COLUMBUS-Though she is the most decorated female athlete in the history of Salem High School, there has always been much more to Amy Scullion than sports.
The 2010 Salem graduate-and current senior guard on the Ohio State women's basketball team-proved as much two weeks ago, deciding to forego her final season of eligibility next fall so she can attend the University's four-year medical school.
"I began thinking about the decision around Christmas," Scullion said. "The teammates I came in with as a freshman would be leaving and I kept feeling like I wanted to go out with them. I had a lot of talks with my parents and with my coach and they were behind my decision."
Scullion is set to graduate this spring with a bachelor's degree in nutrition. She was granted an extra year of eligibility after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament as a freshman. Various leg injuries also hampered her sophomore and junior seasons when she appeared sparingly off the bench.
However, this season-finally healthy-Scullion has started 31 games, averaging 3.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 22 minutes a game while shooting 34 percent from three-point range under first-year head coach Kevin McGuff. Finally getting her chance to play made the decision to leave even harder.
"Once I got a taste of starting, it was very exciting, and it's a feeling that will be hard to let go of," Scullion said. "I feel Coach McGuff is moving the program in a great direction.
"However, I wanted to get started on medical school. If I had played next year, I would have just taken enough classes to stay eligible and maybe done a little research and I didn't want to wait around a year. I have gotten everything I've ever wanted out of basketball and the time felt right to move on."
"Obviously she is an extremely bright young woman with an amazing future ahead," McGuff told the student paper, The Lantern. "I think it is a great decision. She will be very successful."
The transition away from playing may be easier for Scullion than some others, because sports have always been only part of her identity. Scullion dominated both the volleyball and basketball courts at Salem (there is not enough space to list all her awards), but also graduated at the top of her class and was looked upon as a leader and role model. For the time being, she is busy applying for scholarships to help offset the $15,000 per year tuition she will face starting in the fall.
"Ohio State has a great medical school," Scullion said. "I have loved being a part of this university and I'm thrilled to be able to spend more time here."
Scullion plans to study oncology with the hope of one day working with children. With the Buckeyes (15-17) beginning Big Ten tournament play against Northwestern at noon today, Scullion knows her days are numbered, but also knows her experience playing major college basketball will serve as a crucial building block for what lies ahead.
"The past four years have been a very intense experience," Scullion said. "Basketball is definitely more of a job at this level than at high school. You are concentrating on either basketball or studying most of the year and you have to really learn how to manage your time. After going through it, I feel a lot older than 21."