From Injured Athlete to Athletic Trainer

“When high school athletes get injured, it’s a very scary thing for them. Kids feel like their dreams are ending when they get hurt, especially if it’s a major injury. They’re not really sure what’s going to happen next.”

Peter helps stretch his student's knee and leg.
“The best part of my job is definitely working full circle with an injury. We’re there to return them back to play.”

That scenario is one that Peter Gray knows intimately. He knows what it’s like to have a major injury just as you’re getting ready to take the next step. He knows what it’s like to go through ACL surgery, followed by months of rehab. He knows all of that because he’s done it. A high school athlete himself, he was sidelined with two ACL injuries that ended his athletic career.

Peter braces a student's knee during a strengthening exercise.
“Having gone through those injuries myself, it helps me give some hope to these kids.”

But those injuries also led to where he is now: head athletic trainer at Henry Clay High School in Lexington as a part of UK HealthCare’s Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine team. He’s one player in a comprehensive sports medicine team that’s designed to meet and treat high school athletes during practices, games, and classes. It all comes down to safely getting kids back on the field, the track and the court.

Peter stands outside on the running track at Henry Clay High School.
Peter’s ACL injuries ended his athletic career. He’s helping prevent that from happening to his patients.

“Having gone through those injuries myself and overcome them, it helps me give some hope to those kids. ‘I’ve been through this, and you can overcome this.’ I feel like my experiences have helped me help my kids, mentally and physically.”

An old, light blue filing cabinet has an assortment of Henry Clay athletic bumper stickers on it. Next to it is a blue UK HealthCare Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine water cooler.
As an athletic trainer, Peter is on hand for all his athletes’ practices and games.

Even today, that experience hits close to home for Peter. He’s preparing to overcome another ACL injury through another round of surgery and rehab—his third since high school. This time, though, he’s relying on the expertise of Dr. Darren Johnson, a knee expert at UK HealthCare Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.

Peter props his knee up on an examination table while a Dr. Darren Johnson discusses treatment with him.
Peter talks about his upcoming knee surgery with Dr. Darren Johnson.

“The benefit of being at UK HealthCare is having trust with Dr. Johnson and knowing he’s going to get this fixed right. It’s almost like I was meant to be at UK HealthCare and I was meant to get this fixed right here.”

Entrance to UK HealthCare’s Turfland location, which houses UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, where Peter will be treated.
UK HealthCare’s Turfland location houses UK HealthCare Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, where Peter will be treated.

“When it comes to your knee, you don’t want to have to have surgery more than once, like I did. Go seek out the highest quality orthopedic surgeon that you can find. You want a great athletic trainer, you want a great PT, you want a great surgeon, but really you want the surgery done right. I know how ACL surgeries are done, and I just trust Dr. Johnson to do it right.”

Close up of Henry smiling while he sits in the bleachers at the track.
Peter is looking forward to getting his ACL fixed—this time, for good.

See how we care for athletes at UK HealthCare Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine. 

Suzanne holds and kisses her happy dog, Teddy.Peter works on his physical therapy exercises.