Athletic trainer doesn’t play games when it comes to athletes’ health

staff reports

Alejandro Gamboa, also known to students as ‘Dro,’ is an athletic trainer assigned to Cleveland from Seattle Children’s Hospital to educate students on how to build healthy life habits. In his job, Gamboa wears many hats, serving as everything from

Athletic trainer Alejandro Gamboa works for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

equipment manager to team doctor.
“I make sure practices are safe for kids and make sure no student athletes are participating with an injury that will cause a more severe injury,” he said.
Gamboa has made many helpful changes during his three years at Cleveland, but not in the typical ways you would expect from an athletic trainer. Since joining the athletic department in August 2016, he has put nutrition at the forefront of his priorities. When he noticed athletes were fatigued and hungry at the end of practice, Gamboa took the initiative to dig deeper, finding that the school meals provided were of low nutritional value and were not liked by the players. He collaborated with a nutritionist and another athletic trainer at the University of Washington and used their recipe to create a post-practice restorative smoothie. He organized teachers and volunteers to donate funds so there was no cost to the players.
From sanitation issues to individual student health, Gamboa is more interested in cultural change than structural change. He believes health changes should be firmly entrenched in our way of life.
“I probably help educate a lot of kids,” said Gamboa. “So, maybe just a cultural change, which is to me a little more important than a structural change.”

Cleveland’s athletic trainer Alejandro Gamboa, left, wraps Savion Galloway’s ankle during warm-ups at a football game against Lakeside on Oct. 19, 2018. Gamboa has taken on a role bigger than just athletic trainer. He teaches the teams about nutrition, encouraging players to live a healthy lifestyle.

Gamboa is proud of the impact he’s been able to make with students at a health-care level where he can present a rare glimpse into the medical field by following an athlete from injury to intervention, rehab and recovery. The main thing Gamboa wants for Cleveland is to leave a footprint.
“Whether that be really good sanitation for all the drinking supplies … whether it be a good ice machine for people; or just a certain kind of method of treatment and rehab for kids,” Gamboa wants students to know he tried to make a difference in their lives.
Whenever Gamboa is away from work, he likes to ski, cook and travel with his girlfriend.

Staff Reporter Taylor Moe contributed to this story.