Former Mountaineer basketball player Omar Carter ’14 works for Resourceful Solutions II, a company serving the Carolinas by connecting individuals and families to the services and support they may need for mental health issues.
Yet Carter, who played professionally in Brazil for a time, has gotten more publicity for starting the Omar Carter Foundation – which seeks to increase awareness of athletes’ cardiovascular health, including the training of athletes and families in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators. As the foundation’s managing director and co-founder, he oversees operations and works with the Board of Directors in daily decision-making.
Carter knows about cardiovascular risks for athletes. He suffered sudden cardiac arrest while playing in a 2013 game at the Grady Cole Center in his hometown of Charlotte. He had no pulse, but a cardiac nurse who was in the stands located a defibrillator and administered CPR until emergency help arrived.
His foundation’s vision is “to collaborate with healthcare professionals to empower all athletes and their families with the opportunity of awareness, healthy living and cardiovascular education,” according to its website.
Carter’s Sociology (BS) - Social Inequalities major helped prepare him for these career accomplishments, he said.
Appalachian’s faculty and staff “pushed me with knowledge and resources” and taught him “to be accountable and organized, along with not giving up.” They also taught him to keep the same competitive spirit in other areas of his life that he exhibited on the court, Carter said.
While at Appalachian, Carter’s involvement included serving on the Southern Conference Student-Athlete Committee and volunteering at Western Youth Network, a local non-profit that offers after-school programming, tutoring and mentoring to youth.
“How I carried myself said a lot and my department taught me that as well. In my department and around the community, I could be a voice and give a perspective of not only what athletes may go through but express in my work what the meaning of a true student-athlete is.”
In late 2017, the Omar Carter Foundation and Appalachian's Beaver College of Health Sciences partnered to form the Healthy Hearts Collaborative to educate student-athletes and others about sudden cardiac arrest and how to prevent it.