It’s rare to hear about professional athletes who’ve studied engineering. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
All of the major US sports have had engineers on the field, concentrating on academic areas ranging from mechanical to electrical to aerospace engineering.
We’ve collected photos and information about university-trained engineers who’ve played professional sports. From pitchers and forwards to quarterbacks and defensemen, we offer a peek at some of the more memorable engineers in sports history.
Our list starts with Bill Masterton, the only player in NHL history to die as a direct result of injuries sustained during a game. Click on his photo to see who else made our list, and let us know (in the comments section below) who we may have inadvertently left out.
Bill Masterton is best known for his link to hockey tragedy. Masterton is the only player in NHL history to die as a direct result of injuries sustained during a game. But Masterton, who played for the old Minnesota North Stars in the 1960s, also had a full life off the ice. He held an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Denver and served as an engineer with Honeywell Corp., working on the Apollo Space Program in the 1960s. Masterton’s death in 1968, caused by a massive head injury, sparked a long-running debate over the need for helmets and probably contributed to the league’s adoption of them 11 years later. (Source: greatesthockeylegends.com)
Good points, Debera. Aa few years ago I interviewed a Major Leage Baseball player who was also an engineer (Doug Glanville) and he told me that he had used industrial engineering techniques (which he had learned at the University of Pennsylvania) to schedule his travel when he was playing in multiple winter leagues.
Engineering opens the mind and enhances the abiility to think and analyze the situation. Engineers are very good in analyzing and predicting the situation which can help athletes to analyze there performance there week areas and where improvement is required .
Thanks Charles for such an interesting post, maybe there might be some sort of relation between engineering and sports but what i have come across is there are many professions in which people have done engineering . And I guess engieering with different professions can be a great combinition .
I agree, cmwiley2. Times have definitely changed for pro athletes. The founder of the NFL, George Halas, had to be a jack-of-all-trades to get the league going. He coached, worked in the business office and wrote his own press releases after the games. He was also a civil engineer. Necessity forced the athletes back then to use their heads in order to survive.
Charles, times have changed for pro athletes just a bit since the mid 1900's. Stan Musial had a local restaurant in St. Louis too that he worked in the off season. He was also involved in a St. Louis bowling alley, Red Bird Lanes,(go figure) with Joe Gargiola another St. Louisan. Today athletes will pu their name on businesses but they have little to do with the day to day operations. A little off topic but Tony LaRussa was ready for a future outside of sports. He obtained his law degree during the offseason in the early 60's. Lou Brock owned and operated an FTD Florist shop in STL as well.
Wow, it surprises me that your research turned up new discoveries for yourself as well.So, as you serendipitously stumble upon these great anecdotes in history, where to you dig up these relatively obscure facts? I consider myself relatively resourceful, but I'm stumped how you can dig up these great facts !
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
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