Striking a Balance: Athletics and Academics Create Opportunities for Students

September 26, 2018 -- For many students, sports provide a healthy outlet from rigorous coursework. For others, athletics provide the tools to become better problem solvers, communicators and confident leaders. Meet three Logan University students who are using their passion for sports to their advantage and turning skills acquired in the gym, on the court or on the track to help others lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

Cami Cleaveland

For Trimester 9 student Cami Cleaveland, boxing began as a tool to strengthen her leg muscles after a soccer injury in college left her unable to run. She quickly realized boxing’s physical benefits as well as the emotional benefit of relieving the frustration of not being able to play soccer.  

Six months later, she was hooked and began training to become an instructor. Today, Cami divides her time between earning her Doctor of Chiropractic degree and serving as a boxing and kickboxing instructor at Title Boxing Club in Ballwin, just a few miles from Logan’s campus.

“I have developed great interpersonal skills from being an instructor and from my time at Logan,” she said, adding that her two pursuits have complemented each other in the name of leadership. “I look forward to using those skills after graduation to encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle.”

Alex Midkiff

Alex Midkiff’s curiosity about chiropractic led him to Logan. Now, as a Trimester 4 student, he’s not only learning how to care for others, but he’s also applying that knowledge to help care for his own body while playing physically demanding sports.

“Before, I knew the basics of stretching and preparing my body to play,” he said. “Now, I am so much more aware and mindful, and I have more in-depth knowledge about how to train and prepare.”

When Alex is not studying to be a Doctor of Chiropractic, he can be found on the racquetball courta sport he’s played since he was just 5 years old. His mother, a collegiate racquetball player, first encouraged him to learn the rules of the game since the sport was close to her heart. Although Alex began playing when he was very young, it wasn’t until college that he began to seriously focus of the competitive aspect of racquetball. His most memorable accomplishment is winning the Men’s Singles Open division at the Mizzou Fall Shootout Racquetball Tournament in fall 2017.

Alex recently competed in the 2018 National Intercollegiate Racquetball Championship held in March in Minneapolis, where he finished ninth. He is currently ranked third for men’s singles in Missouri.

“Racquetball has been a great outlet for me to help manage the stresses of school,” says Alex. “School always comes first, but whether I need a break or to burn off some energy, playing racquetball helps me live a healthy lifestyle.”

Garrett Panno

June 23, 2007 is a date Trimester 6 student Garrett Panno will never forget. It was the day he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Despite his diagnosis coming with struggles, Garrett has never let diabetes define him. Instead, he uses it as motivation for changing how the world views people with diabetes, having completed his first marathon with his sights on a second.  

The turning point was October 2016. Garrett went for an early morning run, and without his glasses or phone, he got lost. “I ran six and a half miles, which was the farthest I had ever run,” Garrett said. “It was the day I first realized I could really push myself and my limits.” One year later, he finished running his first marathon for the American Diabetes Association and raised more than $1,800 for the organization. Through training and completing this marathon, Garrett gained a better understanding of blood sugar control and improving his long-term blood sugar levels.

From running and living a healthy lifestyle to studying chiropractic, everything Garrett is doing now serves to help prepare him for his future plan of opening a diabetes-centered and functional medicine-based clinic. “I don’t like the term chiropractic ‘practice.’ It shouldn’t be ‘practice’ when you’re working with a patient,” he said. “School is the time for practicing and learning … but helping patients, that’s game day.”


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