, a two-sport athlete in football and baseball. Szczur’s winter off-season will not include any rest, however, as he will donate his bone marrow to a one-year old girl.

Marrow Matters
As football ends, but before Szczur starts training for baseball, he will undergo the week-long process of donating bone marrow to a one-year-old girl who has juvenile leukemia. In early January, he will begin taking medication to increase blood-forming cells, and then donate stem cells through a procedure.

Szczur’s Sacrifice
Szczur learned that he won’t have to miss the team’s playoff game for the procedure, but he was willing to do so, if needed. When he first learned he was a donor match, he thought he would have to miss playing time because swelling of the spleen, bone aches, and nausea are side-effects of the procedure.

A Coach’s Cause
Szczur was hardly the first Villanova football player to volunteer to donate bone marrow. This has been a cause of Head Coach Andy Talley’s for years and he received the Philadelphia Sports Congress Community Service Award in 2008 for his work with the National Bone Marrow Donor Program.

Man of Many Trades
Losing Szczur for a game would have been no small matter, as he was named the Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Still Going Strong
Szczur and his Villanova teammates will play in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game on Friday. His 154 all-purpose yards in the semifinal against William & Mary (including a 62-yard touchdown run) helped the Wildcats eke out a 14-13 win.

Tailored Training
To see what Szczur’s training cycle looks like when it doesn’t feature a life-altering procedure, take a look at King’s article.

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