The Damien High School Sports Medicine Program has once again distinguished itself as one of the best programs in the U.S. by placing fourth in its division at the 2018 American Academic Competition Institute’s (AACI) National High School Sports Medicine Competition Championships, May 16-23.
Led by senior Lili Gomez (St. Lucy’s Priory), Damien had four individuals earn All-American honors. Gomez placed second in the nation. It is the highest individual finish for the sports medicine program. Her brother John Gomez placed third in the nation in 2016. All-American honors also went to Esteban Arroyo (Upland, 14th), Alyssa Lopez (T-21st) and Alexa Olson (T-23rd). Contributing to the overall team score were seniors Andrew Carrillo (Ontario), Paige McCaslin, Beau Ramirez (Chino Hills), Jory Sandoval (Upland); juniors Jake Gonzalez (Sierra Madre) and Tori Castellanos; and sophomore Adrian Aragon.
Damien, competing in the Alert Services Division, faced off against teams from California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Anthony High School (TX), placed first in the division, followed by Klahowya High School (WA), and St. Francis High School (CA).
In its fourth year, the AACI High School Championship was the largest competition ever. Over 3,500 students representing 300-plus schools. The competition is divided into three sections: Cramer (2000+ student population), Jaybird & Mais Division (1999-1000), and the Alert Services Division (999-8).
Teams were scored on written and practical exams with mock patients in subject areas such as First Aid, CPR, emergency procedures, medical terminology, legal issues, physiology, anatomy (legs, angle, lower leg) and evaluation. After scoring was completed on the written and practical exams, the top ten individual student finalists were administered a 30-minute video practical. The video practical consisted of five applications of sports medicine skills that were graded by a certified Athletic Trainer with experience teaching at the high school level.
In 2009, Jessica Truax, Director of the Sports Medicine, established the program at Damien High School. In 2013, Damien joined the National Honors Society of Sports Medicine (NHSSM). In 2015, Gabrielle White (ATC) was named as the Head Athletic Trainer. In 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the Sports Medicine Program placed in the top 10 in the State of California at the annual NHSSM competition.