Racing Into Medical School Harley Kelley

June 6, 2011

As a professional BMX racer, Harley Kelley got to see the world. He raced in Canada, Puerto Rico, Latvia, and France, just to name a few locations, and competed in three world championships – one as an amateur and two as professional.

Being involved in the sport, and experiencing the injuries that came with it, gave him a view of patient care and emergency medicine that a lot of people don’t often get to see.

So much so that it intrigued him to pursue medicine as a career.

“The injuries that go with [BMX racing] became a part of my life,” said Kelley, who graduated from Stony Brook University in New York with a degree in psychology in 2005.

“The truth is that I’ve always had the desire to push myself to do things I never thought were possible. Eventually the thought of imagining myself as a physician got stuck in my head.”

So far, so good.

Kelley is in his fourth semester of his Medical Sciences curriculum at AUC, and will start his clinical rotations in 2012. His goal is to be an emergency medicine physician.

Being involved in BMX racing gave him a solid foundation of focus before starting medical school.

“It taught me how to discipline myself to do something that’s un-pleasurable in the short run (sprint sessions, workouts, eating healthy), and endure it so I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I know the hours I spend in the library, will allow me to be the best physician I can, and give me the honor and privilege to have people put their lives in my hands,” said Kelley, who started racing when he was 12.

Being in the spotlight – Kelley was a national champion and ranked 7th in the world– also taught him how to act like a professional.

“I think the most amazing moments are when you can make a difference in the lives of others. For instance, I got to give a bunch of my racing gear away to a few children who had cancer. Getting letters back from those kids and their families will never leave me. I sent one of my race helmets to one kid, and his mom told me he wore it home on the way from the post office in the car.”

He’s looking forward to more similar opportunities, and he’s sure he’ll have it as a member of the medical community.