NFL quarterback Matt Barkley, featured speaker at USC physical therapy commencement ceremony

Matt Barkely portrait 2

The former Trojan QB credits Trojan physical therapists for getting him back on the field after a serious shoulder injury nearly sidelined him.    

BY JOHN HOBBS MA '14

NFL quarterback Matt Barkley '12 is set to deliver the address at this year's USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11, 2018.

The former Trojan football player got his start on the gridiron during high school, where he distinguished himself as one of the top high school football players in the nation. In 2007, Barkley was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year and National Male Athlete of the Year. He also received the inaugural Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year Award and was the top high school prospect in America, according to ESPN. 

At USC, Barkley was a four-year starting quarterback for the Trojans, setting records for single-game completions, passing yards and touchdown passes. In 2011, he won the College Football Performance Award's "National Performer of the Year Trophy." 

In and out of physical therapy

It's his experiences off the field that will most likely resonate with the physical therapy graduates. Barkley has been in and out of physical therapy throughout the years, beginning at 15, after the freshman quarterback broke his collar bone. 

In his final year with the Trojans, Barkley suffered a shoulder-separating injury that sidelined him. It was division faculty and alumni who provided treatment to the fallen football star to get him back on the field and ready for a career in the NFL. 

"Hours and hours of my life have been spent with physical therapists who have taught me so much," Barkley says. "For me to be able to walk through my football career with some of the best physical therapists in the country has been an absolute joy."

In 2013, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Barkley, who playedwith the team for two years. Since then, he has played for the Chicago Bears, the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. 

On May 11, Barkley hopes to share some of his own knowledge with the profession that's taught him so much. 

He wants the Class of 2018 to know that "you hold so much influence with the people you work with and can really shape therest of their lives," he says "Don't underestimate your daily interactions with athletes or other clients. ... Giving people confidence, encouragement and a positive outlook will go a long way." 

Commencement takes place on May 11, 2018 in Alumni Park. The procession begins at 8:30 a.m., with the ceremony starting at 9 a.m. The satellite ceremony for the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy takes place in Bovard Auditorium at 11:30 a.m. Go to commencement.usc.edu for more information.

Posted 03.13.2018