Upstate coach inspires his athletes by overcoming his own obstac - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate coach inspires his athletes by overcoming his own obstacles

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An Upstate lacrosse coach is making history in our area on the field, but it's what he is overcoming off the field that is inspiring his athletes.

Michael McCallan is the head boy’s lacrosse coach at Eastside High School.

His team made it to the Upper State Championship for the first time in program history last year, and through all of that, he's also been dealing with a brain tumor.  He was diagnosed with that in 2015.

“I was honestly terrified, because no one in my family had any medical history of having a brain tumor, so when you're 24 years old and hearing you have a brain tumor, you don't know how to wrap your head around it.”

But McCallan never let the serious diagnosis slow him down.  He left his home in Long Island, and took a job in Greenville as the head lacrosse coach for Eastside High School. 

He also ended up meeting and befriending Dr. Michael Bucci, the doctor who would perform his brain surgery last September.

McCallan said, “What are the odds that this guy was a goalie, he was a lacrosse coach and he was a neurosurgeon, which is like the trifecta for me and that dinner alone sealed by fate coming to Greenville.”

Luckily, Dr. Bucci was able to remove the entire tumor, and it was also discovered to be benign.  Dr. Bucci tells us, McCallan has come a long way on the road to recovery.

“He'll be followed every 6 to twelve months with an MRI scan of the brain just to make sure the tumor does not come back, but fortunately he had a good outcome and he's done well.”

McCallan is now keeping his focus on recovering, and his job as a coach.  Because he knows his athletes, are learning something from his struggles.

“I had a couple come up to me and say, Coach, seeing you go through brain surgery, going what you went through, it helped a lot of them personally and individually and I’m there to be a role model, to coach and teach.”

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