Back in the Game–Just in Time for Friday Night Lights

By EJane Hughson Myers

Last year was one of the most challenging years my family has ever experienced, but let me back up.

We are the Myers family. My husband, Monty, and I are the proud parents of two children.  Ian, who is a senior in high school and Emily, is a sophomore at Texas A&M.  This story is about Ian.

Nearly four years ago, Ian started at St. Thomas High School.  During his freshman year, he discovered two passions – football and wrestling.  However, during wrestling season, he experienced his first injury.

Connecting Us to Experienced Care

Thanks to an affiliation with Memorial Hermann, St. Thomas’ head athletic trainer Chris “Doc” Valdez, L.A.T., who is employed by the health system, quickly identified that Ian needed a physician to look at his knee.  After consulting with an orthopedic surgeon and Ian undergoing an X-ray, it was determined that Ian wasn’t suffering from an overuse injury; he actually needed knee surgery to remove an osteochondroma (bone growth).

During 2016, his sophomore year, Ian experienced some back problems, so Doc directed us to UT Physicians spine specialist Dr. Mark Prasarn, M.D., who is affiliated with Memorial Hermann.  Following Dr. Prasarn’s recommendation of physical therapy, we chose a location close to home – Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation – Bellaire.  After much hard work, Ian was cleared to resume his athletic passions his sophomore year.

Through the process of managing Ian’s health, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Doc was not only Ian’s athletic trainer, but also our navigator.  He helped us every step of the way, from connecting us to the appropriate physicians, facilitating the initial appointments, and working with Ian post-rehab with the goal to get him back to his sports.

Coming Back After Harvey

Then, in August 2017, like many others in the Houston area, we were greatly impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Our home took on 29 inches of water, which left us overwhelmed and displaced.

Once again, I was surprised and grateful at the outpouring of support from the amazing community at St. Thomas.  Ian’s football coaches and fellow players showed up to help us muck out our home.  The experience solidified our love of St. Thomas and football.

Repairing Ian’s Torn Labrum

Ian’s junior year on the gridiron went well in spite of our circumstances, and wrestling started shortly thereafter.  However, during a wrestling tournament on Christmas Eve, Ian suffered another injury.  Without fail, Doc stepped in and connected us with Steven Flores, M.D., a UT Physicians orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute.  The imaging revealed a torn labrum, which Dr. Flores repaired a few weeks later.  Physical therapy followed.

For eight weeks, Ian worked with therapists Copa and Macy at Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation – Shepherd Square.  After each session, Ian came home stronger and more determined to join his teammates for his senior year.  Back to school also meant back to full practice – just in time.

Playing in Friday’s Big Game at Houston’s NRG Stadium

On August 31, Ian will fulfill his dream to return to football when St. Thomas takes on Strake Jesuit at NRG Stadium.  He will suit up, and as a result of his hard work and support from Doc, his physicians and therapists, play the sport he loves and hopefully beat the Crusaders.  Go Eagles!

To learn more about care for sports injuries, visit


  1. What an amazing story! I am proud to hear the Doc with Memorial Hermann was so supportive and accessible. He is a shinning star and we all need more individuals like him. Best wishes to your family.

  2. Thank you Chris for this successful story. Chris is just one example of our outreach athletic trainers working in our community helping to identify, and then navigate the care of these athletes. It is an great example of how our athletic trainers along with our physicians , imaging and therapist to return these athletes to back to their athletic endeavors. Thank to all involved with the care.

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