Match Madness: From Division 1 football to medicine; Brent Wise is ready to begin a career in orthopaedic surgery

Three years ago, Brent Wise was at UF’s Match Day waiting to hear where his girlfriend Kimberly Loeffler would do her pediatrics residency.

This spring, Wise is the one graduating and Loeffler – now his fiancée and a resident at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC – will be at his side to hear where he’s headed for his orthopaedic surgery residency.

“It’s just amazing how fast it’s come – my match day,” said Wise. “She’s been through it all, so she’s a good source of support and really gives me good advice.”

Wise’s match will impact both their lives. The couple’s wedding is planned for one week after Wise’s graduation, and Loeffler, who is from Tallahassee, has delayed applying for pediatric jobs until Wise finds out his match site. Both want to stay in the Southeast.

Brent Wise and his fiancee, Kimberly Loeffler who graduated from the College of Medicine in 2008, are hoping he matches to a residency program in the Southeast. Photo by Jesse Jones

The former Penn State University football player’s first choice for a residency is Emory University in Atlanta, which he said offers a lot of hands-on experience. Although born and raised in Harrisburg, Penn., he ultimately would like to return to Florida to practice.

“I just like the people and friendly environment,” he said.

Wise, who also played basketball, has wanted to be an orthopaedic surgeon since middle school. His father, Tom Wise, was also a football player at Penn State and played in the NFL for one year with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The younger Wise suffered injuries while in college, which may have eliminated his chances to play pro football, but he believes that will help him become a more understanding physician. Wise has broken all of his fingers and an ankle, dislocated his shoulder and had two finger surgeries.

“I had three surgeries during my time at Penn State,” he said. “I can relate to the patients.”

Juggling football and academics in college wasn’t easy, Wise said, but he had a supportive coach and made sure he was disciplined and productive with his time.

Medicine and football are similar in that “both are very high-pressure fields (that) can be very time-consuming and both physically and mentally draining,” he said.

When he had to choose a medical school, Wise chose Florida, longing to venture beyond Pennsylvania. He also had grandparents in Sarasota who provided a good escape when he needed family support or a good meal.

And he had a good feeling about the UF medical school faculty, who seemed very supportive of the students.

“They didn’t disappoint,” Wise said with a smile.