KCU assistant professor receives prestigious Missouri Sports Hall of Fame award

By Felicia Vaught Oct 26, 2022
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Before donning the physician’s iconic white coat, Robert Arnce, MD, KCU-Joplin assistant professor of Primary Care, suited up in pads and cleats as a football standout at Carl Junction (Missouri) High School and William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. The former linebacker was a two-time 1st team All-State selection in high school and an Academic All-American in college. In recognition of his excellence in Missouri athletics, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame named him among the 2022 Elite 11 in a ceremony October 19, 2022.

“I am deeply touched, very humbled and thankful, said Arnce. “I played football in the ‘80s. For people to remember and acknowledge my athletic career after all these years is amazing. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of congratulations and well wishes by so many people from our community and around the country.”

While Arnce cherishes fond memories of his time on the football field, it’s the life lessons the game taught him he’s carried throughout his medical career.

“My fondest memories are those of my teammates. There’s a special bond that develops between people who endure hard things together and work toward a common goal,” Arnce notes. “I think that’s what Shakespeare was getting at in Henry V, when Henry makes his famous speech, ‘We happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother.’ “Our students may not realize it yet, but they will be forever bonded together by enduring the trials of medical school as they figuratively bleed and sweat together.”

Arnce received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1993 from Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine in 1996 at the University of Louisville. With an extensive background in medicine and a perseverance encouraged by football training, he advises his students to give medical school their best efforts and stay focused.

“Try not to worry too much, and give consistent, excellent effort. Give your best effort each day. Go to bed with the peace of knowing that you’ve done your best for that day. When you lay down for bed, don’t worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. If you take this approach and string enough of these daily efforts together, I believe you will be successful in medical school and in life,” said Arnce. “I know medical school is hard. I have been there. Try to remember that the difficulty you are now enduring will help you develop the character you will need to thrive in the life you have chosen. Suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance produces character. You will need plenty of character to succeed in medicine.”

In addition to the hundreds of future doctors he has influenced, Arnce has touched thousands of lives working as an emergency room physician for the past 25 years in Southwest Missouri.

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