A month-long investigation by The Rectangle into the training methods of the Drexel University men’s basketball team revealed that the team’s lone trainer, Maximillian Payne, was grossly negligent in his treatment of the team during an injury-plagued season.
Among Payne’s various methods of dealing with nagging injuries, his most common treatment was to give players an ice cream cone — vanilla and chocolate swirl — and pat them on the head before shooing them to bed.
Payne also employed a number of shaman-like herbal remedies, including one that caused senior forward Kazembe Abif to grow a 12-foot long beard.
Abif’s status for the 2015-16 season
The Rectangle discovered at no point during the season did Payne actually use traditional Western methods of medicine.
No painkillers were prescribed, and crutches were eschewed for what Payne called “Wheely Wonders,” in which he would strap roller skates to the feet of players with limited mobility in their legs because of surgery or soreness.
Junior guard Damion Lee, whose season was ended with a broken hand Feb. 22, was particularly disenchanted by Payne’s treatment methods.
“Any time I would come to Max Payne with something sore or something I thought needed to be checked out, he would tell me the same thing,” Lee explained.
“He would look up from the desk in his office, yell ‘Rub some dirt in it!’ and then ignore me for the rest of the day.”
Numerous other players have corroborated these reports, including guard Major Canady, who dislocated his ankle in a practice in
When Canady’s injury occurred, the sophomore explained, he was taken to see the trainer for an evaluation.
Upon seeing the x-ray of Canady’s dislocated ankle, Payne turned away from the image and shielded his eyes, yelling, “My God, I’m not looking at that! Just go home and lay down for a little bit. I’m sure you’ll be fine tomorrow.” Canady didn’t play a single game this season.
The gross negligence of helps explain the rash of injuries the team has experienced since his hiring in July of 2012, prior to the 2012-13 season.
In his first season as a trainer, then-senior guard Chris Fouch broke his ankle in the Dragons’ third game of the year.
This investigation revealed that Payne was unreachable for the first three months of that season, and upon his return from what turned out to be a six-month long trip to the Maldives, his response was vastly underwhelming: Payne gave Fouch a kiss on the forehead and handed him a bowl of chicken noodle soup, and an iPad with every “The Land Before Time” movie preloaded.
When then-junior guard Lee tore his ACL the following season in New York City, Payne’s response was equally irresponsible.
Instead of taking Lee to a hospital for surgery and further treatment, he strapped Lee into his “Wheely Wonders” and dragged Lee out for a two-day bender at New York’s worst bars.
“All we did was drink Bud Light and hang out with his cousins,” Lee explained, close to tears. “It was awful.”
The injury occurred one day
This season, the team’s problems
With the aforementioned injuries of Lee, Canady and Abif, the Dragons also lost sophomore guard Sammy Mojica Jr. and senior forward Sooren Derboghosian to season-ending injuries.
Next season, despite a roster that is expected to sport at least 12 players, head coach James “Bruiser” Flint is reportedly preparing an “Emergency Disaster Plan” in which he petitions the NCAA for another year of eligibility so he can assist his team if the injury problem persists.
Sources indicate that Flint and Athletic Director Eric Zillmer have both approached Payne about changing and improving his treatment methods, but to no avail.
When pressed for comment on why he or Zillmer had yet to simply fire the trainer and prevent further damage to the program, Flint shrugged and said, “What are you going to do? It is what it is.”