Exercise Science Spotlight
In the Face of Adversity: Haley Riney Continues to Overcome the Odds
“Transylvania’s mission is to provide its students with the basis for purposeful, responsible, and fulfilling lives. Thus far, mission accomplished.”
Haley Riney has never been a victim of circumstance. Upon graduating from Transylvania in 2007, she left behind a legacy of perseverance and tenacity. When the going got tough, Riney didn't get going. She fought. And she won.
Riney's most trying obstacle would inevitably shape the course of her life. "As a member of the women's basketball team, I struggled with several injuries, including having two knee surgeries and a bulging disc in my back," Riney remembers. "My perseverance and dedication could not have been tested more."
But she didn't quit. With the support of her teammates, Riney discovered her tenacious spirit, and simultaneously, discovered her path.
"Had these injuries not occurred," Riney admits, "I never would have developed a zeal for physical therapy and helping others who have endured similar struggles. These experiences as an athlete were most influential in my receiving the very generous Cralle fellowship" for graduate studies in physical therapy at the University of Kentucky.
Spared the stress of earning money to pay her tuition and fees, Riney was able to focus on helping others overcome their own obstacles.
While at UK, Riney joined a medical brigade that provided healthcare to impoverished families in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, treating almost 900 patients. "We had the potential to have a permanent and lasting effect that could help change their lives and foster growth for their community," Riney recalls.
Riney also volunteered in the Salvation Army student-run clinic in Lexington, helping provide healthcare services and education to families without homes, insurance, or economic means. These service experiences helped her develop as a healthcare provider and "discover the importance of being open to diversity and ongoing learning." More importantly, according to Riney, it's "just the right thing to do."
After overcoming odds that others may have deemed improbable, Riney is now devoted to helping others do the same.
"All around, Transy improved my quality of life," she says. "And now, it is my goal and professional responsibility to, similarly, give back in service to the community by improving that quality of life for my patients."