A New Climb for Vavlas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Kosta Vavlas will go from one climb to another following the Belk Bowl on Tuesday.

Kosta Vavlas is in for the climb of his life following Georgia’s Belk Bowl matchup with Louisville.

Better yet, the senior linebacker from Tarpon Springs, Fla. will face two major climbs after his career as a Bulldog concludes. Once Georgia gets back to Athens following Tuesday’s matchup with Louisville, Vavlas has two things on his to-do list: climb Mount Kilimanjaro and get into medical school.

“This kid studies more than anybody I know,” senior defensive tackle Michael Thornton said. “He’s so driven to do what he wants to do in life. He loves ball and he loves kids and he loves med school so that’s really where his focus has been since we’ve been here.”

While many would see climbing a mountain as a challenge, Valvas says the trip of roughly two weeks with his girlfriend and her family should be enjoyable. After all, he’s got to have a little fun before he buries his head in the books once again.

“I hope these four years of football have prepared me for it,” Vavlas joked. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”

Senior quarterback Hutson Mason was not surprised when he heard about Vavlas’s plans to climb the world’s highest freestanding mountain.

“I don’t plan on hiking any mountains,” Mason said. “But Kosta is a pretty fit guy. If someone said to match the name with who said that I would probably go with Kosta on that one anyway so that’s pretty funny.”

Medical school, however, has been on Vavlas’s list of plans far longer than his ascent up Mount Kilimanjaro. Dreams of going into the medical field have been on Vavlas’s mind since his mother, Nomiki, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“I’d always be going with her to doctors’ appointments or whatever she needed with care at home and helping with that,” Vavlas said. “I always kind of had a foot in the door and I guess was exposed to it at an early age.”

The Mayo Clinic describes treatment for multiple sclerosis as one that typically focuses on speeding recovery from attacks and slowing the progression of the disease. While there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, Vavlas was always looking for any way he could help.

“Just not being able to provide that immediate relief and having to see her struggle kind of hurt me and made me want to do something,” Vavlas said. “Seeing her go to the doctors was the best way of seeing her get relief and I’d be able to help people.”

Vavlas graduated from the University in May of 2014, so the next step for the Georgia grad will be finishing his applications, and “God-willing,” attending medical school to pursue a career in the field, according to Vavlas.

Vavlas credits his time at Georgia under head coach Mark Richt with turning him into an adult.

“Coach Richt is really good at stressing the importance of things in life and really turning you from a boy when you come into the program into a man and developing you through that, but he’s a great coach and it’s been a blessing to have him,” Vavlas said.

A football career that ends Tuesday night at Bank of America Stadium will only lead to another one down the road for Vavlas.

“It’s definitely been a fun ride and something I’ll always hold with me,” Vavlas said.

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