Lucky to be alive, let alone coaching


John Musachio

John Musachio, better known as Coach Moose, has been the head coach of Oakland’s men’s baseball program for 10 years. Along the way, he’s established records for program victories and guided numerous players to the Major League Baseball draft. But his biggest challenge came last season after a freak accident threatened his career and more importantly, his life.

July 14, 2013- a day that probably doesn’t mean much to most people – is one that coach Moose won’t soon forget.

While pulling weeds in his backyard, Musachio innocently took a step backwards and his foot came down on a misplaced shovel. He reached his right arm back to find support against the garage but instead was met with glass.

Musachio’s entire arm went through the window and the glass cut a major artery while taking a large portion of his skin with it. His wife, Laura, and kids were outside with him during the accident. She immediately called 911 and took her husband into the house to try and control the bleeding.

“It all happened so fast,” said Musachio. “I remember blood spraying up to eight feet in various directions and the longer I waited for the paramedics the further into shock I went.”

His wife moved him out to the porch outside and as he lay on the porch waiting for the paramedics to come, he slowly started to lose consciousness and he knew he was in big trouble. The paramedics did eventually come but all Musachio remembers is waking a day later in the McLaren Hospital ICU.

Musachio woke up realizing that the doctors had saved his life and his arm. While he was unconscious, his wife had signed the amputation papers since there was a 90 percent chance that they would have to move forward with that procedure.

Musachio had lost half of his bicep, severed many nerves and tendons and lost a dangerous amount of blood. He stayed in ICU for another week and was moved to another hospital the following week.

His recovery began in September when he started physical and occupational therapy. For 15-20 hours a week he would go through various forms of therapy to get mobility and functionality back in his arm and hand. The coach’s road to recovery took place right when Oakland’s baseball team was gearing up for the upcoming season. Musachio explained how it was difficult balancing the team and his necessary physical therapy treatments.

“It forever changes your perspective on a lot of things,” said Musachio. “The young men of the program were just as important to me as they ever were, it was just the stress levels and importance of winning took a back seat to get healthy.”

Musachio said that it was very tough, but that all of the assistant coaches and players did an amazing job handling the situation.

“I have deep appreciation and gratitude for our assistant coaches from last year, Kevin Korkate, Jacke Healey and Ryan Hilton,” said Musachio. “They had to take on so many more responsibilities; I am indebted to those guys for their unselfishness.”

Players and coaches will say that coach Moose brought more to the program than just baseball knowledge and strategies. Regional Development Officer at Oakland University, Luke Fleer, has been close with Musachio for many years. He works with Laura, who is a Planned Giving Associate, and says Musachio has had a huge influence on the community.

“The players learn and are taught so much more than competing at the highest level on the field but also learn how to be men of character, transparency and respect,” said Fleer.

In a physical sense, Musachio has limited mobility and functionality in his right arm and hand. The accident also made him appreciate other aspects of his life more, and he was not the only one to notice.

“I can only imagine being in his shoes, having to deal with what he has … He is very thankful that he can still do what he loves and as players we can tell that he is very thankful,” said senior outfielder Robby Enslen.

Musachio says that he has learned a lot over the last 10 years being a part of the Oakland coaching staff. Overall he says that coaching these past 10 seasons and especially in the last 18 months has taught him how to be a better man, father and husband.

“As much as I love being a coach, the accident confirmed that every second I can spend with my wife and children is the most precious time to me,” said Musachio.

“There isn’t a day that I don’t think about the accident and that I am not incredibly grateful for every second I can spend with my wife and kids.”