For the past four seasons, Mikey Shuey has been on the Kettering Alter
sideline doing his part with the Knights football program as a student trainer.
But when Alter qualified for its ninth straight postseason last month looking to repeat as state champs, Shuey’s role changed dramatically.
KETTERING, Ohio – Kettering Alter is in the football
regional final game for the third time in four seasons and Mickey Shuey has been
along for the entire ride.
Only he hasn’t been sporting the Knights distinctive Brown
and Gold helmet and jersey.
For the past four seasons, Shuey has been on the Alter
sideline doing his part with the Knights as a student trainer. Whether he was
filling water bottles, bandaging injured players or keeping stats, Shuey
assisted the football team from the Division III state runner-up finish in 2006
through the Division IV state championship run last season.
He returned to that role for his senior year but following
Alter’s second straight unbeaten regular season a few weeks ago, the role Shuey
had played for the Knights through his high school career dramatically changed.
You see, Alter head coach Ed Domsitz invited Shuey to join
the team as a player through the postseason and for the past three weeks Shuey
has been suiting up for practice everyday and dressed for Alter’s playoff wins
over Plain City Jonathan Alder and Carlisle.
“It’s different. I was out here before as a trainer and
everything but this is a lot different experience,” Shuey said at Wednesday’s
practice sporting a gold No. 98 jersey. “You have to be prepared every single
day for practice. You have to be physically ready and mentally ready. Playing
now is a lot different because I get to be part of the team I always wanted to
be a part of.”
A team he couldn’t play for due to a particular medical condition.
Born without a thyroid gland, Shuey suffers from
Hypothyroidism where his body doesn’t produce the thyroid hormone. As a result,
he experiences exhaustion and has trouble with physical endurance and takes
medication daily to supplement the missing hormone.
“I wanted to play but I went to the doctor and he would not
sign off on my physical form so I was not able to play football,” Shuey said.
“That really upset me but I decided to take up training and work with the
football team as close as I could anyway.”
Domsitz encouraged Shuey to take up athletic training after
the physical and the rest, as they say, was history.
With Shuey on the verge of his fourth postseason as a
student trainer, Domsitz extended the bid to join the team as a player.
“We just thought it might be interesting for him. He could
get a little different flavor of what it is like to be looking at the game from
inside the helmet,” said Domsitz.
The Alter players have responded well, also, and have been
supportive of Shuey joining the team
“There is a genuine fondness for him and I think it is
reciprocal,” said Domsitz. “The way he feels about those kids is basically the
same way they feel about him. It is one of support and they see how genuine it
is and I think they have returned that.
“They do give each other hell sometimes,” he smiled, “and
the players may give him a little bit of a hard time sometimes but there is a
lot of respect there, too. If nothing else, for how dedicated he is and how much
he believes in the Brown and Gold.”
Shuey has reveled in the opportunity Domsitz has given him
and the experience of joining his friends on the grid-iron these last few weeks.
“It meant a lot. I always wanted to be a part of the team,”
he said. “I had (Domsitz) as a teacher for one semester and he has always been
there for me. He has always extended a helping hand when I needed it and this
was just another time he has helped me out a lot.
“He is one of those guys that doesn’t give up on someone
who has given up on themselves. I have never seen him do that with anybody, I
have never heard of him doing that with anybody and he certainly hasn’t done
that with me. He has been there every step of the way.”
But for as much as Shuey has enjoyed these last few weeks,
he said this will be his last week participating as a player should Alter defeat
Clarksville Clinton-Massie Saturday and advance to the state semifinals and
“I am still missing the training and I would like to finish
out my last two weeks as a trainer for Alter football,” he said. “I love the
team but I don’t want to feel like I have abandoned our trainers and I don’t
want to regret anything.
“I don’t regret joining the team these last three weeks.
They have been the best in my life. I just feel like I would get more out of
being a trainer the last two week of the season rather than a player because I
get to help make the dream come true, hopefully.”
Alter Athletic Trainer Angela Stahl is looking forward to
having him back.
“Mickey is one of those kids that is fun to have around and
he’s got such a great heart. I think having him suit up, you can tell he is
scared out of his mind but at the same time he is having a great time,” laughed
Stahl, who is in her first year at Alter.
“He is just one of those kids that is so dedicated to the
school. In the past, he hasn’t been able to be part of the team so he has found
other ways to take part. He is part of the team in his own way and the fact that
he has been able to play the past few weeks has been the highlight of his life.
It was one of his dreams, you might say.”
Stahl will have Shuey around again for basketball season as
he moves into his final season as Alter’s hoops trainer for head coach Joe
“I give him a hard time about all of his work with
‘Petro’,” Domsitz smiled. “I thought ‘Petro’ must have adopted him because
Mickey just follows him around everywhere. Mickey would dress in the tie and the
nice shirt before the basketball games and I used to give him hell about his
allegiance and loyalty to ‘Petro’.”
Petrocelli ranks No. 2 in all-time wins in the Ohio High
School Athletic Association record book with 772 just 13 wins behind Kalida head coach Dick Kortokrax.
“It has been fun giving him a hard time about ‘Petro’. I
tell him it is a good thing my sport plays in the fall because I wouldn’t be
able to compete with that ‘Petro’ person,” laughed Domsitz.
“The truth of the matter is Mickey is loyal to Alter, he is
a big Alter football and basketball supporter and is the same way with the kids
in other sports.”
Once his senior year comes to a close, Shuey hopes attend
the nearby University of Dayton but plans on still being involved at Alter.
“He is one of those kids who is just an ‘Alter Knight’,”
Domsitz said. “He has fit right in here since the beginning. The kids like him
and he is almost like a student legend. But we’re happy to have him out and it
is giving him a different perspective.”
And before he turns in his helmet and jersy after Saturday’s
game, he may just get to see some action now that he is eligible.
“He has been working out at wide receiver and we may get
him in a play or two,” Domsitz said. “We’ll see what happens down the road.”
But like he has done since stepping on campus his freshman
year, Shuey’s intentions are for the good of the Alter program over himself as
the Knights continue the quest for a second straight Division IV state
“I would love to get out there but if I don’t, oh well,” he
said. “I don’t want to live with regrets. I would rather see us win than see me