Calusha" Hospitalized Again.... Football Injury Results in Bone Infection

by Janice Seitzinger

A dynamic young player came upon the San Pedro semi-pro football scene a couple of seasons ago. His name was Mario Sikonga, better known as "Calusha", and he quickly became the strength of the forward - the best goal getter for two seasons. But in the beginning of the last half of his second season tragedy struck on the playing field. It happened during a game against Juventes in Orange Walk. Mario was in the inside area and had an opportunity to score, when an opposing player kicked him, breaking his leg. He suffered a compound fracture to the two bones of his lower leg.

He was taken to Belize City where he underwent surgery to open his leg and a steel plate was inserted with screws to help repair the bone. When Mario was released from the hospital, he returned to San Pedro where he was cared for is the home of Jenny and Oscar Pinelo, who is also a player on the San Pedro team. His recovery was difficult and slow as the muscles in the once strong leg had become very weak. He received physical therapy and after several months, with a lot of work and persistence he began to walk again with a slight limp. He began getting around by bicycle which further strengthened his muscles.

Mario had the potential to become a great football player, but with this injury all hopes for playing anytime in the next couple years were dashed. According to team captain Raul "Coco" Gonzales if he wouldn't have gotten injured, San Pedro would have definitely gone to the finals last year. Coco, other players, and friends have described Mario as-"very friendly... humble... very respectful of everyone... always tried to help other players...loved children... respectful to women... humble about his great playing skills...etc.!" So all in all he was well liked not only for his athletic abilities, but for his personality as well.

Mario came from the country of Angola in Africa to the peaceful country of Belize. In his homeland there has been a bloody civil war going on for over 30 years! All the youths must fight and many thousands have died. The 23 year old has not seen his family in almost ten years.

And now another devastating blow - he learned several weeks ago that an infection had set in in the leg that was broken. It is a serious infection to the bone. The leg will have to be re-opened, the plate removed, the bone scraped, and he will need to receive intervenious antibiotics for several weeks. He has gone to Guatemala where he is awaiting this surgery and he will have to begin the whole recovery process over again! To make matters worse he has no funds or medical insurance and the medical expenses will be very high. The Sports Committee has helped as it can,but their funds are limited and he needs much more support.

To the people, fans, and friends of San Pedro's sports teams - here is a young man, who while playing hard for your team, has had his life turned upside down. If you can help with his medical expenses - even in a small way, or if you would like to send him a note to cheer him up please contact: The San Pedro Sun 011-501-26-2070 or email [email protected].

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