Oct. 1, 2009
By MOISEKAPENDA BOWER
The confirmation that a career in the medical field was desirous to Rice senior tailback Marcus Knox was born from two moments of adversity.
The second came in 2005 when, as a freshman out of Bellaire Episcopal High School, Knox underwent back surgery to correct a ruptured disc. He became enamored with the effort put forth by the physical therapists whose goals were to help him regain his health and restart his career.
The first unfolded years earlier when his younger brother, Brandon, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder of the nervous system that causes tumors to form on the nerves throughout the body.
"I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field because I've always had a passion for helping people," Knox said. "When (Brandon) was two he had to go through chemo, so I spent a lot of time at the hospital with sick kids. Spending time with them and having my brother go to camps I became a part of the Sunshine Kids.
"I played with kids that may have had one leg and they couldn't play sports. I felt bad for people that couldn't do everything that everybody else could do. It struck me to the core that I like helping people."
The Sunshine Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cancer, became an eight-year fixture in Knox's life. It influenced his youth and, combined with his own experiences with physical hardships, molded him into a person concerned for others.
When Knox underwent microfracture knee surgery in 2007, he closely studied the methods of his physical therapists. He found himself taking mental notes to their approaches and lauding their support. His appreciation for their caring and interest in the craft convinced Knox that a career in physical therapy was his calling. He has two courses to complete before he can apply to earn his graduate degree, but is eying Texas Woman's University, UT-Galveston, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State and Texas Tech as potential schools for continuing his education.
"I saw what they do and how much impact they can have on a person's life getting them back healthy, and I figured that was my niche," Knox said. "Ever since then I've known that physical therapy was for me."
Knox has been shadowing industry workers ever since. He took steps to massage relationships with team physicians, Dr. Thomas Clanton and Dr. Leland Winston, and completed an internship at Methodist, Texas Children's and Memorial Hermann hospitals. His devotion to youths extended to work as a football camp counselor and dedication to others led to his three-year run on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Knox did not immediately recognize that Rice could satisfy his needs for personal growth and professional development, but as time elapsed it became increasingly clear that he could accomplish a lot if committed.
"I didn't see it at first, but once I saw that all these connections could open doors I tried to branch out to as many people as I could," Knox said. "Rice has helped open that door to other opportunities."
Instead of griping about his personal misfortune, Knox acknowledged it, turned it upside, and used it to better himself. His path to self-discovery has been somewhat unconventional, but fulfilling nonetheless.
"Just being in the hospital with all those kids knowing they're about to die and they're running up and down the hallways living life the way you're suppose to live it, it gives you a reality check," Knox said. "We're sitting here a hundred percent healthy complaining about a paper cut, and these kids here are lying on their death bed playing video games.
"It makes an impact on one's life. It puts everything in perspective."
Expressing a willingness to help those in need proves that Marcus Knox has the potential to be one of Tomorrow's Leaders.
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