Sportsmanship is about more than just shaking hands with an opponent after a hard-fought game.
It’s what Dave Clawson did last week.
With Syracuse defensive back Tyrone Perkins still in Winston-Salem after undergoing surgery for a serious leg injury suffered in the Nov. 3 game at Wake Forest and his own coach unable to check up on him, the Deacons’ coach took it upon himself to fill in and visit the young player at Wake’s Baptist Medical Center.
It was an act of sportsmanship praised by Syracuse’s Dino Babers last Wednesday during the ACC’s weekly coaches teleconference.
“I got a picture from Tyrone yesterday with Dave Clawson visiting him in the hospital,” Babers said. “I just want to say publicly that I really do appreciate Dave doing that. That was something that was very gracious on his end.
“All of us know how important our time is as a head coach, especially to our own programs. For him to go out and visit one of my guys in the local hospital is something I’ll never forget, something that I’ll always appreciate.”
Perkins, a 6-foot, 206-pound senior, was injured while covering a punt during the first quarter of the Orange’s 41-24 victory at BB&T Field.
His left leg was immobilized on the field before he was taken by cart to the locker room. He eventually underwent surgery to repair a dislocated knee and restore the blood flow to his lower leg and was admitted to the intensive care unit at Baptist Medical Center.
Perkins was able to return to Syracuse in time to be honored during last week’s Senior Day win over Louisville.
Clawson said he knew Perkins’ injury was serious and wanted to visit him sooner but couldn’t while he was still in ICU. He ended up visiting the Syracuse player last Wednesday before the Deacons left for Raleigh to prepare for the team’s Thursday night game at NC State.
“You go down your senior year to play a football game and you’re playing and next thing you know you’re in a hospital in a strange town and your teammates and your coaches aren’t there,” Clawson said. “We had a player last year that had a similar injury and I know how tough it is.
“I just wanted to go over and let him know that
people here that care about him. It’s part of football, but it’s hard to ever see a young man suffer that type of injury and then not be able to be with his teammates for a couple of days.”
Clawson called Perkins “a great young man” who has “a really positive attitude” despite the circumstances.
While others, including Babers, are characterizing Clawson’s act of compassion as something special, the Wake coach downplayed it by saying he was simply doing what coaches are supposed to do in these situations.
“Knock on wood here, I think I’ve only had that happen once before that a player got that hurt that he (was not) able to come back with the team,” Clawson said. “So it’s not something that happens very often. I’m sure knowing the coaches in the ACC that if that happened to one of our players, I have no doubt that any one of the other 13 coaches would go in there and check up on our player. I have no doubt that that would happen with the other coaches in this league.”