|Gallatin football will be without Carnes for 2012|
|Tuesday, July 31, 2012|
Clay Carnes, Gallatin’s starting quarterback from last season, will not play for the Green Wave in 2012.
The rising junior had been nursing what was thought to be a shoulder injury but turns out to have Thoracic outlet syndrome. It is affecting the nerves in his neck, shoulder and elbow and is the same injury that sidelined Peyton Manning last season.
Carnes is currently rehabilitating the injury that his doctor tells him will keep him from throwing for at least two months.
“It’s just kind of multiple injuries to that nerve over the last couple of years where the body’s trying to heal itself and it’s not done a very good job of it,” Carnes said. “The nerve’s frazzled and loose. There’s not enough space for it in my arm and shoulder right now; it’s almost pinched, too. It’s frustrating.”
Gallatin’s first-year coach Mark Williams said last week that it was a “wait-and-see type thing” on what Carnes’ status was in regards to taking part in the full-pads practices that began Monday. Carnes participated in the spring practices but did not participate in the summer 7-on-7 passing leagues in July.
“It was bothering me a little bit during spring but I didn’t say anything,” Carnes said. “I went to four camps this summer and June 16 I threw a ball at this camp and just one throw and it was done. I felt it.”
Carnes said he originally thought it was a muscle sprain or strain. He saw Gallatin trainer Andy Yarbrough, another physician and a nerve specialist before getting the diagnosis of Thoracic outlet syndrome.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when the blood vessels or nerves in the thoracic outlet — the space between your collarbone and your first rib — become compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers.
“It’s exactly what Peyton Manning had last year except Peyton Manning has a congenital defect that runs in his family that made his a little bit worse than mine,” Carnes said. “It’s the same nerve and the same damage; I just don’t have the congenital defect.”
Carnes, who also excels on the golf course, will be a member of the Gallatin golf team this fall. He is able to play the sport because the injury is an overhead injury that affects the throwing motion, whereas golf does not require the same overhead motion.
“I talked to family and my real, real close friends and I didn’t know if I wanted to just sit around and not do anything for all season or if I wanted to go play golf. I can do that pain free because it’s not an overhead injury. What I have is an overhead injury and the golf swing is not overhead,” Carnes said. “So I decided I wanted to do something rather than sit around and watch football. The more I watch it the more I want to play it.”
He knows he may draw some strange looks by being able to play one sport and not the other but he wants to be able to help out at least one Green Wave team this season if he is physically capable.
“I never figured I wouldn’t play football in high school until about two weeks ago and I talked to the nerve doctor,” he said. “I feel bad because I can swing a golf club pain free. Since I can swing a golf club pain free I think it just makes sense to play golf and see if I can’t contribute to the golf team instead of standing around and watching football.
“Some people might question the validity of it but I can assure you it’s 100-percent pain free when I swing a golf club, but I can’t throw a football but about 10 yards right now.”
Carnes hopes it will only be the 2012 season that he is out of action.
“I think the door is open with Gallatin football for next year,” he said. “If I’m healthy and if coach Williams will have me I’m not ruling it out. Right now I’m focusing on golf and being the best golfer I can be.”
And he will cheer on Morgan Campbell and Marcus Williams, who took the snaps in the passing leagues and were in the mix to start regardless of Carnes’ status, according to Mark Williams.
“They’re both a lot more athletic than I am. You’re going to see some things you wouldn’t have seen me doing,” Carnes said of the two QBs. “They both have really strong arms and they know what they’re doing. I think they will get more creative with them this year with them being a little more athletic at the quarterback position than we were last year. I think they should be fun to watch.”
Mark Williams said the team had a good three-man battle going into and coming out of the spring at the quarterback position.
“We have good competition at quarterback between Morgan Campbell and Marcus Williams,” he said. “We had good competition in the spring at that position. Our task is not an easy one and it’s not easy for anyone in this district. Regardless of who’s playing quarterback we’ve got a lot of work to do right now and they’ve got to get a lot of work done to get better and the whole team’s got to get better as a whole.”
Despite the returning starter being out of the mix and the team still running the same offense that Williams ran as offensive coordinator last season, there will not have to be many changes.
“We have not had to change a lot of things,” he said. “Our offense that we had last year will be the same offense we have this year. With each quarterback comes a certain amount of things you can do and a certain amount of things you can’t do. What we try to do is play to each of their abilities. We will not necessarily create new packages for our quarterbacks because they already exist. We may not do a couple of things if they’re not excelling at it right then and we will focus on the things they are doing well.”
— Corby A. Yarbrough, Sports Editor
File photos by Daniel Burton l THE GALLATIN NEWS