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Evan Mundine, Soccer

by carmine on January 24, 2013

Evan Mundine
Bastrop, Texas

My name Is Evan, I’m 15 years old now and I live in Texas. The last five years have been pretty tough for me. It all started the week before my 10th birthday.  I was, and hopefully will be again, a soccer player and at my soccer scrimmage my left leg was broken. It was a bad injury and I knew as soon as it happened. My mom took me straight to the hospital where it was confirmed I had a spiral displaced compound fracture, which is almost as bad as it can be for breaks. I ended up in a full leg cast for a few weeks while we prayed it would heal without surgery. It didn’t heal though and it just hurt more and more as time went by. Finally we found a new doctor who said there was no question I needed surgery right away so I had my first surgery. I was put in an external fixature with four rods in my leg. That was really painful and it was worse when I got infection around the incisions where the rods went into my leg. I had to have the fixature for four months. The worst part was that I ended up in a wheelchair for many months and it was almost a year later when I finally was walking again without a walker. I started to get afraid. I especially would be scared at night. I’d worry what if our house caught on fire or something bad happened.  All I could do was pray. I’d pray for courage and pray for strength. I never got angry at God. It seemed silly to get mad since God was my hope and my life. But I did get scared. I feared I’d never walk again but I did eventually.  I had to have more surgeries over the next year and a half but I was finally on the road to recovery. It wasn’t easy. I struggled in rehab and I had complications but I just kept focused on the Lord and trusted that He would see me through. I remember my first steps and I remember when I could finally jog and then run. It took a lot of work and it was very painful but the Lord got me through. 

I was back to playing after 2 years and I thought I was finally healthy again but then I noticed something happening with my chest. I didn’t want to tell my parents at first but when I started having trouble breathing I knew I needed to tell them something was going on. We realized my ribcage was growing crooked and a doctor diagnosed me with a mix of Pectus Carinatum-Excavatum. This was one week after my 13th birthday. I realized even though I had made my plans for my life that it was out of my control again.  I had a choice how to handle this. I could get mad and blame God and everyone else too or I could trust that God would once again help me through this challenge. I knew God didn’t cause this so it was easy to trust in Him.  I ended up needing full open chest surgery where my sternum was split, lower 7 ribs on each side cut and repaired with two titanium plates and 14 screws. Once again I thought I had won the battle but two months after my surgery a plate broke loose. So I was back in the hospital with another surgery. Then after my 14th birthday we were told my sternum never fused completely and that I needed the entire surgery redone. I was very scared. I knew the pain I was facing and I just couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. Prayer is what helped me face things though. My prayers, prayers from friends and even prayers from strangers gave me strength. The thing is when the surgeon opened my chest he saw that my sternum was fused! We had prayed and prayed and God answered our prayers. My surgeon told my parents it was a miracle. I still needed repairs but it wasn’t as bad as the MRI scan had showed and I was finally healing properly.  After a year of pain and 3 surgeries I again felt I’d won my battle and I knew it was God who got me through. 

 I returned to playing soccer a few months later and was finally feeling like my life was back on track. Then two weeks later I fractured my right leg in another soccer game. This time it was a simple fracture and I was set to be out of a walking cast in 6 to 8 weeks. Finally I had something normal with no complications! I followed the doctor’s instruction and was free to resume training a few weeks later.  That didn’t happen though. Something else had been happening that I was hoping would go away. I had started to bleed when I went to the rest room. The 3rd week of May just one week after getting out of my cast I woke up very sick and I was bleeding badly. As much as I wanted to be healthy and just playing soccer, I found myself back in the hospital.  After a couple of weeks I knew what I was facing. I had Crohn’s Disease. By July they confirmed I had Refractory Crohn’s. That means non-responsive to medicine. The doctors have put me on all kinds of medicines and so far I’m still cramping and bleeding every day. There’s no cure for Crohn’s Disease. In a week I’ll head to see specialist across the country to see what they can do for me. I’m facing bowel resection surgery. It’s not how I planned my life. In some ways I think I’ve been through a lot but you know I’m stronger because of it. The Lord has been my security and my best friend.  For whatever reason God has chosen me for this battle and even though it’s scary knowing I’m battling to keep my intestines, I’m also at peace. I believe that somehow this is meant for good and not bad. The pain I have to live with, the bleeding and all that goes with this hasn’t done anything but make me stronger in my love of our Lord. I’m doing my best to accept all this without doubting that God loves me. I know I’m not being punished and I know that one way or another I will be alright. 

 In my years of playing soccer I also went to MLS, USL, NASL and college games. I have met and become friends with so many pro players. I was baptized by a Houston Dynamo player. His name is Eddie Robinson and he is one of my mentors. He lives for our Lord and let’s everyone know that. Clarence Goodson, who plays for the US National team is like my mentor. He prays with me and for me and is always there to listen to me. I found Danny O’Rourke who has been a true support for me because we’ve battled injury and surgery together. We’ve shared scripture and just keep each other on track.  I found Brian Farber who is my brother, maybe not by blood, but through life. He’s been with me from my first injury. He listens to me, encourages me and never lets me doubt my future. I love them all so much and I feel very blessed they want to be in my life. There are others too that have helped me at different times. I feel like God brought what I call my found in life family to me at certain stages to get me through my battles. I’m stronger because of what I’ve gone through and I’ve had some great times too.  I don’t know who will read this but I just wanted to let you know to never lose hope. We can’t always choose our life paths but we can choose the way we accept challenges. With the Lord by my side I know I will never face anything that I can’t handle. Just remember you are never alone! 

“Hope is wishing something would happen. Faith is believing something will happen. Courage is making something happen.” 

 “Triumphs without difficulties are empty. Indeed; it is difficulties that make the triumph. It is no feat to travel the smooth road.” 

 “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” 

 “You gotta dream like you’ve never seen obstacles.”



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