By David Grossman

When Allen Champagne is determined to do something and do it well, he’ll explain that nothing gets in his way.

Born in a suburb of Montreal, the bright and articulate individual is focused on a career in medicine – either orthopedics or neurology.

After an outstanding high school education at Upper Canada College, then a recipient of the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship at the University of North Carolina, Champagne is close to finishing his master’s degree in neurosciences at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

“I’m grateful to UCC,” recalls Champagne. “It was the place that gave me the tools to study, to learn English and develop my passion. UCC gave me the opportunities where I worked hard towards something special.”

A multi-sport athlete at UCC, Champagne was an elite football player and all-star on a league championship team. His football success continued at Chapel Hill, N.C. playing for the Tar Heels in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. A walk-on player, it didn’t take him long to reach U.S. national television after his memorable tackle, on punt coverage in the season-opener, made it to ESPN.

“That play was something special for me – and people still talk about it,” says Champagne. “But it’s more than football. I’ve always wanted to learn from the best and it all started at UCC.”

Champagne is studying concussion research, about the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions. He’s hoping to emerge as a key figure in helping athletes in the world of professional sport.

“I want to understand and relate to a certain kind of injury – and use my knowledge and experience to work with athletes at the pro level,” says Champagne. “I have really come from nowhere to become someone really focused on helping others – and I owe a great deal to some special people at UCC.”

As for continuing football, that’s still on his agenda. Champagne has been invited to a Canadian Football League combine – an opportunity for pro teams to scout players.