It has been a long road on the way to recovery for the Houston Dynamo’s Calen Carr.
After suffering a concussion in preseason, the speedy forward has experienced what can be termed as an uphill battle toward recovery. Nearly five months after suffering the injury, Carr is hoping the finish line is near.
“I’m starting to get more involved in training sessions,” Carr told MLSsoccer.com. “We’re working on some headers so I can get used to heading the ball again, and so far, so good. Everything’s moving forward, and I hope to be training without restrictions in the near future.”
It was a routine header off Carr’s temple that caused his injury. The repercussions, however, were anything but routine and have kept him out of action all season.
Now with the help of some protective tools, Carr is working his way back on the field. Using custom-tinted contact lenses that decrease glare is one tool; another is a padded helmet — similar to the one used by Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Cech and New England midfielder Pat Phelan — to minimize the impact to his head.
Carr has increased his involvement in training over the last month. The forward is participating in both non-contact drills and team training. When playing in team training, the forward wears a different colored training bib as a precaution.
“It’s like the quarterback and the red shirt,” Carr said. “I haven’t gotten used to fully heading the ball, and when you go full contact you run the risk of bumping heads. But the training and coaching staff has done a good job helping me take the next few steps.”
Being back on the field with his new team has increased Carr’s desire to get back to full health. He has been with Houston since March 23, when he was acquired from Chicago for Dominic Oduro. Needless to say, being relegated to watching his current club has been frustrating.
“He’s done well to get back on the field,” said Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear. “Now it’s the point of him feeling OK heading the ball. But he’s frustrated, and we’re frustrated because we know he can help.”
Carr’s recent progress provides hope that a chance to help the club is not far away.
“We’ve never really had [a timeline], unfortunately, but I’ve been able to get involved in more things at practice, and hopefully I’ll be able to go full-out soon,” Carr said. “I give the training and coaching staff a lot of credit for giving me everything I need to be healthy. I’m just trying to do everything I can to repay their faith and help out down the stretch.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.