When University of Mobile professor Dr. William Carroll accepted the position of athletic trainer for India’s boxing team in the 2010 Common Wealth Games, he had no idea that by the time he arrived the country would be in turmoil.
India was facing an insurrection.
The situation was tense. Carroll and the other athletic trainers were moved to a military base for their safety.
Instead of a simple athletic training job for the Common Wealth of Nation’s version of the Olympics, Carroll now faced road blocks, food shortages and the threat of bombs which were actually visible to them over the mountains around the base.
“There was nothing set up when we first got there” in October, recalls Carroll. The boxing team improvised and set sandbags up as a ring perimeter on the landing strip of the military base and the athletic training room was a tent.
What’s more, many people assigned to help provide athletic training to track and field teams left when they saw what was going on in the country.
When Carroll saw that the teams had been left in a lurch, he couldn’t just leave them. He would go over and help with the various nations’ track and field training in the evening.
Carroll said it never crossed his mind to leave.
“I had a job to do and I was there to do it. Injured athletes needed my help when there was an insurrection going on as much as when there wasn’t an insurrection,” he said.
Carroll is an experienced international athletic trainer who has worked with both the Chinese and the French Olympic teams in the past. He said despite the danger, if the situation ever arose, he would go again.
“It’s a chance to spread the gospel through athletic training and give care to athletes who need it,” he said.
Carroll said he spreads the gospel of Jesus Christ through athletic training “mostly by example. People in third world countries don’t have the same opportunities, they don’t have the same religious freedom that we do.
“When you go on one of these international competitions there is a certain amount of distrust as a foreigner. If you conduct yourself as a professional, you gain their trust, and then you often do get question about what it’s like to be able to choose your religion.”
This opens the door for Carroll to spread the gospel to areas where evangelism is illegal or unwelcome.
Carroll said he tells his students at the University of Mobile that “when you are in the profession of athletic training, it is not about you, it’s about providing the best athletic healthcare for those athletes under your care.”
Students are able to expand their knowledge of foreign athletics through Carroll’s work. During his time at UMobile, Carroll has been to China, Russia, India and other countries.
“You bring back something from every experience and that involves the students. During a lot of the Chinese situation, the students were involved. I would tell the students here is a problem that popped up over there, based on your knowledge in athletic training, how would you handle this challenge?” he said.
“I love athletic training. It’s my life.” Carroll said.
(By Alisha Britnell, an intern in the University of Mobile Media Relations Office. Britnell is a sophomore majoring in English.)
Dr. William Carroll