• Emily Bondi

Division One Athlete Kane Credits Volleyball and Injuries for Medical Career Path

Image credit--Chris Monroe and Daniel Polak GWU Media Staff

By: Emily Bondi

“Stay confident, stay disciplined, stay consistent and have fun with what you are pursuing, and you can achieve anything.”

A George Washington University alum and division one volleyball player is using what she has learned on and off the court through injures and triumphs to succeed in medical school and beyond. Gillian Kane studied exercise science with a pre-medicine concentration and graduated in May 2018.

Kane has played volleyball since she was in fourth grade and has had a tough road with injuries, but that didn’t stop her from playing at the collegiate level and finishing out her senior year.

In high school Kane played for the Franklin Regional school team and had a few setbacks. During her time, she tore her ACL twice, but was fortunate enough to be recruited by GWU as a junior and by the start of college she was a healthy player.

The location, academics and volleyball team are why Kane chose Washington D.C. to call home for three years.

“I asked myself is this a place I could wake up to everyday and live in. D.C. is a beautiful city and being so close to the monuments was amazing. There’s always something to do.”

A young college athlete who was used to injuries from her high school years didn’t start her collegiate days like she had hoped. During Kane’s freshman season she experienced severe muscular weakness and fatigue. She came into college a strong healthy athlete and by the end of the first semester she could barely squat her own body weight.

Kane explained, “After seeing many physicians and specialists, it was determined that I had contracted a virus and was experiencing post viral syndrome. The doctors told me that I would recover from this illness, but that they could not predict how long my recovery would take or if I would ever be able to return to sports.”

In hearing this news Kane was obviously upset but was determined to get back on the court and healthy again. She worked hard at physical therapy and getting her body back in shape. However due to the unpredictability and long recovery from this illness Kane missed out on her sophomore fall season. Instead Kane acted as a team manager while she was out.

“I still showed up to all volleyball commitments, and supported my teammates, but was unable to play. After a long 16 months of treatment, testing, and recovery I was finally cleared for sports again and I had to re-tryout for the GWU Volleyball team to regain my permanent spot. After trying out I made it back on the team and I finished my sophomore spring semester as the starting Libero at GWU. I was determined to prove my doctors and coaches wrong and persevered to achieve my goal of finishing my collegiate athletic career.”

From left to right Dr. Fu, Gillian Kane and Dr. Lin Image credit--Kyohei Nishida

Kane has learned from a young age playing sports can teach you determination, hard work and perseverance. It can also teach you to never give up on your dreams and to always stay positive.

Kane said she “Focused on being optimistic, disciplined, and was always looking forward to the next improvement.”

Being no rookie to injury Kane knew she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field after college. She realized after extensive shadowing experiences that becoming a physician was the best decision for her.

“I realized all the positions in healthcare allows you to work with and help people. I saw how no matter what job you have in healthcare you will always be working within a team."

Kane says there is potential to be involved with sports injuries one day. “Sports injuries are obviously near and dear to my heart. I have spent the last year working in sports medicine and I have loved it, but I am entering medical school with an open mind.”

Kane knows that without her involvement with injuries and sports she might not be on this career path but credits her time playing volleyball, injuries included as a positive one.

Kane who will be pursuing medical school next fall is excited to start this new journey and give back to others. Right now, she is busy working as a research technician at the University of Pittsburgh Biodynamics Lab and as a personal research assistant for Dr. Albert Lin at UPMC.

Good luck to Kane and all her future endeavors.

For more Western Pennsylvania sports stories, you can find Emily Bondi on Twitter