MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – After 20 years and tending to the health of thousands of Colonial and Bobcat student-athletes, Georgia College head athletic trainer Paul Higgs will be hanging up the Blue and Green, moving to Valdosta State University to take a new position and join his family.
One of the leaders in his field at both the National and Regional levels, Higgs was twice elected to serve as President of the Georgia Athletic Trainers Association (GATA). The 2006 Warren Morris Sports Medicine Person of the Year, he also was named Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Valdosta State in 2014.
Higgs rejoins his alma mater in a faculty role, teaching in their School of Health Sciences and managing the Athletic Training Clinic on campus.
“I am humbled by the trust and confidence placed in me by the thousands of athletes and dozens of staff members in my two decades at GC,” said Higgs. “I hope I was able to make a positive impact in their lives through healthcare—either by providing the care myself or with my staff in trusting me to mentor them to build on their own skills. It has been a great adventure and I look forward to the next chapter in the story.”
Perhaps Higgs’ biggest legacy comes in his impact in branching out the career of athletic training professionals. Countless former graduate assistants, assistants and student workers that helped learn the trade under Higgs’ tutelage are successful athletic trainers in the collegiate and high school ranks.
“I’d like to thank Paul for his time and dedication to our student-athletes for 20 years,” said Director of Athletics Wendell Staton. “The impact he has made on Georgia College Athletics in that timeframe is immeasurable. Paul’s attention to the health and well-being of the Bobcats is a crucial piece of the holistic student-athlete experience on which we pride ourselves at Georgia College. Bobcat Nation wishes Paul all the best in this next stage of his life in Valdosta.”
Higgs has served several appointments in the US Olympic Committee's Volunteer Medical Program. Highlights include appointments to the medical staff of the 1995 Olympic Festival, the 1998 Goodwill Games, and the 1999 Pan American Games. He provided care for a variety of teams including rhythmic and artistic gymnastics, speed skating, modern pentathlon, judo and karate.
In addition to his duties with the Bobcat teams, Higgs had taught several courses in Georgia College’s accredited athletic training program for a decade and also co-authored a textbook, Perspectives in Athletic Training. Paul is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa national honor societies.
The Albany, Georgia native earned his bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from Valdosta State College in 1989 and his master’s degree in Health and Physical Education from Georgia Southwestern State University in 1996. He was certified as an Athletic Trainer (ATC) in 1989 and as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 2007.
Higgs joins his wife, Karen, who accepted a position at VSU in the winter. They have two children, Mary Helen and Matthew.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup and the 2017 PBC Sportsmanship Institution of the Year, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.