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From OSU Wrestler to Radiologist: Meet Dr. Brandon Mason
Illuminated images of bones and muscle captivated the attention of young Brandon Mason (DO ’13). In the back room of his family’s chiropractic office, the x-ray machine hummed to life and produced images that presented puzzles to be solved. As he observed his mother and father reading the x-rays for clues and establishing a diagnosis, Mason discovered his future career was in his blood – radiology.
But this OSU Center for Health Sciences alumnus had another dream, and the challenge was not allowing one dream to derail the other. Both goals required brains, confidence and sometimes a little blood, preferably orange.
At the age of 5 in Shenandoah, Iowa, Mason began his wrestling career. “In wrestling, it’s all on you. There is no one else to blame if something goes wrong,” he said, “I also enjoyed the combat nature of it, and now, it’s just a part of my life.”
His childhood was measured in tournaments and practices, and it was all leading toward one ambition – wrestling for Oklahoma State University. “OSU is the mecca of wrestling programs,” Mason added. While wrestling for Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, Mason was a three-time state champion, and his high school record was an outstanding 195-2. It was no surprise that an orange uniform was in his future.
While at OSU, Mason delicately balanced anatomy and biology classes with a rigorous wrestling schedule. He claimed the title of All-American Wrestler, and in 2009, he was the only Division I wrestler in the nation to earn a NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.
But there is one title Mason prefers, family man.
14 years and counting
When Brittany Hill (maiden name) was a freshman at OSU, she spotted a student driving out of a parking spot when his muffler fell clattering to the ground. Memorable and hilarious, he had a face she wouldn’t soon forget.
Despite his car problems, Brandon Mason the wrestling star and future doctor had a new objective – befriend Hill, and when Mason makes a decision, his determination turns it into reality.
After dating for nine months their freshman year, the two were married by retired OSU Athletic Director, David Martin. “I just knew that I couldn't be away from him, and he was the one for me,” Brittany Mason said. Fourteen years later, the Mason family remains strong through undergraduate school, medical school, fellowship, residency and raising three daughters.
Rising to the Challenge
Mason loves a challenge, and radiology is one of the most competitive medical fields. But even Mason had to make some adjustments after arriving at OSU-CHS. “It was a challenge going from undergrad where most of my time was spent wrestling, to a program where all my time was spent studying,” he said.
Radiology demands students to be conversant in all medical areas. From oncology to urology, each x-ray tests his knowledge. “I am very visual and can recognize patterns,” Mason said. “Each case is a different puzzle, and I try to figure out how everything goes together.”
Unsurprisingly, Mason found his stride in medical school. Associate Dean of American Indians in Medicine and Science, Kent Smith described Mason as “an exemplary medical student who excelled in the classroom, mentored peers, participated in research projects that resulted in peer-reviewed publications and engaged in outreach activities aimed at increasing American Indians in medicine.”
His success in medical school helped land him in a prestigious radiology fellowship at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University. Now, with confidence Mason serves as a diagnostic radiologist at Stillwater Medical Center.
“Throughout medical school and residency, I saw Brandon grow into a more confident person,” Brittany Mason said. “You have to have a lot of confidence in yourself and your ability to read the images because a lot of people are depending on you to make the right call for the patient.”
After meeting his two goals – an award-winning college wrestling career and excelling through medical school, Mason’s next mission is to instill in his daughters that very confidence he felt as a boy examining x-rays, dreaming of the day he would become a radiologist.
Interested in following in Brandon Mason's footsteps? Check out OSU Medicine.