Dr. Kennieth McColloughTypically, undergraduate students major in pre-med, chemistry, or even biology before becoming a hopeful applicant to medical school, following their graduation from a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Once a student completes medical school, they then participate in the nation-wide Match Day phenomenon, where every fourth-year medical student across the nation finds out at 11 a.m. CT on a Friday what residency they will join.

After residency, which can range from 3-7 years, some physicians complete an additional year or two of training called a fellowship– this step is optional.

But, not everyone’s journey to an MD looks the same, and that is certainly true for Assistant Professor Kennieth McCollough, M.D.

McCollough grew up in Mississippi and completed his undergraduate training at The University of Southern Mississippi in Athletic Training in the early 1990s. He then worked at a medical center in Jackson, MS, which is what started his journey to an MD.

As an athletic trainer at the medical center in Jackson, McCollough had several people encourage him to apply to physical therapy (PT) school. Eventually, he did and he was accepted into the University of Mississippi for the PT program.

When McCollough graduated from his PT program, he worked at Troy in 1997 as a physical therapist for two years. While a PT, McCollough became even more aware of his desire to become a doctor and decided that was the route he wanted to pursue.

So, McCollough applied to medical school and was accepted. After moving to Sylacauga, he attended medical school from 2004-2008 at UAB and graduated when he was 40 years old. He accredits his successes to not only his desire to learn, but also to his support system– his family.

“My wife of 29 years, Suzy, has been on the journey with me the whole time,” said McCollough. “She has always supported me. Whenever I am focusing on that next step, she keeps everything going and our world spinning.”

Following medical school, McCollough completed his residency at Baptist Health in Birmingham. He then successfully completed a fellowship in sports medicine at American Sports Medicine Institute.

McCollough’s journey doesn’t just stop there. He joined an orthopaedic clinic in Florence, AL for about a year and then opened up and ran his own practice for four years after that. Through these two experiences McCollough discovered his passion for the intersection of orthoapedics and sports medicine.

Then, the stars aligned and a sports medicine faculty position became available in the UAB Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. McCollough applied and was brought on as a faculty in 2017. Since then, he has served as team physician for UAB athletes as well as professional sports teams across Birmingham.

“If there something you really want to do, make sure you take the time and know your heart,” said McCollough. “If you really believe that you can do it, do it. Some people may try to dissuade you, but stick with it. We need therapists, we need trainers, and we need doctors.”