Steve Luke (2006-09) ended his collegiate career on top, defeating Central Michigan's Mike Miller to capture the 174-pound title at the 2009 NCAA Championships and cap a perfect 32-0 senior campaign. A three-time NCAA All-American and Big Ten champion who posted a career record of 117-24, Luke was named Michigan's 2008-09 Male Athlete of the Year and the Wolverines' male recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor.
A native of Massillon, Ohio, Luke was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient during his collegiate career. Upon graduation, he attended pharmacy school at rival Ohio State, completed a pharmacy residency and is now in his first year working full-time at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Q. What led you to the hospital pharmacy setting?
A. After I finished pharmacy school, you have the option to do a residency if you're interested in working in a hospital setting as opposed to retail, like a CVS or Walgreens. Those two types of pharmacy experiences are almost like two different professions. In a hospital setting, you deal a lot with managing patients' disease states based on things such as renal function or liver function. It's not a one-size-fits-all medicine regimen. You manage it using different routes of medications.
Q. What was your residency experience like?
A. The residency was pretty intense -- but not nearly as intense as wrestling as Michigan. We would work 12 days straight, then get two days off. It made for a long year with a lot of work. We had rounds with the physicians and different hospital groups, and it helped me see all the different environments in the hospital. I had rotations in the ICU, cardiac ICU, neuro ICU, general medicine and oncology. The residency gives you a lot more experience than just jumping from pharmacy school straight to the hospital.
Q. What does your day look like at the hospital?
A. Right now I actually work night shifts, which is either 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. or 9 p.m. to 8 a.m., and I work seven days straight then I'm off for seven days straight. Our main pharmacy is down in the basement, and we also have several satellite pharmacies throughout the hospital -- a 24-hour satellite in the emergency room, two ICU satellites, another on the general medicine floor and another for our infusion center for outpatient oncology. We have pharmacists spread throughout the hospital, probably close to 20-30 during the day, but on night shift, we only have five.
The main pharmacy has everything. There I'll check IDs, check unit doses and check carts. Every morning we send up carts for all the patients in the hospital with their medication for the day. We also respond to any codes in the hospital and get all the medications running for them. The one in the emergency is there for emergency medications. Take a patient who comes in with a stroke, for example. They say time is brain. So the faster you're able to get the stuff made and in the patient, the faster it breaks up the clot and the less damage to their brain.
Q. Do you have a preference as to which pharmacy in the hospital you work?
A. I like working in the emergency room, because there's always something new happening. About a year ago, there was a patient who got bit by a copperhead snake. We had to contact the Columbus Zoo for antivenom. There was a recent incident where the CDC had to bring in specialized meds for some patients that got a very rare infection. It makes for some intense moments, but at the same time, it makes the night go by fast.
Q. You have coached a little bit since you graduated. Has it given you different perspective?
A. In some areas it has. I've been around wrestling forever, so I wouldn't say it's been totally new to me. But one area in particular, and I just shake my head when I do stuff like this, is when I yell at them for not getting bonus points. That's pretty ironic, right? Next my hair is going to turn silver. We've lost duals by a point and had kids that easily could have gotten another point for a major decision. But I can empathize with them, because I know some of the thoughts that can run through your head when you're out there on the mat.
Q. What's the thing you're proudest of when you look back at your Michigan career?
A. I'm really proud of the way I ended my career. That whole second semester was great. I wanted to get into pharmacy school, and I did. I wanted to win a national championship, and I accomplished that. After the season, I was also named Michigan Male Athlete of the Year and the Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient. That whole combination of every that happened my last semester was pretty special. I only had to take a few classes, and after NCAAs, I only had a couple more left. It was such an incredible feeling knowing that you accomplished everything that you wanted.
Q. How did wrestling -- and wrestling at Michigan in particular -- prepare you for success after college?
A. I think with how intense college wrestling is -- and not the wrestling component but also academics at Michigan -- very few things will compare. When I was at Ohio State for pharmacy school, a lot of people talked about how intense and difficult the curriculum was, but I found it so much easier than my Michigan undergraduate experience. Obviously, it was a lot different without wrestling. I pulled a couple all-nighters during pharmacy school, sipping on Red Bull and eating doughnuts and thinking, "This is awesome." I think wrestling prepares you for a lot. Anytime you start feeling sorry for yourself, you just have to remember it's not nearly as difficult as what you've already been through.
Q. You've followed the team quite a bit since you graduated, are you looking forward to this upcoming season?
A. Absolutely. I think this year is going to be great year for them. In terms of an all-around team, this year has to be the best they've had since before I was there or maybe my freshman/sophomore years when we had Josh and Ryan Churella, Eric Tannenbaum, Tyrel Todd, Greg Wagner. This year, they have all 10 guys back and some new guys that can challenge for spots. I'm really excited. I never thought I'd be so into it after I was done. I'm looking into taking some time off to go to NCAAs.
Q. Is it hard to be a Michigan fan in Columbus, Ohio?
A. It's not too bad. There are actually a lot of Michigan alums who live here in Columbus. I know a couple of the physicians at the hospital are Michigan grads. I see Michigan stickers and Michigan flags all over Columbus. I've been wearing my Michigan stuff around all fall. It's not as hard as you would think.
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