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Athletic state of mind
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
May 27, 2013 | 1489 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Reed High School senior Austin Corbett
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Reed High School senior Austin Corbett
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SPARKS — Once an athlete, always an athlete.

At least that’s the mantra for Reed High School senior Austin Corbett, who can’t seem to stay off the field, court or any other playing surface.

The 17-year-old Corbett is about to close the book on his high school career of sports and academics, but athletics is one thing he never plans to give up. As a multi-sport athlete. He has become accustomed to personal accountability, team play and everything in between.

“The discipline that comes with each different sport,” Corbett answered, when asked what he has taken from his sports career. “Like wrestling, where you are on your own out there on the mat doing your own thing. It’s up to you and you don’t have anyone to help you with a match. Wrestling was probably the biggest one for me to help with football because it taught me how to do what I had to do to win at everything.

“If I am working as hard on the football field as I am at wrestling to win, then I know I am contributing my best to my team to push us to the next level. When it comes to practice, I am in my own mind and once I know I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, then I know I am able to push all the other kids to do what they need to do as well.”

Corbett has collaborated with teammates in football, basketball and baseball while flying solo in wrestling and track, collecting a couple knee injuries along the way. When an injury would remove him from one sporting season, he sought another way to compete and satisfy the craving for sports.

“I was just thinking ‘Great, I am out for the season now,’” Corbett said of his sophomore year football injury, “But it made me work harder to get back into it so I can get back into those other sports. I knew without those other sports, I’d be out of shape for football and I would be worse off than if I sat around doing nothing.”

The injury-plagued days, though they may sound gruesome, were vital to the relationships Corbett formed during his tenure at Reed High. The brotherhood forged during his final two years of football, the senior athlete said, were the ones he will remember most.

“The friends and family I have made throughout the sports have made a huge impact on me,” he said. “Not many people can walk out of high school saying they have played five varsity sports. Even though I got hurt my junior year of football in July, they still invited me to all the team stuff. They didn’t treat me as some hurt kid.

“I have never been involved with a closer team as far as hanging out outside of school and in the hallways. Everybody just treated each other as if we had grown up together in the same family.”

Corbett does not let athletics take over his life. He is active in the classroom as well managing five Advanced Placement classes and loads of volunteer work. Memberships in the National Honor Society and Raiders Reaching Out had Corbett volunteering at the Food Bank and several Sparks parks this year. Still, his favorite service position is at Sierra Safari Zoo.

Corbett has worked at the local animal kingdom for more than a year and said his hours of community service have paid off in life skills he can use down the road.

“The people skills and being able to talk to anyone,” Corbett said of his time serving the community, “Even if I don’t know people, I can speak to them as if I know them and I am not scared to talk them or do anything out of the ordinary.”

Corbett’s acquired skills could be translated into a career in the medical field upon graduation as he focuses toward a career as an orthopedic surgeon. He said that path will allow him to remain close to his athletic roots and, in a way, give back to the profession that aided him in high school.

“I have wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon ever since my knee injuries,” Corbett said. “I always wanted to be in the sports scene because I never wanted to leave sports. I knew therapy would be a good way to stay involved, and when I got my knee injuries, my therapist was really good. She explained everything in detail and even showed me some of the other patients’ stuff because she knew that was what I wanted to do.”

Corbett plans to minor in mechanical engineering and has yet to choose a school of study. His recent success in shot put during the state championships, where he finished second, has “opened new doors” for college. Still, he is “leaning toward walking on at UNR for football.”
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