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Former Utah State Mascot Fighting On Frontlines Of Pandemic

(Photo courtesy of Utah State Athletics)

LOGAN, Utah – Former Utah State mascot Kaleb Redden is working on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Redden initially came to Utah State to play football, but back surgery during the spring before he started changed those plans and sent him on a different path. Redden joined the Utah State Cheer Squad, cheering from 2006-09 before becoming Big Blue – the Aggies’ lovable mascot – his final year at USU.

After hanging up the Big Blue suit, Redden graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and minor in chemistry. He is now employed at St. Luke’s in Boise, Idaho, as a sports medicine physician.

Working On COVID-19 Frontlines

While working at the hospital, Redden is taking all of the necessary precautions but he has been busy in the Emergency Room.

“Work has been busy,” Redden told Utah State Athletics. “We have been unloading the ER as much as possible by seeing urgent orthopedic problems and seeing walk-in patients so they can avoid the ER. We have also been spending more time with people educating them on disease.”

His advice to the people about the pandemic was simple. Don’t be scared.

“Fear will not improve anyone’s circumstance,” Redden mentioned. “Use common sense, protect yourself and your family, but remember to be kind, reasonable and patient with everyone. Don’t stop exercising just because your normal routine is messed up.”

Redden talked about what made him get into the medical profession.

“I was an athlete at Utah State, but had injuries and was introduced to the sports medicine doctor there on campus, so I changed my major and began the pursuit,” Redden said. “I was always employed during school as a roughneck on drilling rigs in Wyoming and after I graduated I worked in the oil patch for a year before going to medical school.”

The Big Piney, Wyoming native is also a certified ring-side physician and combat sports medicine specialist currently serving as the deputy commissioner and chief medical officer for the Idaho Athletic Commission. He is one of the team physicians for Mountain View High School, local Idaho rodeos, Idaho Steelheads semi-professional hockey, UFC MMA, Bellator MMA, Kaged Muscle Fitness, which includes professional MMA fighters, Olympic gymnasts, collegiate and professional football players, professional power lifters and bodybuilders.

Titan Games

Redden appeared on NBC’s “The Titan Games” where he was a competitor in the Central Region. Nicknamed Doc Thor due to the fact he looks similar to Chris Hemsworth, the actor who plays Thor in the Marvel movies, Redden easily defeated his opponent on the “Chain Linked” and “Kick Out” challenges before losing to former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas on Mount Olympus.

After losing to the NFL Pro Bowler, Redden had a second chance to advance in the show but did not make it to Mount Olympus after losing in the “Resistance” challenge.

Redden was invited on the show that is hosted by Dwayne Johnson and accepted.

“NBC and “The Titan Games” crew contacted me and asked me to try out due to my reputation, job, story and athletic ability,” Redden stated. “It was all shot in January of this year. We were in Georgia for three weeks shooting. Prior to that, the first session was in Los Angeles right next to Jay Leno’s garage, where we did the combine to make the actual cut.”

Redden was able to interact with Johnson and shared some of the conversations with the show host.

“We all got to spend time with Dwayne,” Redden said. “As the filming progressed, some got more than others based on how they did in the show. I was there the whole time, so I spent a fair amount of time with him. He didn’t give me any advice, but I gave him a bit, though. He had just lost his father and we talked about loss, we talked about being fathers, talked about the gym, talked about how to make health fitness part of life for everyone. We also talked about injury – he and I have had a few of the same.”

In honor of our former student-athletes who are on the front lines fighting the coronavirus around the world, Utah State Athletics has created the Q&A series: Aggie Healthcare Heroes. If you are a former USU student-athlete and are on the frontlines of the pandemic, please contact Wade Denniston at wade.denniston@usu.edu.

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