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Spirit & Sports

Aaron Craft: From basketball court to clinicals

Lessons learned playing with the Buckeyes and after college help Craft manage the rigors of Ohio State medical school.

A white man with short dark hair and dark eyes smiles and twirls a pen as he looks at someone off camera. He’s wearing green scrubs and a lanyard.

Aaron Craft enrolled in Ohio State’s College of Medicine in 2020 after six years of post-college play, mostly overseas. (Photo by Jodi Miller)

Aaron Craft ’14 likens medical school to basketball: It requires practice, sacrifice, dedication and the ability to learn from mistakes.

He mastered these skills as a scholar-athlete who helped lead the Buckeyes to four NCAA tournaments, including a 2012 run to the NCAA Final Four, where he earned the Elite 89 Award for having the highest grade-point average among all players. Craft was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022.

As a third-year medical student at Ohio State, Craft’s game-day uniform consists of scrubs or his short white coat. (The length conveys his student status and journey toward the long white coat of a physician.)

Craft is in the thick of clinical rotations, putting his learnings from labs and lecture halls into practice caring for patients. “Clinical rotations drop you in situations where you’re going to mess up, ask the wrong questions or not know the answers,” he says. “My ability to manage uncertainty came from the game.”

This year, Craft also is tasked with determining the area of medicine he wants to pursue and preparing his residency applications. He’s decided to become an ear, nose and throat specialist. “I really enjoy the anatomy and pathology of the head and neck, doing surgery and patient follow-ups in the clinic,” he says.

Of course, Craft aims to be a great physician while acknowledging and embracing other life priorities. “I’m willing to work very hard but don’t want work to define who I am,” he says. “I’m also a husband and a dad.”

As he strives to achieve this balance, one thing is certain: Craft’s got game.

Still curious?

Read more about Aaron Craft, now in the thick of clinical rotations, in this story on Ohio State’s Health & Discovery website.

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