Finding Purpose and Perspective in West Texas

Edgar Garza working with an athlete

Edgar Garza, second year student in the Master of Athletic Training program

Imagine going through a traumatic orthopedic injury compounded by the concern that you won’t be able to effectively understand or communicate with your healthcare providers. That’s the picture that Edgar Garza, second year student in the Master of Athletic Training program, painted for us as we sat down with him to talk about his journey to TTUHSC and his hopes to shape the future of athletic training through utilizing his own unique cultural background, experiences and expertise.

Garza was born and raised in Mission, TX, a city in the Rio Grande Valley. His parents were both migrant farm workers in their youth and always encouraged him to attend college. He graduated valedictorian of Mission High School and pursued his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he was a part of the Top Scholar program. After graduation, he chose to pursue athletic training, and as he was deciding where to receive his graduate degree, he felt a particular calling to West Texas, a place his mother’s family held near to their hearts.

Edgar Garza working with an athlete

Edgar Garza

“Knowing that was a place that my family was very well connected to pushed me to want to get out to West Texas and make something more of my graduate experience and pursue something bigger than myself.” Garza said.

For Edgar, family is everything, and he wanted to go somewhere that felt like a home away from home, which is exactly what he found and then some at TTUHSC.

Garza credits the range of opportunities that TTUHSC and Lubbock has offered him along with the incredible faculty to where he’s at today and the trajectory of his future career.

“We have a wide variety of experiences with TTUHSC, and it’s been great so far. My first stop was at Coronado High School in Lubbock, and then I progressed to Lubbock Christian University and did a clinical rotation there,” Garza said. “I was even able to do an internship last summer with the Arizona Diamondbacks. It has really fueled a lot for me.”

One of those experiences fueling Garza’s passionate perspective was his time in Arizona and his clinical rotation at Covenant in Lubbock where he often acted as a translator for athletes and patients, speaking both English and Spanish.

“Seeing what healthcare is like from my own experience being part of a Hispanic family, building those relationships and allowing people to be heard and feel understood in a
 
healthcare environment is very important,” Garza said. “It means a lot that I am able to make that difference for families.”

Garza shares that being in Lubbock has connected him to the hardships and steps that need to be taken as a society and in healthcare to impact those who are struggling to communicate their healthcare needs and advocate for themselves. It is that difference in patient care that Garza is passionate about making for other families like his.

Edgar Garza will graduate in May, hoping to pursue an athletic training position in professional baseball and hopes to be in Texas long term close to his family.

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