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Giants Now: Ronnie Barnes preaches 'resilience' in ECU commencement speech


Ronnie Barnes gives commencement speech at his alma mater

Ronnie Barnes, a member of the Giants organization for almost 50 years and a 2022 inductee into the team's Ring of Honor, recently added another distinction to his distinguished career.

Barnes, the Giants' senior vice president of medical services and head athletic trainer, was the keynote speaker at the spring commencement ceremony at his alma mater, East Carolina University, in Greenville, N.C. More than 3,800 students, graduates, family members, and family members attended the ceremony this past Friday in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

"One lesson I've learned throughout my own journey is this: Resilience is not merely the ability to endure hardships, but it's the power to transform those hardships into opportunities for growth," Barnes told ECU's graduating class of 2024. "I've had the privilege of working with some of the most resilient individuals in professional sports. From players overcoming career-threatening injuries to coaches strategizing in the face of adversity, I've witnessed first-hand the transformative power of resilience.

"But resilience is not reserved solely for the gridiron or the playing field, as you well know. It's a quality that transcends boundaries and empowers us to confront the challenges of everyday life with courage and determination. It's what enables us to pick ourselves up when we stumble, to push through the pain when it seems insurmountable, and to emerge stronger and more resilient on the other side. As you embark on this next chapter of your lives, I urge you to embrace the challenges that lie ahead with the same resilience and the same determination that has brought you to this very moment."

A 1975 graduate of ECU's College of Health and Human Performance, Barnes was the first African American graduate of the university's sports medicine program. He helped establish the Ronnie Barnes African American Resource Center in Joyner Library. Barnes was also inducted into the ECU Athletic Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award.

Barnes was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

Barnes joined the Giants organization in 1976 as an athletic training intern and five years later was promoted to the role of head athletic trainer. He is widely recognized as one of the most esteemed athletic trainers in professional sports. In 1999, Barnes was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and was named Athletic Trainer of the Year by NFL physicians in 2002.

The Giants entered Phase 2 of the offseason workout program at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.


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