What's Up, Doc

Aug. 13, 2014

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By Sarah Sherman

Everyone has a dream. Think back to those childhood days when being the President, a firefighter, a lawyer, an astronaut, a police officer - or a doctor - were at the top of the dream list. As children, we all strived for something. Imagine that dream actually coming true and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it.

For former UCF men's soccer student-athlete Kyle Cox, becoming a doctor was his dream. But getting into medical school was a journey. And to say that journey wasn't always dreamy would be an understatement.

Upon graduation in 2013, Cox sent applications to 15 different medical schools. Not one acceptance letter came back.

In the face of what seemed like ultimate defeat, Cox kept a positive outlook. He attributes that resilience and resolve to his experiences as a student-athlete.

"Everything happens for a reason," Cox said. "I think it was a blessing in disguise."

In the face of rejection, he did not allow his dream to be that easily destroyed. Instead, Cox implemented the perseverance that defines many student-athletes to help him in pursuit of his career. Little did he know in a year's time his dream would became a reality.

"It's something I thought about and dreamt about my whole life," Cox said. "So, to actually finally wear the coat is really surreal."

The coat he is referring to is the "white coat" that all students who are accepted into the UCF College of Medicine receive at the annual "White Coat Ceremony." It is the first official piece of a real physician's wardrobe.

Cox described wearing the coat while standing in the Pegasus Ballroom at the UCF Student Union, just moments after receiving it. He credits much of his personal and professional development to UCF Athletics.

"I've been well prepared by the Athletics department," Cox said. "They are great at developing the intangibles of being an athlete like leadership in the community, on- and off-the-field teamwork, work ethic and time management."

Cox not only has UCF Athletics to thank, but he said he would be remiss if he didn't mention the impact that UCF Vice President and Athletic Director Todd Stansbury has had on the development of his career already.

"He is my number-one fan," Cox said. "He met with me and he allowed me to network in the community, and I was able get the professional experience and exposure that I needed to move forward in a well-experienced manner."

But the exposure and experience Cox received from being a Knight goes far beyond the walls of a hospital or a doctor's office.

Cox took advantage of an opportunity with the student-athlete organization Knights Without Borders, an organization that allows student-athletes to experience helping a community outside of the United States.

"To travel abroad to Panama with student-athletes to build an orphanage, to have the experience of visiting a community that is less fortunate and devote your time, your effort, your blood, sweat and tears toward others is something that is truly special," Cox said.

That in itself, as Cox puts it, was extremely helpful to prepare his heart for a field that is devoted to serving others.

Cox is excited, not only about what UCF Athletics has done for him, but about what the Knights can potentially do with new facilities and programs on the way for those student-athletes who will follow in his footsteps.

"I'm extremely excited to see what happens," Cox said about the coming of the Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership. "Our student-athletes are getting the networking and the training they need to become those people in our community, the people that can lead us in the future."

As for the next step in his journey to becoming a doctor, Cox said is up to the task, thanks to his experience as a UCF student-athlete.

"It's a new challenge," he said. "I can really go out and put my best foot forward."



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