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irish insider

Keenan Centlivre leaves his mark off the field at Notre Dame

| Friday, November 17, 2017

From breaking his collarbone during his senior year of high school, to walking-on to a prestigious college football program to tackling a tough major, wide receiver Keenan Centlivre has been on quite a journey at Notre Dame.

Being injured during his senior high school football season, Centlivre said he persistently worked on his recovery outside of school.

“It was the first time I missed the rest of the season and my team went to state and lost by one point,” Centlivre said. “It was tough. And then I played basketball. Since I lost so much weight and time, I would go before school to lift in the morning and have basketball practice afterwards. After the season I just kept working at it to get my strength back … The transition here at Notre Dame was difficult though. Definitely a step up. College football is very different from high school football and it felt almost as if I have never played before.”

Observer File Photo

Irish senior wide receiver Keenan Centlivre jogs off the field during the Blue-Gold Game on April 18, 2015, at LaBar Practice Complex.

After four years as a scout player, Centlivre played his first collegiate snap for Notre Dame against Miami (OH).

“It was very surreal,” Centlivre said. “I’m out there practicing every day and I know the plays and what to do, but I am always there on the sideline. To actually be on the field, the lights are a little bit brighter.”

Although Centlivre’s great grandfather, James Keenan, was a Notre Dame graduate who donated and dedicated the dorm Keenan Hall in memory of his son, James Keenan Jr., Centlivre said he did not grow up thinking he would attend the university.

“I had no idea I would end up going here,” Centlivre said. “My mom always told me she wanted me to go here when I was little. But I wouldn’t say I’m a traditional legacy . . . I’ve never even met my grandfathers, they passed away before I was even born. It was kind of over my head when I was little. They donated a dorm, which is cool, but I didn’t feel entitled to anything. I didn’t even think I could get in here.”

Pursuing a degree in neuroscience and behavior, Centlivre plans on taking the MCAT in April, taking a gap year and then going to medical school.

“I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but at same time knew I wanted to be exposed to things past medical school and make sure I was engaged,” Centlivre said. “Neuroscience sounds cool, so I started it and stuck with it, but it has definitely been hard, especially with the hard sciences.”

As a senior interested in the medical field, Centlivre has found his own niche in leadership on the team as the Uplifting Athletes president of Notre Dame chapter.

“Not everyone can be a captain as far as leadership goes,” Centlivre said. “I try to do my best as a senior to lead where I can on and off the field and be my best with them as far as the scout team goes.

“I’ve been handed down the presidency of Uplifting Athletes that raises money and awareness for rare diseases. We always do a bowling event in the summer, and I organized that and kept it going. This year we also did a Lift for Life. It was the first year doing it and it was a  huge success. We raised over $17,000 for rare diseases research. Personally, I never had anyone close to me affected by rare diseases. It was something when I came here as a freshman that the older guys helped out with and I thought it was really cool and it’s in the field I’m interested in.”

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