Limburg still kicking at Augustana, facing one of many challenges to come for future doctor
Lourdes graduate and Augustana University football kicker Ben Limburg has his eyes on something much bigger than sports. But sports have been the perfect teacher for this future medical doctor.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Ben Limburg has a double major — chemistry and philosophy.
But why is a guy who figures to be in medical school a year from now, pursuing a philosophy degree?
There’s an easy answer to that. It’s that he’s trying to become the best medical doctor possible. Limburg, a 2019 Lourdes graduate and a senior at Augustana University, explains:
“As a doctor, you have to bridge the gap between patient and human pathology,” he said. “Biochemistry is important for knowledge, to know how human organisms work. But there is also the existential dimension to caring for humans, rather than studying mice. It’s ‘how do you interact with your fellow man?’ These are the things that can be missed in pure science.”
So, yes, philosophy for Limburg.
And also the inclusion of football for him at Augustana, which houses the reigning Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champions, a group that’s favored to repeat that feat. The Vikings are 4-0 this season.
Limburg is a kicker and in his fourth year in the Division II program. He was the team’s starter last year for kickoffs, extra points and field goals. Limburg connected on a massive field goal against perennial power Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2021, helping his team to its first win against the Mavericks in forever. He lists that as his singular highest moment in his time at Augustana. Limburg also began this season as its starter, then had to miss a week due to an injury and now finds the starting job up for grabs.
He’d rather it were not that way, but is putting the experience in the category of “making him a better person” and just as importantly, eventually a better doctor.
Limburg has a life’s plan and mission, and he’s chalking this latest experience up to helping him get there. Myriad challenges await him in his eventual profession. This current sports challenge and how he goes about meeting it will serve him well. He’s sure of that.
“This week in practice, all eyes will be on our performances,” Limburg said of himself and fellow kicker Brady Pfeifer. “I guess it is back to an even playing field. Whoever performs best during the week is going to get the nod on game day.”
An admitted type-A personality and an achiever (it chafes at Limburg that his GPA at Augustana is 3.99 instead of a 4.0; he once got an A-minus in Spanish), Limburg has dealt with “failure” and “success” at Augustana. He knows that both have made him better and he can’t wait to attack this latest challenge.
Limburg says his goal is to do that with a mix of drive and humility, while never losing track of what he wants most — for his team to have success.
Beyond all else in athletics, Limburg has appreciated being a part of a team and all that it entails. He hopes to go through either the Army or Navy to get his medical school paid for. But it goes beyond finances that he’s ready for a commitment to the military world. It’s a desire to stay a part of a “team” that he’d go that route, to be pushed and to both lean on others and them on him in the military setting.
“Sports teams have been such a big part of my life, my entire life,” Limburg said. “Bonding with people through sports is what’s special. It’s something I’ve just taken for granted. As I think about the future, that is something I know I’m going to miss dearly. But that’s why I think being a part of the military is the next logical step for me.”
Limburg says he’s made a big effort to be a team guy since his arrival at Augustana. He finds that more important now than ever, with his starting kicking job in the balance.
He believes it would be easy to veer the wrong way if things don’t go “right.” But he’s adamant that he won’t let that happen.
“When a situation arises like the one I’m in now, there are two choices that are immediately clear,” Limburg said. “One is rolling over, complaining and taking on the role of victim. That’s the low road, to start blaming others. The other choice is obvious. It’s to acknowledge what has transgressed, but also to think of all of the talents I have and skills that got me the starting job in the first place, to just put my head down and block out the noise.
“I’ll learn about myself through this process. But above all else, I want our team to be as successful as possible. So, if I’m not the starter, my choice is going to be to support my teammates as best as possible. You have to be team oriented. That is going to be so important in my professional world.”