"Calusha" needs help - surgery successful, rehab expensive

Mario "Calusha" Sikonga is recovering from surgery performed in Guatemala City to remove steel plates from his leg. His leg was seriously infected and did not respond to medical treatment in Belize. The plates were placed in his leg to stabilize the bones following an injury he received last season in a football game against Juventus in Orange Walk. Calusha was one of the San Pedro Football Club's best strikers.

This past weekend, Fabio and Ricardo Medrano, two football players from Guatemala City, and friends of Calusha, visited San Pedro. In an interview with the Sun, Fabio said that they had met Calusha when he arrived in Guatemala and took him to the doctors. He said that Calusha's problem (the infection) was due to the metal used in the surgery that was performed in Belize. Now, after the latest surgery, Calusha can move himself around, but the incision is large and infected. Fabio said they took Calusha to the physical therapist to try to begin rehabilitation as the injured leg is now shorter than his other leg. (The muscles have atrophied (shrunk) since he has been unable to use the leg.) The therapist (the same therapist their team uses) said he could not treat his leg until the infection was gone.

Xrays and tests have been taken on the bones and it appears that the bones are not infected, however, Calusha will require another month of antibiotic treatment and good nutrition to heal the infection. Currently he is staying in a modest room and is helped by the Guatemalan players.

Ricardo Medrano was very emotional about Calusha's condition. He said, "We are helping him all we can. He needs to stay here and be near the doctor to get antibiotics and physical therapy. It is sad that he played for the people of San Pedro and the football club and they have abandoned him." Fabio and Medrano said that Calusha is in good spirits and that the doctors have said that if he gets the treatments he needs it is possible that in six months, with special shoes ( one with a lift for the shorter leg) he may be able to play football again.

Fabio and Medrano said Calusha will need $400 U.S. for antibiotic treatment, food and lodging. The San Pedro Dolphin's coach Palmero Salas has been wiring the donations received to Calusha. If you can help please contact Salas or the Sun. Calusha's address in Guatemala City is:

Mario "Calusha" Sikonga, Pension Mesa, 10 Ave. and 10 Calle, Guatemala City, Zona 1. Telephone 23-23-177.

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