An Inspiration to My Journey into the Medical Field

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It was a slow drive I made countless times, from my home in Murphy, NC, to a not so remarkable building just west of town. Eventually, I could complete the journey without my crutches, but wearing a brace would always be a part of my daily life. I arrived and went through the usual check-in before finding my spot on that dreadful table. Here I would undergo a salvo of painful drills designed as part of my 12-month rehabilitation. Waiting for my therapist presented another occasion to ponder my plight. Staring down on my scars and hoping the tears on my face went unnoticed, I had the profound apprehension that my life had changed forever.

My journey started on a perfect fall evening. It was Friday night football, and I was playing on the State Championship team. The excitement was palpable as fans filled the stadium. I was in peak physical and mental condition; this is what I was born to do. Late in the second quarter, the opposing team snapped the ball, sending a crowd of defenders scrambling up the middle. After what seemed to be a routine collision, I heard a loud pop and fell to the ground.

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I have always felt that an athlete walks on the battlefield, and he walked off it, so I pulled myself up and hobbled to the bench. While the trainer worked to immobilize my leg, the muffled rumble of spectators slowly caved in on me; as though I was entering a tunnel. Suddenly, I found myself alone; thinking. My thoughts were all I could hear. Something was wrong.

I learned I had a severe traumatic knee injury, and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery would be required to repair the damage. The notion that this injury often signaled the end of an athlete’s career was devastating to me. People underestimate what being an athlete entails. The hours of dedication you put into just one game counts for something; it means you had enough character and drive to be a part of something bigger than yourself. You were slowly becoming a better person.

It’s not uncommon for athletes who undergo ACL reconstruction to experience a prolonged rate of recovery. Notwithstanding this, I planned a successful post-surgery outcome and a return to physical activities within a year. Regrettably, the misfortune of severing my ACL a second time occurred on the anniversary of my first injury. Consequently, the events on that day would mark a turning point in my life forever and would dash my hopes of playing college football.

Isn’t it funny how life works; how in every end, there is always a new beginning? Although my dream to play college football came to an end, I began to dream about something new – to become a future physician. I eventually found opportunities out of my adversity and overcame my troubles by serving others, and I received a tremendous feeling of satisfaction in doing so. I have heard it said that helping others is the secret to happiness. Science seems to substantiate this claim; it turns out endorphins, the remarkable chemical produced in the brain of athletes while they are performing on the football field, also produces what’s known as a Helpers High – an exhilaration that rewards those who help others.

I still love the game, but I want to use what I experienced to help others. I have a compassionate desire to care for patients where I can show a unique empathy based on the struggles I have had. I come from a rural community chronically under-served, so I hope I can someday provide care to the people of North Carolina and possibly to a smaller town in need of my services. A wise person once proclaimed, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. I have found my path, and I intend to follow it.

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An Inspiration to My Journey into the Medical Field. (2023, Jan 31). Retrieved from

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