Thanks to her classmates and professors, Sammy Davis has been able to simultaneously pursue her occupational therapy degree and a professional hockey career.

For the past three years, Sammy Davis has lived the occupational therapy profession’s credo of being balanced. 

By day, she’s been a student in the MGH Institute’s entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. On nights and weekends, she’s traded her books for skates as a member of the Boston Pride professional women’s hockey team. 

“We tell our patients to live a balanced life, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do,” said Davis, a forward on the Premier Hockey Federation squad. 

Juggling classes, external fieldwork, gym workouts, evening practices, and weekends of games—often hundreds of miles away—have been a challenge since she started at the IHP in 2020. But thanks to her classmates and professors, she’s been able to stickhandle through both responsibilities. 

“I wanted everyone to hold me accountable. I told my classmates to say something if I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and my teachers understood that I’m going to work hard to get everything done and not expect anything less from me,” said the Pembroke native. “It’s been a challenge some days, I have to admit, but it’s been a great experience.”  

It was during her sophomore season as the captain of the Boston University women’s hockey team that she first learned about occupational therapy, albeit in a painful way.  “I got hit by a puck and my finger just kind of exploded, so I had to go to a hand surgeon and then I was referred to a certified hand specialist who also was an occupational therapist,” she recalled. “She was making splints for my glove, and I thought, ‘This is so cool.’ So I began exploring OT, and I really liked the idea of the whole profession and how they look at things holistically and client centered.” 

action shot of sammy in her yellow uniform on the ice hitting a puck while a player in red looks on
Davis takes a slapshot during a game against the Metropolitan Riveters. Photo: Michelle Jay

In 2019, she earned a bachelor’s degree in behavioral health at BU and stayed another year to complete a master’s degree in special education while simultaneously finishing her college hockey career. (She was redshirted her junior year due to a hip injury; Division 1 players have five years to complete four seasons of sports.) Her Terriers record included scoring with 142 points in 147 games, making the 2019 Hockey East All-Star team, and being inducted into the Women’s Beanpot Hall of Fame.  

Davis was accepted to the MGH Institute in the spring of 2020, around the same time the pro hockey league was holding its draft. As much as she wanted to turn professional, she decided that remaining in Boston to study was her top priority. The Pride, scheduled to pick last, traded for the first pick to draft her as their top choice. 

Davis, who has scored more than a dozen goals and collected more than 25 points in her career, was named to the 2022 All-Star Showcase. The Pride have won the league’s Isobel Cup championship for the past two years and are in the mix for a three-peat this spring. 

Next fall, she plans on playing hockey while leaving open the door to begin her OT career. “I can’t believe that I’m graduating in May,” said Davis, who also is working in OT Assistant Professor Ariel Schwartz’s Partnership Lab and volunteering to help individuals with disabilities at Waypoint Adventure. “But I’m really lucky to have options to be able to do the two things I love.” 

Do you have a story the Office of Strategic Communications should know about? If so, email ihposc [at]