Benefit Saturday for baseball standout

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A benefit will be held for former Fort Dale Academy standout Skylar McKeown Saturday. The benefit will help raise money for McKeown to have plasma-rich protein injections in order to treat a partial tear in his UCL. (File Photo)

A sizeable portion of the Greenville community has proven that there truly is no greater commandment than loving one’s neighbor as oneself.

What began as a small fundraiser for local baseball standout Skylar McKeown has grown into a full-fledged benefit program, fueled entirely by community effort.

Trouble began for the Fort Dale Academy pitcher when he began to complain of a sore arm four games into the season.

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Dana Casey, McKeown’s mother, said that the injury was something that needed to be addressed immediately.

“We went to a therapist and he took a break from pitching,” Casey said. “His arm felt better after some rest and therapy, and he later continued to pitch throughout his senior year.”

Soon afterward, McKeown started playing travel ball with Butler County, and the soreness got worse.

“Every game, his arm took longer to get over the soreness,” Casey said. “We took him to the Andrews Institute because therapy and rest didn’t get it.”

The Andrews Institute for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is one of the largest facilities dedicated to assisting athletes in the nation, and it was discovered here that McKeown had a partial tear in his UCL, a ligament near the elbow.

The doctors recommended a plasma-rich protein (PRP) injection, a costly procedure that extracts plasma from the patient’s blood and injects it into areas of ligament strain to expedite the natural healing process.

McKeown needed the procedure to act quickly.

“He needed this procedure as soon as possible because he would’ve lost his full scholarship to Central Alabama Community College,” Casey said.

McKeown went through with the PRP injection in June but, unfortunately, their insurance would not cover such a procedure because it was not guaranteed to help repair the damaged UCL.

Casey then decided to think of ways to raise the money for the procedure. Luckily, she had some help along the way.

“We just had a group of friends brainstorming when I said let’s do a trail ride,” Casey said. “My husband trained horses for a living, and that’s his full-time job.”

It was then that Casey was bombarded with ideas and volunteers.

“We started thinking about what we could do to make this fun when someone added a yard sale to the trail ride,” Casey said. “I’ve got a friend who’s an auctioneer, and I said why not?  We’ll have an auction, too.”

A short while later, the benefit program’s list of features grew to include barbecue plates, pony rides, colt-breaking and roping demonstrations, slip-and-slides and horse-drawn wagon rides for all ages.

“Local Greenville youth are volunteering to play some music, so we decided to have a barn dance as well,” Casey said. “These kids were even gracious enough to come down and help set up equipment for the auction. We are totally indebted to them.”

The family has also received support from several local businesses, including Georgiana’s Food Giant and Greenville’s Walmart, Super Foods and Piggly Wiggly.

The festivities begin Saturday at 8 a.m. at the large barn on 658 Shows Rd. in the Starlington Community.  For more information, contact Brian Jones at (334) 437-3897.