Tyler Today February / March 2018 : Page 41

INSTITUTE FOR SPORTS SCIENCE me out of Baylor.” Baxter became a solid member of one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. After his rookie year, he started in forty-six games over the next three seasons, recording six interceptions, thirty-six passes defended, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two-hundred fifty-three tackles. In March 2005, Baxter signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns. He tore a pectoral muscle that caused him to miss eleven games in the 2005 season. The next season, on October 22, 2006, his career was dealt a blow when he tore the patella tendons in both knees during a game against the Denver Broncos. “I was lucky to be in Cleveland where I could be treated at The Cleveland Clinic, one of the best places in the country for sports medicine,” says Baxter. “As a professional athlete, I had the very best medical care available, which is a big advantage most people don’t have. I tell people that I always knew I would play in the NFL. What I didn’t know was how I would leave it.” By suffering a catastrophic injury Baxter realized a lot of things he had not previously considered, not the least of which was awakening him to the fact that he was not invincible. “I was in a hospital bed for two months and could not move my legs. I had no range of motion and I could not exercise. It made me think about the future, for perhaps the first time in my life.” It also made him realize that most people do not have access to the type of medical care that a professional athlete has. This became the source for an idea that began forming in his mind about what he could do help average people gain access to better healthcare. Another of the realizations about the future was the fact that conditioning as a young athlete changes as a body ages. The types of exercise and the focus of those exercises are different throughout the different stages of one’s life. “As I thought about building a sports science research center, I decided to tour different facilities around the world, and to see what was available across the country in America. One AND GARY BAXTER

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