McKinney sidelined with injury

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The football playing career of Alex McKinney appears to have ended.

The former Mitchell standout and Western Carolina University walk-on recently had surgery on his labrum, the cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines and reinforces the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. During that procedure, doctors discovered a problem.

“They found out I had really bad bone dysplasia in my right shoulder,” McKinney said. “They said I would probably keep tearing if I tried to play on it any more at (the college) level.”

Doctors told McKinney they could get him back to a normal, healthy lifestyle but the bone structure in his shoulder could simply no longer support playing football. 

“I can’t outwork something I was born with,” he said. 

McKinney and fellow Mitchell Class of 2017 lineman Todd Self signed to play football for the Catamounts as preferred walk-ons in March 2017. McKinney had 27 receptions for 377 yards and nine touchdowns on offense as a senior at Mitchell. He had 109 tackles – 25 for a loss – and eight sacks on defense and was 2016’s Western Highlands Conference lineman of the year. He grabbed 69 catches for 1,012 yards and 18 touchdowns on offense and amassed 202 tackles and 20 sacks on defense during his time as a Mountaineer.

McKinney did not see any playing time as a redshirt freshman at WCU. He has transferred to Mayland Community College for the fall 2018 while he heals and receives therapy on his shoulder, during which time he is assisting with coaching at Mitchell. He plans to enroll at Appalachian State for the spring 2019 semester.

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