To say football is “big” in Texas is an understatement. SBNation ranks Texas in the top five recruiting states for top high school talent. Part of training powerhouse players includes keeping them safe and healthy during the season. Memorial Hermann serves as the official health care provider for many of the school districts’ athletic programs around the Greater Houston area. Meet a few of the physicians and athletic trainers who volunteer their time on the sidelines each week to support our area athletes.
Dr. Rehal Bhojani, medical director of the Sports Medicine Outreach Program at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital on the sidelines at Fort Bend Christian Academy with Memorial Hermann outreach athletic trainer Leslie Bennett
As a boy Dr. Bhojani always enjoyed sports, especially soccer. In fact, his love of sports is part of what helped shape his decision to seek a career in sports medicine. Today, the sports enthusiast serves as the medical director of the Sports Medicine Outreach Program at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.
“It’s Texas high school football, what could be more exciting? I enjoy the opportunity to get to know the young athletes in our community and interact with them on the sidelines. It’s especially rewarding when you see a player get back on the field playing the sport they love, following an injury, and know you had a hand in their return.”
Matthew Camarillo, M.D. –affiliated with Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital and Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth – Tompkins High School, Katy ISD
“It was high school athletics that actually led me to become an orthopedic surgeon. I played soccer and basketball growing up in Fort Worth. The team physician would let me shadow him, and that’s really when I started becoming interested in sports medicine and orthopedics.
I think support systems like the ones offered by Memorial Hermann are even more important now than when I was in high school. Many more student athletes are playing the same sport year-round. That means we’re seeing injuries in high school that we used to see in college. I think it’s important that team physicians not only work to heal their injuries, but talk with them about injury prevention. Many high school athletes want to play at the collegiate level, and we want to make sure an injury won’t stop them from achieving that goal.”
Andrea Gonzalez MS, ATC, LAT – Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute in The Woodlands – Montgomery High School
“In high school I sustained an acute injury that introduced and inspired me to pursue a career in athletic training. Additionally, as a former collegiate athlete, I understand the urgency for the athlete to want to get back to the sport they love.
In a high school setting, I have the privilege of being the student’s first medical provider and reassuring them that we will do everything we can to get back to full participation in a safe, quick manner. Throughout the process, there is a great sense of fulfillment knowing that I helped these injured student-athletes get better. The excitement on their faces and the sense of accomplishment when they progress throughout their rehab are just a few of the many reasons why I love what I do! Go Bears!”
Robert Maniscalco, ATC, LAT – Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital – Humble ISD and New Caney ISD
Robert Maniscalco became interested in becoming an athletic trainer after experiencing his own injury while playing sports in the 8th grade. He was able to shadow the athletic trainer for the varsity football team and he says that’s when he knew he wanted a career in sports medicine.
“Working for Memorial Hermann Northeast and helping the kids playing sports in both Humble ISD and New Caney ISD is phenomenal. Sports is an outlet for many of these kids and gives them something positive to look forward to every day. My position not only helps keep them healthy, but it also gives me the opportunity to mentor young, up-and-coming trainers.”
Dr. Evan Meeks, orthopedic surgeon, enjoys working the sidelines at Pearland High School football games because it helps him stay involved in sports and his community. Dr. Meeks’ relationship with the team goes beyond making sure they’re able to perform at their best, he seeks to inspire them beyond the football field.
“In addition to attending the games, I like to visit the athletes weekly in the training room at the high school to monitor any injuries and rehabilitation. The relationship provides me the opportunity to educate high school student trainers about the medical field, patient care and orthopedic surgery. Hopefully, through these interactions I can stimulate interest in the medical field as a possible career opportunity.”
For more information on our orthopedic and sports medicine programs, visit http://ironman.memorialhermann.org/.