Daniel Compton originally went to Cabrillo College to play sports and then decided that he wanted to become a college football head coach. That decision led him to the Kinesiology program. After graduating from Cal State Monterey Bay with a B.S. in Kinesiology, he now is a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Athletic Performance Specialist for EXOS at the Tesla Factory in Fremont. Daniel also coaches Brazilian jiu jitsu, Muay Thai, and is team captain for SMASH Fighter in San Jose. He is currently a professional athlete fighting in the second largest MMA promotion for Bellator MMA. Daniel also owns an amateur fight promotion and hosts the Bay Area Combat podcast.
"I love what I am doing now. Competing as an MMA athlete combined with my work as a strength coach feels as if it goes hand in hand with my original football coaching aspirations," says Daniel.
Daniel credits the faculty for giving him a good foundation for transferring to a four-year university successfully and his later success.
"I loved the program – it taught me what hard work is and what is required to compete at a high level. I aspire to motivate my clients the way I was motivated by Cabrillo College's coaches and teachers."
As Associate Director of Sports Medicine at CSU Fresno, Jessica Gaubatz works with the women's volleyball and aquatics programs. Her special interest is in injury risk management, which includes identifying an athlete's risk for injury, then creating and implementing a plan to reduce chance of injury. She also applies her skills to performance enhancement and concussion management.
Her athletic training journey started at Cabrillo College where she enrolled in the Kinesiology intern program. Having been injured in high school and having worked with an athletic trainer, she was fascinated by the physiology of injury and healing and knew she wanted to become an athletic trainer.
Jessica has fond memories of the program, stating
"I really appreciate the time faculty took to teach skills and get into their decision-making processes. After I transferred to Fresno State, I saw how the hard work and hours accrued gave me a great foundation. I could excel in my professional program because of the comfort level and initiative that was encouraged by the faculty. I highly recommend the program."
As Head Athletic Trainer, Michael feels he’s come full circle. He started his career by taking the two athletic training classes and the lab class at Cabrillo College, before moving on to get a 4-year degree.
“The hands-on experience was incredible, and I was able to use the observation hours when applying to Long Beach State,” says Michael.
Michael graduated with a degree in Athletic Training and sat for the BOC Exam. The day before he got his exam results, Michael heard from Cabrillo College Athletic, who was looking for some help. Michael was happy to start working with Mark once he was certified.
He eventually became Assistant Athletic Trainer and then Head Athletic Trainer and now Manager, Athletic Training.
Michael loves his position, saying “It’s great. I work with all sports teams on campus, every day is different, and it keeps me on my toes.”
His advice for those thinking of going into athletic training is to get hands-on experience before working toward your degree to find out if you like it. The experience will also give you a step up when you go into a 4-year program.
Not knowing exactly what he wanted to do after high school, Jose took general ed courses and considered becoming an EMT. Jose knew he was interested in the health care system but not clear where. He had always played sports since he was kid, specifically soccer.
Jose says, “I was trying to figure out how to combine my interest in health care with my love of sports. With my childhood best friend, we found the sports medicine program and signed up. The instructor for the program invited us to an information day held at the athletic training room, showing us around and talking about the program. We both completed the program.”
Jose took a risk and moved down south before applying to the athletic training program at Cal State Fullerton – and he was accepted, while his friend transferred to Sacramento State. He graduated, saying he had a great experience there. He has since moved back to Santa Cruz County where he is now working toward a master’s degree at UC Santa Cruz in education and getting a teaching credential.
“I want to give a huge thank you to the Cabrillo’s Sports Medicine program staff who taught me a lot and helped me out.”
While attending Cabrillo, Andrew picked up tennis as a hobby. This led to shoulder pain, and he was directed to meet Mark Ramsey in the Athletic Training room. He asked Mark about the room, what he does, and what athletic training was all about. Mark suggested that Andrew join his class.
"I took the class, and everything took off from there,” says Andrew.
Andrew spent his time at Cabrillo helping Mark in the training room and taking classes. He had the opportunity to work as an intern with the Santa Cruz Warriors while at Cabrillo, and then later applied to Boise State University where he did his undergraduate work in Athletic Training.
After finishing his undergraduate work, Andrew returned home and worked at Cabrillo before taking on a seasonal contract with the Santa Cruz Warriors.
“Then I got a call from Boise State asking me to return to work with their tennis teams. Since I didn’t have my master’s degree yet, they offered their master’s of Athletic Leadership program. I’m in the program now and working as a graduate assistant athletic trainer. My future plans are to continue toward Physical Therapy and work in the professional tennis world.”
Andrew stresses the importance of networking, “I was provided a chance to work for the Nigerian National Basketball team before they went to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. I got the call because a person who worked with the team knew me from my past work experiences. I took the opportunity and ran with it.”
Growing up in Japan, Nao K. was in love with baseball. She started looking at careers that included this love. In Japan, a physical therapist certificate was the only option, Nao says. Then she came across athletic training programs in the U.S., learning that the career path was well-known here. She decided to come here to study. People told her that California had good schools and opportunities, so she visited Cabrillo.
“I came to check out Cabrillo and fell in love. I learned about the kinesiology program and the internships at the training room. I decided to do it for the two years to see how I liked it before moving on to an athletic training program,” says Nao.
Her time at Cabrillo was her first exposure to athletic training. Though at first she felt intimidated working with athletes, she loved the welcoming environment where people were open to teaching her and having conversations.
“That’s when I decided ‘this is it’ and to move forward with athletic training.”
Nao later graduated from the SJSU athletic training program and received her certification. While there she had the opportunity to work with the women’s gymnastic team and is finishing her graduate assistantship with the team.
She would like to work with Division 1 sports as she enjoys the interaction with athletes and learning from other athletic trainers. Maybe down the road she’d manage a high school or college team which she would find highly creative.