Lessons learned at TROY laid foundation for success in professional career and life of Birmingham retina specialist

Runners in the 116th Boston Marathon take off with the starting gun at the starting line in Hopkinton. (Ryan Hutton/Boston University News Service)

If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

It’s a mantra that Troy University alumnus Jason Crosson is putting into practice in April when he takes on the Boston Marathon for a second time and one he learned in his college days at TROY.

The former Trojan track and cross-country student athlete, Crosson is now a vitreoretinal surgeon and assistant professor at UAB’s Callahan Eye Hospital in Birmingham. He’s vice-president of Retina Consultants of Alabama.

TROY alumnus Dr. Jason Crosson, a former Trojan track and cross country runner, plans to give it another try in April. (submitted)
TROY alumnus Dr. Jason Crosson, a former Trojan track and cross country runner, plans to give it another try in April. (submitted)

“I loved running and still do. Unfortunately, I had a rocky career in college with a lot of injuries, and I don’t think I ever reached my potential,” he said. “I think it was good for me. It taught me hard work and perseverance.”

Recruited to TROY by coaches Andy McCampbell and Bob Lambert, Crosson thrived in the academic environment, if not the athletic realm. He majored in biology and graduated in 2004 summa cum laude.

“I loved the small class sizes at TROY. I was able to meet one-on-one with my professors with questions, and they seemed eager to teach me,” he said. “The culture and the small class size made it easy for me to learn, and prepared me for success in medical school.”

Following med school at the University of Florida, Crosson entered the U.S. Air Force as a medical officer and served until 2012. He credits his alma mater with blending his desire to serve others with professional success.

“I think TROY set me up for success. I got the education and grades I needed. The small classes helped me. My athletic experience taught me perseverance and helped me learn to deal with failure,” he said.

In fact, in his senior season, Crosson battled back from injury to score points at the conference meet in the 10,000 meter and steeple races. 

“The two most influential mentors for me were my track coaches. They were wise leaders that taught me a lot about life,” he said.

While good grades and athletic conditioning may have been pivotal in Crosson’s development and preparation for the medical field, the TROY servant-leader ethos fed right into his personal motivation to help other people.

“I think I knew I wanted to help people with my life. I was also good at science. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted at that young age but I remember being very excited about pouring my heart into learning so that I could help others,” he said.

Academics, life lessons and mentoring all congealed for Crosson at TROY, and he said the encouragement he received as a student is still available for the students of today.

“Take advantage of the educational opportunities. Make the most of the small class size. Don’t be afraid to fail,” he said. “You can go on to your dream job – I’m in mine,” he said.