Oct. 7, 2009
by Jon Cooper
OSR Sting EXTRA
ATLANTA — Clay Farr grew up watching Georgia Tech football with his dad, helping the team the only way a kid could, by giving the Yellow Jackets his undying support.
He could not have known then how big a helping hand he one day would literally give the program. He didn’t even know in 1992 when he arrived on campus as a freshman student.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and somebody suggested trying to get a job in athletics. So I just sent a random e-mail,” Farr recalled. “Somehow it got down to the sports medicine department and I got a phone call asking if I would be interested. I thought it was something that I would be interested in.”
Some 17 years later he still is. Farr, who would go on to graduate in 1996, eventually changed his major from chemical engineering to sports medicine and a career was born.
That career will be honored Nov. 6, when Farr will be one of six people to be inducted into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame — class of 2009.
Farr became part of the medical staff for the football team for four years (he lettered as a student trainer all four years) and with the basketball team for two years, helping out in all areas of injury treatment and prevention. It was a tireless and unselfish pursuit which came with a different criteria for personal reward.
“The best part of my job kind of went hand-in-hand with the worst part of my job,” he said. “You see an athlete on the field and they know their season’s over and sometimes their career is over. You take them from that moment, when they’re upset, their family’s upset, they have a lot of questions as to what happened.
“Sometimes rehab takes six, nine, 12 months,” he continued. “You spend two, three hours every day with somebody for nine or 12 months. You become close to them and they become close to you. The day they come back and compete again and get back to doing the things that they love, that, to me, is the best part.”
That best part gets better every time he sees one of his former patients make an impact on the professional level.
“We have players in the NFL now that came into the training room that had major injuries. They were able to battle back and are still playing football today and baseball as well,” said Farr, specifically recalling his close relationship with former Tech defensive end Michael Johnson, who was selected in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
“To turn on the TV and watch the Cincinnati Bengals play and to see him out there again, to see him continue a dream that he’s always had, it definitely leaves you with a good feeling.”
Being so important behind the scenes for so long, Farr, who still lives in Atlanta and only recently left Tech for Arthrex, a Naples, Fla.-based orthopedic supply company, was caught somewhat off-guard when told it was his turn to step into the spotlight by being selected for the Sports Hall of Fame.
“When [Hall of Fame Committee chairman] Mike Stamus came down and told me, I was kind of waiting for the punch line,” he said. “It’s just something I never really thought about or considered. It’s without a doubt the biggest honor I could personally ever receive. I am very proud and very humbled by it.”
The Georgia Tech Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will be held on Friday, November 6 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. A social hour will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the dinner/program to follow at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased at $50.00 per person through the Alexander-Tharpe Fund (150 Bobby Dodd Way, N.W., Atlanta, GA, 30332-0455 or by calling 404-894-6124). Additional information relative to the banquet may be secured by calling Lucius Sanford, Executive Director of the Georgia Tech Letterwinners Club at 404-894-8865.