First-Year Medical Students Take on Jones Eye Team on the Softball Field

Team photo on ballfield

First-year medical students and faculty, staff and trainees in the UAMS Jones Eye Institute vied for bragging rights in their first matchup on the softball field on May 25. The victorious student team, led by Tony Chacko (back row, second from left), included Mitchell Benton, Alex Green, Aaron Henry, Brett James, Luke James, Sam Mohler, Rebecca Roberts, Madison Shaw and Paige Walker. Dr. Joseph Chacko took the photo above of fellow students and members of the JEI team.

It was a beautiful morning at Allsopp Park on a Saturday in late May, and the UAMS Jones Eye Institute (JEI) “Softball United” team of faculty, staff and residents were on top, 7-6, going into the final inning.

But their opponents, first-year medical students in the UAMS College of Medicine, were intent on making a comeback.

Joseph Chacko, M.D., professor and director of neuro-ophthalmology, has gained a reputation as a sports commissioner of sorts at JEI, organizing frequent sporting events to build relationships among faculty, staff, students and trainees. JEI teams often participate in charitable runs and other competitions. Dr. Chacko has adopted the moniker “The Commish.”

The May 25th softball game had a twist: Dr. Chacko’s son, first-year medical student Tony Chacko, was captain of the opposing student team.

If he weren’t an ophthalmologist and educator, the senior Dr. Chacko might have pursued a career as a sports commentator. He sent a good-natured report after the JEI-students matchup to the faculty, staff and trainees at JEI. We’ll let Dr. Chacko take it from here!


It was a beautiful morning at Allsopp Park on Saturday morning 5/25. The JEI Softball United team was ready and played soundly for 5 innings. JEI was winning 7-6 going into the last inning thanks to strong play from our young guns: Marley Kling (Ophthalmic Assistant; Right Field), Dr. Will Henry (Incoming resident, Center Field), and Dr. Joe Fong (Resident, 3rd base).

 Dr. Puran Bora (JEI Research) pitched a great game. Dr. Grant Morshedi (private practice ophthalmologist) played an awesome left field and took extra bases even with a cleat fixed with duct tape. Thanks to Dr. Ron Braswell (VA ophthalmologist) who played an excellent first base (and who brought the duct tape). Kathy Braswell (Ron’s wife) impressed all with her fleet feet and solid contact with the bat. Becky Rills (head ophthalmic surgical nurse) played a terrific catcher, until she got called in for an on-call emergent lid laceration. Then she was sorely missed at home plate. Dr. Chris Westfall (College of Medicine Dean) and yours truly played the middle infield and solidified the defense.

 The first year med students made their comeback in the last inning with 5 runs to win 11-8! Let’s just say they had younger legs and leave it at that. They had been studying a lot for finals that week and were happy to get outside for some much needed sunshine. They also are the UAMS Intramural Champs this year (Congrats!). We appreciate their coming out to play us.

The Commish