PFLUGERVILLE (KXAN) A former Pflugerville High football standout has made a triumphant return to the sidelines for his alma mater.

Back in the mid-2000s, Dr. Todd Walker starred as quarterback for the Panthers.

Nowadays — nearly 17 years after graduating from PHS — he’s working as an orthopedic surgeon at Texas Orthopedics.

This fall, Walker is also volunteering his time as the Panthers team doctor.

“My favorite memories are playing in the playoffs, traveling with the guys, going through the hard two-a-days,” he said.

After a dominant four years playing at Pflugerville High, Walker went on to play college football at Texas Tech. His old Panthers football coaches fondly remember him as a standout on and off the field.

“He inspired those around him,” former Pflugerville assistant coach Philip Aguinaga said. “It was fun to coach him; he was the heartbeat of the team at times.”

David Raigosa has been a Panthers assistant coach for 20 years.

“He had a lot of accomplishments in the classroom,” he said. “You could tell it just wasn’t about football. There was, there was a higher purpose for him.”

Throughout his playing days, Walker sustained several injuries that ultimately inspired him to pursue a career in the medical field.

“Being injured really sparked my interest in becoming a team doctor and taking care of the players,” he said.

After his playing career concluded, Walker spent nearly two decades training to become a doctor. He’s now come full circle, working as an orthopedic surgeon in Austin specializing in sports injuries and surgeries.

“It’s almost like a dream come true,” Walker said. “You do a lot of traveling for training to do orthopedic surgery, and it’s the first time I really feel back and part of this community.”

Although he never played pro football, he remains an inspiration for current Panthers players.

“To see someone that went to college, made something and came back, it’s a bit of a motivation,” said Pflugerville athletic trainer Pete Wimmer.

“You can become professional in another profession because there are always other pro-opportunities besides sports,” Walker concluded.