Accuracy On and Off the Field – State’s App Undergraduate Seeks a Springboard for Future Surgeons


BOONE, NC – Cole Garrison, senior at Appalachian State University, a major in exercise science and the student-athlete from Clay, Alabama, heads to the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine – the next step on his journey to become a surgeon.

“App State has invested heavily in the exercise science program by hiring great faculty, building state-of-the-art facilities, and providing access to resources that enable students to excel. “

Cole Garrison, an App State and Mountaineers senior football player specializing in exercise science

Garrison, an offensive lineman on the Mountaineers football team, is nationally recognized for his academic achievements, known for his community service and this summer he scored in the top 13% on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Undergraduate research

Garrison attributes much of his academic success to the faculty, resources, and research opportunities available to practice the science specializations, a discipline he discovered during his recruiting visit to App State.

“I really enjoyed the science of exercise because I felt it would focus my studies on learning about the human body and how it works,” said Garrison. He added that the program correlates with what he will need to know in medical school and as a doctor.

“App State has invested heavily in the exercise science program by hiring great faculty, building state-of-the-art facilities, and providing access to resources that enable students to excel,” a- he added.

Referring to the Gross Anatomy / Cadaver Lab at App State’s Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences, Garrison said, “Being able to learn anatomy by dissecting practical cadavers is not an opportunity for students of. undergraduate in all universities. I was also introduced to basic surgical techniques which I hope to use in my future career as a surgeon.

Garrison is also involved in undergraduate research, in collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Health System and a private software development company to test the clinical effectiveness of a new mobile application. The application is intended to help patients in their postoperative recovery process and to improve communication between patient and provider.

Dr Jennifer Howard, Assistant Professor at App State’s Department of Health and Exercise Science who is involved in the study, said that although Garrison does not need the class credit, he accepted the project because he is “really interested in the research question … and he hopes to be engaged in the research. research during his medical studies and his future career “.

She added: “Her experience as a student athlete has given her an excellent perspective to look at our research procedures from the patient’s perspective and consider what is reasonable and beneficial for the patient and what is not. not. This empathy will help him immensely as a future doctor, as will the discipline and focus he takes to complete this project while competing as a Division I athlete.

Leadership in the field and in the community

Garrison also made a name for himself as a student-athlete. He was honored as a first-team member of the College of America’s Sports Information Directors (CoSIDA) All-District academic football team in 2019. This fall, he was named a half. finalist for the National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Trophy, which rewards the country’s best college football athlete for his combined academic achievement, football performance and exemplary leadership.

On the court, he has appeared in over 40 career games and helped App State win four straight Sun Belt Conference championships and four straight playoff games.

“It’s hard to overstate how much athletics impacted my experience in the Appalachians,” said Garrison. “Football takes a huge commitment of time and energy. Combining this with a heavy load of pre-med lessons has helped me learn to manage my time and find out what things are most important to me so that I can prioritize them.

Garrison has also contributed to the local community, mentoring children through Western Youth Network and volunteer with Operation Christmas Child, Watauga County Habitat for Humanity and that of Boone FARM cafe.

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Appalachian State University’s Exercise Science (BS) degree is primarily intended for students who prefer to have a more flexible career path with multiple options. The extensive choices within exercise science electives and interdisciplinary electives form the basis required for immediate employment in the fitness / wellness industry or for successful admission to graduate schools or professional.

State Athletics App

Over 450 student-athletes compete in 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports at Appalachian State University, 10 for men and 10 for women. Appalachian was a dominant force in the Southern Conference for over 40 years before joining the Sun Belt Conference in July 2014, one of 10 member conferences of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Mountaineer football team had 10 consecutive seasons and bowl victories in 2015 and 2016, providing a catalyst for overall excellence to grow in all Appalachian sports while competing at the highest level of varsity athletics.

About the Department of Health and Exercise Science

The Department of Health and Exercise Sciences at the Beaver College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University provides student-centered education that is accentuated by quality teaching, academic activity, and service. The department comprises two undergraduate academic disciplines: exercise science and public health. The department also offers two master’s degrees: athletic training, which leads to professional licensure, and exercise science, which prepares students for advanced studies in a variety of related fields as well as research. Learn more about

About the Beaver College of Health Sciences

The Beaver College of Health Sciences in Appalachia opened in 2010 as a result of a strategic academic commitment to dramatically improve the health and quality of life of individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. . In 2015, the college was named after an Appalachian alumnus and healthcare industry pioneer – Conover’s Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64. The college offers nine undergraduate degree programs and seven graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Sciences; Feeding with milk; Nutrition and health care management; leisure management and physical education; and social work. Learn more about

About Appalachian State University

As the first public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead meaningful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a future. sustainable for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system. Appalachian is home to over 20,000 students, has a low student-faculty ratio, and offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.


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