Livingston recovers from injury to retain ping pong intramural title

8 months ago Triangle 0

Edited by Nathan Ecarma, Editor-in chief; contributor, Dr. Reggie Ecarma, faculty adviser

Martin Livingston, senior, youth ministry major, still recovering from injury, won the Bryan College Ping Pong Intramural Singles and Doubles on Feb. 27. He has won in singles two times in a row, and the Martin Livingston/Reggie Ecarma team wins doubles again. The recent wins represent the apex of Livingston’s faith and determination.

During last fall break, while other students were going home, traveling and having fun, Livingston was convalescing in his dorm and in the Dayton area.

Days before the break, he completely tore his right Achilles tendon during cheer practice. While pushing up to do a round off tuck, he tore it, and then the tear worsened upon landing.

The pain travelled through his body. This devastating tare prevented Livingston from walking, but worst, he could no longer play his favorite sport—ping pong. “I prayed that God would make me humble, and this happened,” Livingston said with a smile.

Cheer Coach Janice Perron immediately helped him off the floor. Later, Dr. Reggie Ecarma, chair and professor of the communication department, brought to his dorm room boxes of food, and they studied the life of Samson from Judges chapters 13-16 from the Old Testament. They read how Samson also felt pain as God humbled him.

That weekend, Livingston’s mom Colbey Moore said, “I am coming,” and then drove from Paducah, Ky., to took care of him until school resumed.

After fall break, as he nursed his Achilles heel, Livingston felt depressed as Samson, the Old Testament character, did. Unable to use his right foot, he hobbled around, slowly, humbly. His mom obtained a scooter, and Dr. Ecarma gave him a cushion for his right knee so Livingston can comfortably move around campus.

Still feeling down, Livingston became encouraged when Ecarma told him, “I was injured with a broken right hand, so I played left handed baseball, so you can play ping pong. You can’t move much, but you still can practice your strokes.” Livingston grinned and the gleam in his eyes returned (just as Samson’s hair returned, the secret of his strength).

Livingston and Ecarma looked at the calendar and hoped for Livingston’s comeback by late February for the Intramurals ping pong tournament. Though a complete tear of the Achilles tendon usually takes 5-6 months, an encouraged Livingston took care of  his foot, met with a therapist for months, and hobbled around campus. The healing was ahead of schedule, and the recovery seemed short of miraculous. Humility takes time, and it seemed that God did not forget Livingston’s prayer.

A week before the Intramurals tournament, Livingston re-injured his tendon.

While in the clinic and following the therapist’s instructions, Livingston did some agility drills using a foot ladder and separated the tendon from the scar tissue. He could not walk. Ecarma received a text on Feb. 19, “Hey sorry but I just re-injured my Achilles’ tendon, I won’t be able to . . . “

Ecarma asked, “OK, is it bad? How are you, OK, and what about ping pong?” Livingston texted, “Couple days, and I’ll find out.” His text ended with “To put things in perspective, I can’t walk right now.”

Ecarma asked “what do you need to do to recover?”

With rest, ice and prayer, Livingston and Ecarma took a break from playing ping pong and watched the new theatre release of Samson.

Days later and inspired by Samson’s recovery and faith, Livingston was ready to try again, and played his favorite game, slowly. A few days before the tournament, Livingston and Ecarma resumed their rigorous practice plan—two hours of drills.

Though still limping, Livingston decided to play in the tournament.. “I want to win,” said Livingston. They prayed for God’s glory and played together in the Bryan intramural doubles category.

Ecarma (left) and Livingston (right) have been doubles partners for the last few years. They’re known as the Dynamic Duo because of their compatibility as teammates.

With a tough challenge in the doubles finals coming from great student players Caleb Perez and Nic Bennett, won the 3 of 5 games championship series, 11-3, 11-7, 11-1. Grateful to God for the doubles win, Livingston did not miss a beat.

He quickly jumped into the intramurals singles category the same night, where he would have to move laterally much more and cover the entire area by himself. Ecarma watched on and gave last minute instruction, noting Livingston’s determination.

After three rounds of play, Livingston reached the singles finals against right handed slammer Caleb Perez. With the stiff Perez challenge, Livingston stealthily moved left and right despite his double injury. Livingston fulfilled his goal of winning, while keeping a humble heart. All night, Ecarma noticed Livingston’s quiet confidence. Livingston won the 2 out of 3 game championship series, 11-3 and 11-7.

Livingston said to Ecarma, “Great work tonight proud of you.”

To celebrate, Ecarma is taking Livingston to the Chattanooga Aquarium to walk around to see the sharks and fish, then eating BBQ wings at Moe’s Original Barbecue at downtown Chattanooga, Tenn.

About himself, Livingston said, “I am going to remember when I could not walk so I will remain humble and thankful.” Livingston remains convinced that God heard his prayer for humility, knowing more than ever that God gives the necessary grace to overcome our desperate days, and gives us hope moment by moment.