Veteran’s Day Highlight: Dr. Galen Duncan’s distinctive function for UIC athletics


CHICAGO – A take a look at the title on his bio, in some ways, signifies the path to which the college’s athletic program together with sports activities goes as 2021 continues.

In September, Dr. Galen Duncan turned UIC’s senior affiliate athletics director of well being, wellness and efficiency. The function, per the Flames’ web site, says he “supplies management for all elements of student-athlete wellness and efficiency, together with athletic coaching, athletic medication, psychological well being, vitamin, and knowledge analytics.”

Primarily, his job is to be there for the well-being of the student-athletes that compete for the varsity, which is a mirrored image of sports activities usually’s emphasis on caring for psychological well being, which was typically disregarded prior to now.

“This isn’t the everyday athletic division. We’re very forward-thinking, we’ve got a progress mindset, and we’re trying to develop what’s happening right here at this college and be a prideful piece for all of Chicago, if we will,” stated Duncan of the brand new function, which he began in September. “Our student-athletes are able to do these forms of issues. It’s best to simply kinda really feel the power that goes on round right here, and that’s what actually attracted me to come back right here.”

Dr. Duncan has an in depth resume of working with athletes and their well-being, particularly in relation to psychological well being. He spent the earlier 4 years with the Sacramento Kings because the vice chairman of their academy {and professional} improvement the place he established an organization-wide psychological well being consciousness and therapy program.

From 2006-2017, Dr. Duncan served because the Senior Director of Participant Growth whereas on the similar time additionally serving to with the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program.

“I must give kudos to these NBA and NFL athletes which have stepped ahead and normalized psychological well being,” stated Duncan. “They’ve made it appear very regular and it’s OK to go examine in your thoughts, simply as you’ll examine on an damage in your leg or your arm or if hit your head.

“If you happen to can go and work within the weight and strengthen each muscle in your physique, there’s no motive on the earth why you may strengthen the most important muscle you’ve got in your physique and the strongest one which is your mind.”

Doing so began earlier than his time in athletics, first at school the place he graduated from Lake Superior State College in 1994 with a Bachelor’s Diploma in Human Sciences. Dr. Duncan earned a Masters of Social Work with a focus in psychological well being from Wayne State College in 1997, which he’d use when he’d be part of the US Military reserve after the September 11, 2001 terrorist assaults on the US.

He labored with Military Reserves Neuropsychology Staff in Southfield, Michigan throughout his 11 years within the service, serving to troopers put together to enter fight zones after which aiding their transition into civilian life.

“You need to meet the shopper the place they’re. So it’s actually an evaluation course of the place you hearken to them. It’s plenty of listening, plenty of listening to them,” stated Duncan of working with troopers who both had a superb or tough transition after service. “Listening to the tales that they’ve after which relive these issues in a protected area, then speaking about how one can transfer previous a number of the trauma they’ve skilled and how one can flip down the noise that’s related to a war-time setting.”

That is a lot completely different than what’s skilled by an athlete on any stage of their sport of competitors, so the crossover can generally be tough. But there’s one facet of the navy that transitions effectively to the sector of competitors: Easy teamwork.

“Commaradrie, having your man’s again, the ‘Buddy’ system, the willingness to work as a crew and a gaggle to achieve one frequent aim,” stated Duncan when declaring a similarity between instructing mindset in athletics and the navy. “Having dedication, having a job and a accountability and having the ability to be relied on, being reliable. These issues are actually necessary.”

All of this will probably be included in his technique to assist UIC athletes enhance their psychological and bodily well being within the years forward, with Dr. Duncan utilizing the acronym “G.R.I.T” as a part of his program.

“If you happen to see somebody who is just not doing effectively, one among your teammates is just not understanding one thing or is having a tough time, then it’s extraordinarily necessary so that you can step up as a pacesetter and assist that teammate,” stated Duncan.

It’s a philosophy that interprets from one a part of his skilled profession to a different in Chicago. | Veteran’s Day Highlight: Dr. Galen Duncan’s distinctive function for UIC athletics


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