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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

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Sports Medicine brings new horizons to careers of Gabrielino students

Brian Ly
Taught by Matthew Simok, Sports Medicine is a new elective at Gabrielino aiming to teach students medical applications in the sports world.

   In the very same building as cornerstone high school electives like Spanish, Drama, and Speech and Debate lies a brand new elective never before seen at Gabrielino High School. Spearheaded by Matthew Simok in the early hours of zero and first period, students find themselves excited to learn about the real world applications of Sports Medicine. 

   “Sports Med is new to Gabrielino, but not new to me,” stated Simok. “I’ve taught Sports Med for 8 years and have established a program at 3 different high schools. […] for two reasons: I’m ultra-competitive and as an athletic trainer I want to be the best… and being instrumental in helping students realize their passion is rewarding and speaks to what I believe is one of my purposes on earth: to inspire passion in others the way I am passionate about things I love.” 

   Simok emphasizes the importance of his lessons applying to real life opportunities beyond classwork. Whether it be through careers in athletic training or healthcare, he firmly believes Sports Medicine is a class equipped to help students think critically. 

   “I’m already very interested in sports, so I wanted the experience and exposure to the field,” said senior Deanna Estrada with a laugh. “Sometimes the lessons are so disgusting, like bloodborne pathogens through open wounds, but even with things you don’t really think about, Simok connects it back to the environment we’re used to, like scrapes against turf.”

Junior Ava Yamashita performs part of her medical practical on a mannequin, checking for breathing. (Brian Ly)

   For many students, this is their first experience with the field of medicine in a class at Gabrielino. Simok aims to make sure students are aware of the future opportunities afforded to them in such a broad field of medicine. 

    “Having skill sets that allow for saving lives, diagnosing injuries, and treating your own sprained ankle effectively and scientifically is unrivaled,” stated Simok. “Again, applying what you learn in the classroom is what I believe students want in their education, they want to see how they’re going to use something. ” 

   The course has attracted both students unfamiliar with sports medicine and those with experience, creating a unique classroom environment of students from all different backgrounds, regardless of experience or grade. 

  “I chose the class at first because I needed a zero period and I have experience as a lifeguard in the past,” stated junior Evan Young. “But I find it really interesting because learning about the medical field and athletic training has shown me a lot of the risks and benefits.” 

   Beyond the distinctive course load of the elective, Sports Medicine has also helped students find experience in a specific field when they were previously not offered through Gabrielino’s electives.

Senior Deanna Estrada looks at her notes to review for an upcoming unit exam. (Brian Ly)

   “The class has helped me learn more about my passions, especially when I get to learn about the way our brain operates,” stated senior Desiree Estrada. “I love the discussion and hands-on learning with the collaboration Simok gives us.”
  Bringing Sports Medicine to life would not be possible without a teacher ready to handle it, a task Simok prides himself in being able to do. 

   “Simok’s going to make fun of me for saying this,” joked Deanna. “I wouldn’t admit it to his face, but I think he is a really great teacher. His experience qualifies him, but his curriculum is molded by his desire of wanting us to learn. He encourages us to know the why, and I feel like I want to know in his class because ‘I don’t know’ just isn’t a good enough answer for him.”

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About the Contributor
Brian Ly
Brian Ly, Production Chief
Brian Ly is the Production Chief for the Tongva Times and is entering his fourth year with the paper. In his personal life, Brian has a keen interest in insects, collectible card games, books, and movies. He even aspires to raise his own "Gregor Samsas" when he finds the right environment. Interestingly, Brian initially joined the newspaper in his freshman year, mistaking it for a history class due to the presence of a textbook. Despite the unexpected start, he remained with the Tongva Times, drawn by the strong sense of community and the chance to interact with diverse individuals, from school athletes to the mayor of San Gabriel.
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