Rare disease helps Beverlin teach Wildcats value of never taking any opportunities for granted

Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel ran a great piece this morning about the life-threatening illness Bethune-Cookman Baseball Skipper Jason Beverlin battled in 2013.  His case is amazing, especially considering that he has no residual effects from the illness and is now back on the field for another season to lead the Wildcats.  I hope that you enjoy this piece.

Story by Shannon J. Owens
DAYTONA BEACH — He was fed up.

Bethune-Cookman baseball coach Jason Beverlin stopped practice when he saw the lackadaisical effort from his players a few weeks ago. He called them to attention and left them with a message.

“If today was your last day playing baseball, how would you want to remember it?”

Players knew just how personal that question was for Beverlin. Last spring, the 40-year-old coach was fighting for his life 100 miles away from Daytona at the burn unit of UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville. A severe allergic reaction to a prescription medicine caused his body to burn from the inside out.

There are moments when players forget about their coach’s harrowing experience, but there are moments that remind them they can’t take any opportunities for granted.

“You have no excuse to say anything now,” said Josh Johnson, a senior outfielder for B-CU.

Beverlin’s nightmare started with either a cut or a bug bite. He’s not sure what caused the initial wound or when it happened. All he remembers is that his right arm almost swelled to the size of his calf by the time the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament rolled around last May in Virginia. A team athletic trainer taped it so he couldn’t touch what appeared to be an infected wound.

He went to the emergency room at Halifax Health Center in Daytona shortly after the team returned May 20 and was treated for cellulitis, a common skin infection. His family doctor prescribed a medicine called bactrim and that’s when his severe problems started.

By May 31, he returned to the hospital with a rash he says felt like the worst sunburn of his life. Doctors temporarily took him off bactrim to try a new round of medicine. It seemed to work and they put him back on his original medication, unaware that he was allergic to it.

Day by day, his condition deteriorated. The rash returned with a vengeance, covering his entire body. He experienced flu-like symptoms and his skin started to blister and shed.

“It almost felt like the flu, but [also] being put in the oven,” Beverlin said.

His illness reached its apex on June 5 when he laid on his couch unable to move. A neighbor, who was checking in on him while his wife, Heather, was at work, took him back to the emergency room.

Doctors finally discovered what was wrong — toxic epidermal necrolysis. The medicine was poisoning his body.

Roughly one in 1.4 million people a year are treated for toxic epidermal necrolysis, making it difficult to get an early diagnosis. Typically, patients who can contract the disease can lose up to 30 percent of their skin and there is a 30 to 40 percent mortality rate. Beverlin was losing all of his skin and doctors were unable to treat him in Daytona.

“There’s a number of medications that have been tried with TENs and Stevens Johnson Syndrome,” said Dr. Winston Richards, a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Florida. “But as a whole, I don’t think the medical field has enough patients or experience, say in a randomized or controlled trial setting, to determine if they work any better than an offending medication and topically treating the wounds and keeping them clean.”

Family friends watched Beverlin’s two sons — Cole, 14, and Lucas, 9, — as his wife got devastating news from an emergency room nurse.

“She said you need to bring the boys up to say goodbye,” Beverlin’s wife said, her voice cracking. “It was tough.”

Read on: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/os-bethune-cookman-baseball-shannon-owens-20140211,0,6561692.column?page=1

Greg Taylor picked BCU over MEAC Brethren

DSC_0333RIVERDALE — Greg Taylor walked into the Riverdale High School media center on Wednesday morning with every intention of signing a letter-of-intent with Paine College in Augusta.

Then a call came to the coaches from Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central. All of a sudden, Taylor was thrust back into the recruiting process on a short notice.

With no visit to either school, the former Riverdale quarterback immediately took to the Internet to find as much information about the two NCAA Div. I Football Championship Subdivision schools that play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

After doing some brief research, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder decided to sign with Bethune-Cookman, the MEAC champions.

“I was definitely surprised when I found out this morning about those two offers,” Taylor said. “I just give the credit to the man above. Miracles do happen. It has truly been a blessing.”

Riverdale coaches frantically worked the phones and the Internet the last few weeks trying to land Taylor a bigger offer than Division II Paine.

It seemed to have paid off.

“I’m so excited about this for Greg, because he has worked so hard,” said Drew assistant principal William Silvera, a former counselor at Riverdale.

Taylor was having a breakout season before an ACL injury sidelined him for five games. He returned in the ninth game of the season with a heavily wrapped knee. Taylor passed for 1,093 yards and 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions. He had surgery on his knee in early December, and said the rehab is ahead of schedule.

“He essentially signed where he was supposed to be,” Silvera said. “Greg was the heart and soul of that Riverdale team.”

Continue reading here: http://www.news-daily.com/news/2014/feb/06/greg-taylor-picked-bethune-cookman-over-nc-central/?sports#

Wildcats ink 19 in 2014 Signing Class

Bethune-Cookman sign 19 on Wednesday’s national signing day.  Click link for full story.

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Trenton Bridges LB 6-2 220 DeLand, Fla./DeLand HS
Tysheem Bryant DL 6-4 245 Lake Worth, Fla./Lake Worth HS/Garden City CC
Khaleel Castillo DE 6-2 275 Bellaire, Texas/Bellaire HS/Eerie CC
Kendon Davis WR 6-3 180 Lauderhill, Fla./Plantation Senior HS
Tyler Gildner TE 6-5 265 Robbinsville, N.J./Robbinsville HS
Barry Johnson DL 6-3 265 Gainesville, Fla./Eastside HS
Derrick Johnson DL 6-6 310 Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast HS
Antonio Joseph DE/LB 6-5 195 Tampa, Fla./Wharton HS
Deonte Mayo SAF 6-2 207 Ocala, Fla./Forest HS
Alexander Morales OLB/SS 5-11 195 Miami, Fla./Hialeah HS
Gerald Nesbitt, Jr. DE/OT 6-3 250 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Ft. Lauderdale HS
Anton Paige DL 6-4 210 Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee HS
Cameron Rigby RB 5-9 175 Miramar, Fla./Miramar HS
Greg Taylor QB 6-3 210 Atlanta, Ga./Riverdale HS
Austin Walker ATH 6-3 180 Sarasota, Fla./Riverview HS
Broddrick Waters DB 5-11 175 Palmetto, Fla./Palmetto HS
Demetrius Weaver OL 6-3 275 Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanche Ely HS
Troy Wilkins II DL/OL 6-3 310 Miami, Fla./Northwestern HS
Milton Williams ATH 5-10 175 Sanford, Fla./Seminole HS

white helmet

Extremely UNofficial Football offers/commitments

Gold and Silver HelmetsWe spent hours scouring the Twitterverse, newspaper articles, sports blogs, and various social media outlets in attempts to gain a sneak peek at Bethune-Cookman’s potential 2014 football signing class.  Admittedly this method of research is highly unscientific and extremely speculative to say the least, nonetheless we expect BCU’s signing class to look something like the list below.

Bethune-Cookman University EXTREMELY Unofficial Football Offers/Commitments for 2014

Jaleel Awini QB Air Force Academy 6’3” 195
Trenton Bridges OLB Deland, Florida 6’2” 205
Khaleel Castillo DL Erie Community College 6’2” 275
Danny Dillard RB Venice, Florida Venice HS 6’2″ 205 *** (Miami FL)
Tyler Gildner TE Robbinsville, New Jersey Robbinsville HS 6’5″ 265
Antonio Joseph LB Tampa, Florida Wharton HS 6’4″ 207
Deonte Mayo LB Ocala, Florida Forest HS 6’2″ 207
Alexander Morales SS Hialeah, Florida  5’10” 171
Gerald Nesbitt OL Fort Lauderdale, Florida Fort Lauderdale HS 6’3″ 247
Ty Reyonlds WR Crystal River, Florida 6’0” 160
Cameron Rigby RB Miramar, Florida 5’8” 175 **
Jordan Roberts WR Zephyrhills, Florida 6’2” 185
Austin Walker DB Sarasota, Florida Riverview HS 6’4″ 195
Broddrick Waters DB Palmetto, Florida Palmetto HS 6’0″ 170
Ciavy Wiles WR Ellsworth Community College (Iowa Falls) 6’4” 220 ***
Troy Wilkins DT Miami Northwestern 6’2” 290
Milton Williams WR Sanford, Florida Seminole HS 5’9″ 160 **
Romia Wilson OL Northeast Mississippi Community College 6’2” 305

Even more unofficial than the list above

Austin Copeland
Demtris Weaver