ASU football player, Kyle Williams, is on track to be an orthopedic surgeon

Kyle Williams balances his football career with tough courses in pursuit of becoming a doctor

“His attention to detail is unmatched," ASU offensive coordinator Billy Napier said in regards to sophomore wide receiver Kyle Williams

This quality has helped Williams gain 522 receiving yards (second most on the team) and four touchdowns this season, but it should also be useful when his football career is over, as he aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon. 

“I want to be an orthopedic surgeon which is, you know, bones. I want to do joints (and) I want to specialize in knees and shoulders and be able to work with athletes down the line after my fellowship in a couple of years, in a practice or in a clinic,” Williams said.

Williams' preparation for his career in the operating room has already begun. In addition to his demanding football schedule, he also majors in biomedical engineering, a degree that would be challenging for anyone, let alone someone with a massive time commitment to football. 

So far, Williams, a student at Barrett, the Honors College at ASU has been able to manage his rigorous courses.

“It’s alright – it’s getting a little bit harder, but I mean nothing I can’t handle," Williams said. "It’s just really cool ... The math is pretty rigorous, but nothing I can’t handle.”

Outside of the classroom, Williams received a behind-the-scenes look at his prospective career when he shadowed doctors at the Mayo Clinic.

“Yeah it was cool. I did that earlier this summer and that was just really fun ... kinda get there and getting my feet wet," Williams said. "I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to be a doctor, but kinda going there this summer and doing that experience ... really kind of sold me on what I want to do for my career.”

Williams was treated to more than just a general walkthrough of the clinic. During his visit, he saw what a doctor's typical day looked like and even had the chance to view surgery.

“It was a really special experience, getting to see some surgery, some ACL reconstructions and stuff like that. It’s just really cool," Williams said. 

A key reason why Williams specifically aims to be an orthopedic surgeon is because of the job's day-to-day routine.

Unlike some categories of medical professionals, orthopedic surgeons are less likely to face rapid, life-or-death situations on a daily basis.

“I just kind of like the fact that the kind of population you get to work with everyday ... (is) kind of (an) older population, very calm ... (It's) not too stress related in contrast to an ER surgeon (or) trauma-type surgeons,” Williams said.

Ironically, Williams' playing style is nothing close to "calm" or relaxed. The sophomore pass-catcher is frequently used by the Sun Devils on short-yardage patterns where he uses his shifty moves to pick up yards after the catch. 

His proficiency in the underneath routes widens the offense, because the attention given to him leaves more room for fellow sophomore wide receiver N’Keal Harry to go deep or for redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen Harvey to run free in the intermediate routes. 

“It opens up everything, because then they’ve got to worry about Kyle, because you might throw Kyle a three-yard pass and he’s bound to break it for a touchdown,” Harry said. “If you have to worry about that, and then worry about me at the same time along with Jalen and everybody else, then it’s going to be a hard time for the defense.”

What has helped Williams become the player he is today is his noticeable devotion to football when the lights are off. 

“Kyle is a worker. He’s probably the best practice player we have on offense,” Napier said. "Often times you’ll find him upstairs getting extra time with the coaches, and I think he does a lot on his own to acquire knowledge.” 

Williams' work ethic, thirst for knowledge and natural intelligence have already enhanced his play on the gridiron, and would seem to be helpful tools on his pursuit of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Reach the reporter at or follow @Harris_Mark7 on Twitter.

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