by Matthew Parsons
A guardian angel for all at St. John Bosco, Ms. Melody Mohebbi, known by many student-athletes simply as “Ms. Mel,” serves as both the Head Athletic Trainer as well as the Pathway Coordinator for Sports Medicine.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Ms. Mel and her family weren’t tethered to any single place, constantly moving across the country. She grew up in a relatively average sized household, and it was only her, her parents and brother. Like those she treats now, she was an athlete in her youth. Coming from an athletic family, she went down the path of being a gymnast and a swimmer as a child.
“I grew up in an athletic family. My mom was actually a gold medalist in diving. And my dad was a basketball coach,” said Ms. Mel.
However, her athletic career was cut short after an injury to her arm. Although she had to give up her competitive career in sports, this injury actually gave her inspiration to later become an athletic trainer.
Since she was constantly moving across Iran, she wasn’t able to stay at a singular school. Somewhat similar to St. John Bosco, the schools in Iran are single-sex, rather than co-ed. She eventually went on to attend university after her high school years and studied geology. Although Ms. Mel never struggled with grades, she regrets that she did not try harder in school.
“I really didn’t care about grades, never did growing up. I wasn’t a bad student, but I wasn’t getting straight A’s. I’m being honest; I was a very procrastinating person. I would always, always – I’m not even kidding you when I say – I would study the night before,” said Ms. Mel.
She originally attended university in Iran, obtaining a degree in geology. She always wanted to work in the medical field, dating back to when she was just a child. Her dream profession was actually to be a doctor, but due to the harsh medical field in Iran, she opted for geology.
“I always wanted to do stuff in the medical field but in Iran, but it is very, very difficult to get into, so that’s why I went with the second best thing that I liked,” said Ms. Mel.
At the age of 24, Ms. Mel made the huge decision to leave her home country to the completely foreign place of England. She claimed asylum in England in order to escape the country, which opened up her horizons and gave her more opportunities for work.
Working at St. John Bosco was not Ms. Mel’s first working experience. In England, she worked with the women’s Manchester City soccer team and the Manchester Sharks rugby team. She also owned two of her own training clinics over the course of two years.
However, this is the first and only job she has had in the United States, and getting the position of Head Athletic Trainer at Bosco was by chance. Before she was recommended to take the position, she had never even heard of the school. Being desperate for a full-time job for her work visa, she decided to take up the position, and by no means was it an easy road after that. Bosco was her first experience working with kids, as opposed to her other jobs with just adults and professionals.
Being the only athletic trainer at a school like St. John Bosco was extremely difficult for Ms. Mel. She was constantly working alone and, for many years, was under a huge amount of pressure to make sure things were always going well. She had to work to make sure that in each sport the athletes were safe and always getting the proper care and treatment that they needed.
It got to the point where she was dealing with a severe burnout, and she didn’t know if she would be able to continue working at Bosco. Thus, she requested an assistant, leading the way for Mr. Coreyon Edwards to join the athletic training staff.
Through all of the trials and tribulations of being the head Athletic Trainer, Ms. Mel has still kept good relationships with the students at Bosco.
“She’s really nice and very easy to work with whenever you need help,” said senior Nate Burrell, a defensive end on the football team.
Funnily enough, Ms. Mel never imagined that she would end up as a teacher. She imagined that it wouldn’t be a good fit for her, even though both of her parents were professors. Yet, here at Bosco, she’s ended up teaching many Bosco students in the Sports Medicine Pathway.
“I never, ever thought I would be a teacher. I never liked it, even though both of my parents are professors,” said Ms. Mel.
Despite not ever thinking that she would end up as a teacher, she has still done a great job.
“She really keeps the class engaged through her practical and hands-on teaching style,” said senior Michael Carbone, a member of the Sports Medicine pathway for all four of his years at Bosco.
Ms. Mel really does love the Bosco community, believing in the family-oriented mission of the school. And even though most Bosco students only know Ms. Mel as a teacher or an athletic trainer, she also enjoys spending time with her friends and has recently picked up the hobby of designing and handcrafts.