2009 E. Gordon Gee Spirit of Ohio State Award Winner
B.A. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2009
Gentry entered Ohio State as a freshman walk-on in the fall of 2004 as a punter. He had dreamed of playing football for the Buckeyes, just like his father, Bob, did in the early 1970s. In April 2006, he was asked to help out in practice as a receiver on the scout team. That was when he took a hit and fell awkwardly.
Gentry remained part of the football program after his injury. He continued to appear in team photographs, he lifted weights with teammates, and he was named an honorary captain when the Buckeyes played Texas in the Fiesta Bowl in January 2009.
Gentry attends rehabilitation sessions up to five days a week at the Ohio State Medical Center and has regained movement in his shoulders, biceps, and toes. His workouts include being put in a harness to simulate walking.
"I'm sure the benefits-at least, the majority of them-have gone unnoticed to this point," Gentry told the Columbus Dispatch in June. "It's small progressions more than anything else, but there are benefits from the standpoint of circulation, bone density, blood pressure, things like that. Simply getting up out of the chair and moving around is beneficial"
After graduate school, Gentry wants to work with children as a speech pathologist and someday coach football.
"I was originally a psychology major, and I always thought I'd do some type of counseling," Gentry told the Dispatch."Specifically what it will be, I'm not really sure right now. But I'd like to work at a school. And I'm leaving the option open to coach. With being in a chair and doing different kinds of physical therapy and rehab myself, I'm in a position to help others who are going through their own problems."
Gentry has been supported through his rehabilitation by his family. His sister Ashley became his caregiver after the accident, and he has often described her as an "angel" for her daily dedication to his recovery.