Patriot League 20th Anniversary Profiles: Travis Burns



Sept. 8, 2010

Name: Dr. Travis Burns
Institution: United States Military Academy
Sport: Tennis
Graduation Year: 2000
Undergraduate Degree:Chemistry and Life Sciences
Did You Know?
He begins his first year as a team doctor at West Point in 2010.

Burns captured three Patriot League singles and two double titles during his career as a Black Knight. Burns won the No. 5 singles crown in 1997, followed by the No. 4 singles title in 1998 and the No. 3 singles championship in 1999. He also competed on Army's first NCAA Tournament team after Army defeated Navy in the 2000 Patriot League Championship.

  • Twice named to Patriot League Academic Honor Roll recipient (1997, 1999)
  • Named Patriot League Men's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1999 and 2000
  • 2000 Academic All-America First-Team honoree
  • Luce Foundation Scholarship Recipient (Studied ethnic issues in China during a year long- project)

    Q: What factors helped in your decision to attend the U.S. Military Academy?
    A: The opportunity for a great education, to play Division I sports and to take a path that seemed different than my peers.

    Q: Who were your sports idols growing up and why?
    A: Pete Sampras. He stayed humble while being one of the greatest players ever - much like Roger Federer today.

    Q: What was your proudest on-the-court accomplishment?
    A: Beating Navy at the Patriot League Tournament (2000) to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

    Q: What was your proudest academic accomplishment?
    A: Getting accepted to medical school at the University of Texas in Houston.

    Q: How were you able to balance the demands in the classroom with the demands of being an athlete?
    A: I did not view it as a balance or as competing interests. Working hard at one encouraged me to work hard at the other. Staying busy with practice, tournaments and classes made it easier to forget about the stress of the other. I think either one would have been more difficult without having the other.

    Q: How did your experience as a student-athlete prepare you for life after college?
    A: It taught me a competitive spirit and a willingness to work hard. I think competition of any kind is helpful for life after college in teaching you to convert the anxiety from stressful situations into a useful energy to perform.

    Q: What was life in the military like after graduation?
    A: After graduation I went to medical school and subsequently completed an Orthopedic Surgery residency in the military. I deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The military has provided many opportunities I would not have had otherwise.

    Q: How did it feel to be named the two-time (1999, 2000) Patriot League Men's Tennis Scholar- Athlete?
    A: It was an honor to be recognized for athletics and academics at that time. The majority of your time in school you have your head down working and don't take the opportunity to stop and look to see where you have been. Receiving recognition allows you to stop and reflect on what you have done and why you have worked so hard.

    Q: If you could go back to college and compete one more time, where would it be and against whom?
    A: Patriot League final against Navy at West Point (2000).

    Q: What country was most intriguing to you in your worldly travels and why?
    A: Tough question. I have spent most of my time in China (and am currently there), but Eastern Europe still intrigues me. I just visited Norway this summer and loved it. I think I will spend more time in Europe as I get older.

    Q: What is it like returning to your alma mater to work as an orthopedic surgeon?
    A: It has been a lot of fun. It has been great to come back and interact with the team and the school from a different perspective. It definitely makes you view things in a different light. I empathize with the cadets remembering the daily challenges that they face.

    Q: If you had to offer current student-athletes some words of wisdom what would they be?
    A: Work as hard as you can for as long as you can - you only get to do it once. Enjoy it every day - you have worked hard to get where you are - take advantage of the opportunity.

    Q: Do you still follow Army athletics?
    A: Absolutely. I will be a team physician this year for several of the teams at West Point and will provide as much support as I can to the tennis team.

    Q: Looking back, what does it mean to you to have been a Patriot League student-athlete?
    A: The tennis team, trips, practices and tournaments are some of my best memories from West Point. It has provided lifelong friends and stories that I will remember forever. There are some things in life I may be hesitant to do again, but I would start day one of practice tomorrow to be back on the team. It was a tremendous opportunity.