Black and gold scrubs: linebacker balances football and medical career aspirations

The Student Printz

September 10, 2021

Taquoris “TQ” Newsome is known around campus for his play on the gridiron as a linebacker for the Golden Eagles, but what the average fan watching the game may not know about him is what he’s accomplishing in the classroom and his career aspirations.

TQ is a member of the Honors College as a part of the Keystone Program, after having joined in his academic junior year. He excels in the classroom, and as one of his mentors, Dr. Thomas O’Brien said, he does so with grace and makes keeping up with the rigorous Honors College academics look easy, and all while having a great attitude in class.

Newsome has aspirations of becoming an orthopedic surgeon when he graduates from Southern Miss and has already begun learning from his early interest in the field.

Newsome grew up in a medical family. His mother and godmother are both dentists, inspiring him to enter the medical field.

“[S]eeing such strong women make real changes in people’s lives…has really been my biggest driving force in wanting to get into that field,” Newsome said.

Through his mother and godmother, Newsome has had many opportunities to work with mentors and shadow some surgeons in the Hattiesburg area, mainly Dr. Rob Robertson, a foot and ankle specialist at Southern Bone & Joint Specialists. While shadowing Dr. Robertson, Newsome has had the opportunity to see what he does in the operating room during various procedures like ligament reconstruction and knee amputations.

As Newsome continues to immerse himself in the medical field, he continues to advance his football career at Southern Miss.

Newsome was a three-star quarterback recruit out of Gulfport High School but transitioned to running back in his freshman year at Southern Miss. Newsome again made the switch to linebacker, which he currently plays.

In terms of excelling in the classroom and how he does it on top of being a Division I athlete, Newsome said that he applies the discipline and persistence that he’s developed from playing the game of football, and through that discipline, he has learned to become very organized.

Newsome credits his organizational skills accenting his ability to stay on top of things as some of the main reasons that he’s able to keep a work-game-life balance.

O’Brien also described him as having one of the best smiles on campus.

“I make it a point every day to affect at least one person positively, and if I do that then I consider it a good day,” Newsome said.

In addition to being successful on the football field and in the classroom, Newsome has also excelled in the opportunities that he has had outside of the classroom.

In addition to working with Dr. Robertson, he has had the opportunity to research the safety and regulation of football helmets.

Newsome has studied the protocols of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) and how the tests are applied to various helmets in different settings (NFL, NCAA, etc.), seeing how the data looks on closer inspection across the spectrum. With this research, manufacturers of football equipment could potentially be held to higher standards for athlete safety should any discrepancies be found in the treatment of the protocol.

“I’m questioning whether the manufacturers are making the helmets just to pass a test and make money, or if they’re actually doing what they’re supposed to [and] designing a helmet for the effect[iveness] that they say it has,” Newsome said.

Newsome has expressed that he wants to stick around Southern Miss for graduate school for the remainder of his football eligibility and cites the University of Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Howard University and Morehouse College as some of his top programs to attend medical school once he is done studying here in Hattiesburg.

TQ’s background is…impressive, to say the least. How can someone keep up with sports and studies like he does?

“It’s all about being persistent, having discipline and having a goal and just working towards that goal, even if it’s a small step,” said Newsome, “and really making good connections with people.”

Even though Newsome will have to hang up his cleats one day, he has ensured that he will receive a new uniform when he gets his scrubs.


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