Sports Medicine class in critical condition?

On the first day of school, Dr. Tony Payan was a shining new face on campus. His 13th day of teaching sports medicine, however, would be his last at CHS.

“On Friday when I was working in the training room, everything seemed completely normal, and Dr. Payan was walking in and out and talking to people like everything was fine,” says Rebekah Lamb, an Advanced Sports Medicine student. “I walked into class…the next week and everything was taken off the walls, everything was completely cleared out of the room, and we had a substitute and were told that Dr. Payan had resigned.”

Since his resignation, the Sports Med program at the high school has gone through three substitute teachers and has been scrambling to compensate for Payan’s abrupt departure.

“I was shocked,” former Sports Med teacher Matt Borek says. “I’d been working closely with the teacher trying to acclimate him to the high school because it was the position that I had held for the past 11 years and so it definitely caught me by surprise. At the same time I wasn’t too surprised because he was kind of overwhelmed and buried with all the stuff he had to do.”

CHS Principal Rick Lopez echoes that he was surprised by the resignation as well.

“We certainly didn’t plan it that way nor would I have though that’s where it was going,” Lopez notes. “It’s unusual, highly unusual in school situations. Our first response was to talk to him: let’s settle some things without you having to resign.”

When this didn’t work, the school had to spring into action with Borek stepping up during the interim, substitute teachers coming in and the district sending out notice of an open position. Responses to the new position had to be dealt with quickly. After weeding through eight applicants, the district hired Jay Christensen on Sept. 17 who started at CHS on Thursday. According to Lopez, Christensen has had countless hours of experience and has even worked for the professional soccer team the San Jose Earthquakes.

Since Dr. Payan left, Borek has prepared all the daily lesson plans for the substitute teachers, tends to the injured athletes and attends the football games after school in case there are any injuries. As the new Health teacher, Borek is also learning and teaching new material for his four periods of Health, as well as teaching one period of Anatomy.

This unexpected taking-on of two jobs at once has seen Borek leaving his house at 7 a.m. and returning between 7-9 p.m. This has been Borek’s schedule for the past 11 years, and one of the main reasons he decided to become a Health teacher—he notes this was probably the hardest decision in his life—was so he could have more time with his family.

“When I got here the program was in shambles, and it’s something I’ve built up,” Borek says. “It’s kind of my baby, and I’ve worked really hard to get it where it is, and to see it spiraling out of control right now is hard. But at night when I’m playing with my 4-year-old and my 2-year-old, it’s a decision that I felt I had to make.”

To help alleviate some of his stress, former Health teacher Jeff Wright is teaching Borek’s seventh period block for three weeks. In addition, the Sports Med club president, senior Annabelle Scott, has taken on the leadership role and many of the responsibilities of managing the class.

“I don’t think Dr. Payan realized how involved and committed Borek had been to the program and how much after-hours time he put in,” Scott remarks. “Luckily, all the advanced Sports Med students had been trained incredibly well by Borek and were able to offer the services available in the past to the best of our abilities.”

As for the future, the new Sports Med teacher will be working closely with both the students and the athletes, a quality Lopez notes is unique and rewarding for both teacher and students.

“Even though I miss Borek, and I’m angry that Payan quit so unexpectedly, I am really excited for someone new to take over,” Scott says. “No matter how frustrating it’s been, as long as the Sports Medicine club has dedicated and passionate students, the class and club will continue to prosper.”

-Carly Rudiger