Setbacks Help Will Stallings ’19 Find His Path in Sports Medicine
A kinesiology major, Stallings will graduate in May.
When you look for someone who represents a Jasper, look no further than Will Stallings ’19. His plate is full, with a kinesiology major, a double minor in chemistry and biology, a concentration in pre-med/physical therapy, and leading the track team as a four-year captain. He is also an employee in the sports medicine athletic training room and volunteers his time in multiple extracurricular activities.
“I was drawn to Manhattan College because of the excellent athletic coaching staff,” says Stallings. “I felt that I could really develop my skills in the environment that was being offered.”
Stallings began his collegiate track and field career with a blistering 400m time of 46.5 seconds at the 2015 indoor IC4A Championships, a mark that placed him 19th in the country as a freshman. After seeing success that year, Stallings earned a scholarship going into his sophomore year. He commuted to school from his hometown of Tarrytown, New York, as a freshman and the scholarship allowed him to spend the remainder of his time on campus.
Adversity Guides Stallings on Career Path
In his first race of his sophomore year, Stallings suffered an injury to both hips that proved to be pivotal to the rest of his time in college. It would have been easy to hang up his track spikes that day, but Stallings decided to complete the season. However he could not get his body back in peak shape.
During his junior year, Stalling’s focus was solely on rehabilitation of his body. “At that point in my life I started to think my initial plan of being a competitive runner post-collegiately was over,” Stallings said. “That was the toughest year of my life.”
He took a cautious road to recovery and had success in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), earning the silver medal in the 400m at the 2018 indoor championships.
“After the injury, I started thinking about what I have control over in my life – academics,” Stallings said. “I focused my energy and time on something that was productive because I was not going to quit on myself.”
Stallings has spent 850 hours shadowing various health care professionals while ensuring that his academic standing keeps his name on the Dean’s List. “I always felt that I wanted to do something in the medical field and work one on one with athletes,” Stallings explained. “As academics progressed I soon realized my best opportunity to do that was to go into sports medicine, more specifically, podiatry.”
In the spring of 2018, he partnered with Lisa Toscano, Ed.D., professor of kinesiology, to conduct a balance study that could substantially decrease the rate of elderly people falling and suffering injuries. He presented his research at the International Symposium for Lasallian Research and Manhattan College’s annual summer research presentation and later received the Kinesiology department major of the year award.
Stallings also makes sure to use his extra time to support volunteer programs at the College. “I always want to give back to the community I am a part of. The College has so many opportunities available for that,” he says. Stallings is the SAAC representative for the track and field team, helping organize five major community service events per year. He was the sergeant of arms for the Phi Epsilon Kappa physiology group, for which he organizes events such as Safe Halloween, Winter Wonderland and the MC Games.
In November 2018, Stallings also started a branch of the College’s Black Student Union (BSU), a club that builds a community for students of color. His section is focused on professional development and networking for students to improve the potential for job opportunities.
“I want to focus on ending my career by getting a gold medal at the MAAC Championships,” says Stallings, who will compete in his last conference championship this May.
After graduation, Stallings has his eyes set on medical school. He plans to pursue a doctorate in podiatric medicine.