Within the ranks of the HTM profession, there are many who can recount the glory days. Before being biomeds, many had memorable experiences on military missions, as high school sports stars or being in the spotlight in some other way.
One of those biomeds is Marrita Porter. If you are a basketball fan from Kentucky or Ohio, you may already know her name. Today, Porter is a clinical engineering specialist in the clinical engineering department at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, but at one time, she thrilled basketball fans with her athletic prowess.
“I began playing basketball at the age of six. I learned how to play basketball from the boys in my neighborhood. I began playing organized basketball at a local Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. Then, I played in middle school and then in high school. As a freshman in high school, my goal was to make the freshman team, but I ended up being great enough to play on the varsity team. I earned a starting position on the varsity team as a freshman,” she remembers.
In the early to mid-1990s, Porter attended Butler Traditional High School in Louisville, Kentucky and was on the girls basketball team from 1991 to 1995. The school won regional championships in 1993 and 1994.
A newspaper article from The Courier-Journal in Louisville from April of 1995 said it all; “Porter led the state this season with an astounding 77.3 shooting percentage from the floor.” The article went on to say that Porter was one of three finalists for Miss Basketball honors and was named the Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year in Kentucky. Additionally, it said she was an AAU All-American and a finalist for the WBCA All-Star game. She helped lead her team to back-to-back Sweet Sixteens her sophomore and junior seasons.
She finished her high school basketball career with 2,264 points and was the first in her school’s history to exceed 2,000 points. She was also the United States Marine Corps Kentucky Player of the Year in 1995.
High school wouldn’t be the end of the basketball trail.
“I was recruited by many top Division I programs across the country. I chose Ohio State because of its strong women’s basketball program and winning tradition, as well as its fan support of women’s basketball,” Porter says.
“It was overwhelming at first being a student-athlete because the expectations are high. Being on the team was competitive and fun. We travelled a lot; for example, we played in Hawaii, San Francisco, Boston, Tennessee, and other great places, but the best place to play is on your own home court,” she adds.
At OSU, Porter continued to display her talent as an exceptional player as a four-year letter winner, two-time first team All-Big Ten and two-time team MVP. She lead the team in field goal percentage making. 667 percent during the 1996-97 season. Serving as the team’s co-captain during 1998-1999, she was a Big Ten Player of the Week in 1999.
As in high school, the list of achievements goes far beyond these.
To make Porter’s story even more compelling is to consider that she accomplished so much on the court with steel rods in both of her tibias and a screw in each knee after enduring back-to-back tibia rod stress fractures at the end of her freshman and sophomore seasons.
From the Court to the SICU
Kevin Durant once said; “I’m a basketball player. That’s what I do and what I love but that’s just not all who I am. I’m talented in a lot of different areas.” Porter moved from thrilling basketball fans to thrilling her clinician colleagues.
As a clinical engineering specialist, Porter provides service to the maternal care units (labor and delivery, mother and infant), endoscopy/gastro services and the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU).
“I wanted to challenge myself, so I went back to school to get a technology degree. A professor recommended the biomed field to me. It was a good recommendation because I enjoy what I do. I find great satisfaction in working in the health care field. I believe that biomeds are major contributors to patient care because we maintain a hospital’s patient care equipment, ensuring that medical equipment is well-maintained and most importantly – safely operational,” she says.
As a biomed, Porter enjoys installation, inspection, completing preventative maintenance (PM), repairing, calibrating, modifying biomedical equipment and health care technological support systems that adhere to health care’s standard guidelines.
She also likes the opportunity to educate end users and advise health care staff members and other health care agencies on equipment maintenance, equipment operation, physiological operational principles of medical devices and safe clinical application of biomedical equipment.
Did those days on the court result in any life lessons that could be applied to an HTM career?
“The biomed/HTM field is constantly evolving, and in order to progress with the change, it’s important that one is focused on building their skillset and knowledge, particularly IT (Information Technology) knowledge,” Porter says.
She says that the same drive and determination that she had as an athlete has prepared her to handle the growth that’s happening within the HTM field. She understands how to meet the challenge of change.
“And, in order to meet that challenge, I believe that you have to drive yourself to develop. Through athletics, I’ve learned that character counts, you can’t hide it. You either have great character or you have poor character. People with great character make great choices. People with poor character make poor choices. Sports taught me that high character sustains your greatness. Integrity promotes you. Dishonesty demotes you. I daily apply these lessons to my work in the HTM field,” Porter says.
“I believe that it’s always best to strive to do what you know is right in your heart – taking short cuts will eventually be exposed. Being a Division I athlete also taught me to develop a strong work ethic – always strive to be great by learning from others, self-study, and then apply what you have been taught. Develop yourself no matter your age,” she adds.
She says that as she thinks back on her basketball career with fond memories.
“Having the ability to play basketball at a high-level was a gift, and it brought me great joy, especially when you’re winning, but even when my teams didn’t win games, I still enjoyed playing the game of basketball. I believe that basketball is one of the greatest sports to play. The game is poetic, athletic, and exciting,” Porter says.
Porter still finds time for basketball.
“Today, I enjoy watching the game of basketball as a fan. Sometimes, when I’m in the gym shooting around, I work with young players on how to improve their game,” she says.
While many will lament those old glory days, there are record and achievement pages for Butler High School and OSU that tell the story of one HTM professional’s victories on the court.
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