Honoring Mr. Schaefer

Role model: Maryland's comptroller helps Baltimore group raise money for abused children.

Bright Lights

February 14, 2000

FOR the last several months, men and women with excruciating pain in their knees have been calling Dr. Claude T. Moorman III with new-found resolve.

"I've been putting this off for years," one of them said. "I see what you did for Mr. Schaefer. I want mine done now."

At 78, Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer submitted to an operation that millions may need but fear.

"People fall anywhere on a spectrum from scared to death to `I've had it, my life isn't worth living. Do anything you need to do,'" Dr. Moorman said.

In recognition of Mr. Schaefer's leadership in yet another area, the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation will honor him at a black-tie dinner Feb. 25.

Founded in 1978 and named for the beloved former Baltimore Colts trainer, the foundation raises money for abused children. With the help of National Football League players, club owners, trainers and now a former governor, the foundation has raised $6 million and established refuges in 10 cities, including Baltimore.

Mr. Schaefer, who knew the late Ed Block, would have won the organization's honor -- Marylander of the Century -- without the knee operation, say Sam Lamantia and Carl Jess, Block foundation officials.

But the fortitude it took to have the surgery makes him even more worthy for an organization which annually gives its courage awards to a player on each of the NFL's 31 teams.

Usually the player has overcome a serious physical injury -- someone such as Peter Boulware, the Ravens linebacker who played last season with a shoulder injury, postponing surgery until the season ended.

Mr. Schaefer's condition, aggravated by years of tromping around in another arena, afflicts millions of Americans -- 30 percent of those over 60 years of age, according one estimate. As unstoppable as Mr. Boulware until last year, bad knees all-but sacked the former governor.

Dr. Moorman is head of the Sports Medicine department at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and head team physician for the Ravens.

Anyone contemplating the operation obviously needs plenty of expert advice, Dr. Moorman says.

For questions about the foundation or the dinner call 410-821-6252.

Bright Lights spotlights people who make a difference in the quality of life of this area. It appears periodically in this column.

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