Giving up football was not easy for Tim Frazier.
After a fine career as a quarterback at Poly and at Hampton University, Frazier had an opportunity to play in the Arena Football League, but he decided it was time to move on to a new passion - medicine. He opted for medical school at Virginia to become an orthopedic surgeon.
"I know it was the right thing to do. It was still really difficult. I didn't go to a UVa. game for the first few years, because I felt I was still supposed to be playing and I couldn't bear to watch it, but after a couple years, I was like, 'Yeah, those days are done.' "
Frazier, 28, is now a Navy doctor cultivating a military career and the possibility that he might soon be serving overseas.
As an intern at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center in Virginia, Frazier is rotating through several specialties. He said he assists with total hip and knee replacements in his current rotation. Then, he will choose a specialty and finish his residency.
A lieutenant in the Navy, Frazier joined in 2005. In exchange for paying for medical school, the Navy requires four years of active service after his residency, followed by four years of inactive reserve duty.
"It's kind of like just four years, but now in wartime, it could easily be eight," said Frazier, who added that he might stay in the Navy even longer.
"I like being an officer in the Navy. A lot of my friends think I'm crazy, but I like the fact that I'm part of helping with this war. I know there's a great chance that I may be over there - maybe next year. They could stop my residency and send me with a unit. I don't know if it sounds crazy, but I'm looking forward to being over there and being able to help them. I think that feeling has grown more since I've been in a military hospital and around a military setting. I can see how much it's needed."
Although he understands why doctors would want to leave the military, he feels a stronger desire to serve.
"The main reason I've heard doctors wanting to get out is money," he said, "and in orthopedic surgery, there's a lot of money to be made on the outside, but at this point, that's not enough for me. I think I can live pretty comfortably and still have some good meaning in what I'm doing in the military."
His foundation for working in medicine and in the military came from his time at Poly, he said, as well as from his parents, Wayne and Cathy Frazier. "Dad provided the vision and she nurtured it," he said.
Although he was not as academically driven in high school as he became in college, he maintained good grades while playing three sports. At Hampton, he was a second-team District III Verizon Academic All-American and a member of the Beta Kappa Chi, Alpha Kappa Mu and Golden Key International honor societies.
In addition to what he learned in the classroom, many lessons from playing football, baseball and basketball at Poly, he said, apply to his medical and military careers.
"Looking back on it now, I think what it's probably given me the most is discipline and the ability to deal with adverse situations. When things are going wrong, it's like I've already been there dealing with sports and I know that things are going to be better. I don't let things bother me that much. I really do attribute that to sports," said Frazier, who played four years in a touch football league for medical students started by his class at Virginia.
He said leading on the field taught him to deal with differing personalities.
Former Poly baseball coach Mark Schlenoff saw Frazier's natural leadership qualities back in high school.
"He was the guy that the kids kind of gathered around and most of the time, he made good decisions. I was happy with his leadership ability and the kids really looked up to him," Schlenoff said.
With his commitments, Frazier has made it home for only one Poly-City football game. He would like to get back for this year's game Nov. 7 at M&T Bank Stadium but knows he probably will be busy at the hospital. He keeps up with some former Engineers teammates on Facebook.
Recently, he has also kept in touch with Schlenoff through Facebook, although the two saw each other just after Frazier had played his final season of football for the Pirates in 2003.
"He was telling me he had used up his last year of eligibility and was keeping his fingers crossed that maybe he was good enough to make the pros, but he had a different calling," Schlenoff said. "I'm proud of kids like that who give back, and he's giving a whole lot back."
Alumni Report Each Friday, The Baltimore Sun will catch up with a former area high school sports figure. In the spotlight today is former Poly football player Tim Frazier. To suggest former athletes or coaches to be considered for Alumni Report, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.