One school’s loss is another school’s gain

Athletic trainer Robert Horowitz did not always plan on pursuing his profession and says he reached it by accident. Horowitz began his studies in political science at Cal. State Northridge, but then he decided to take a course on prevention and care of athletic injuries. Little did he know it would change his life in a major way. After taking the course, Horowitz’s instructor advised him to apply for the Athletic Training Department at CSUN.

“At that time, Northridge only allowed as many students [into the program] as were going out,” Horowitz said. “That year, seven students were going out and fourteen wanted to apply. They only took seven out of the fourteen, and I just happened to be one of those seven.”

After participating in CSUN’s program, Horowitz decided to stick with athletic training as a career. Horowitz was not a big sports player growing up. He had only ever participated in two sports: baseball and football. Horowitz never planned on becoming a professional athlete, but he did envision himself as a trainer and someone who could study sports medicine. After graduating from the athletic training program at CSUN, Horowitz was assigned a track and field team to overlook. Although Horowitz didn’t originally plan on becoming an athletic trainer, he didn’t go back to political science because he enjoyed the change in atmosphere.

“I liked knowing I wouldn’t be stuck in an office all day,” Horowitz said. “I can go outside and enjoy watching sports and get paid for it. Being indoors you don’t have fun, and watching sports and what’s going on was fun to me.”

Horowitz also enjoys watching sport games, especially team handball, which is also known as Olympic handball. Team handball is Horowitz’s favorite game, and he played it during high school. Team handball is a seven-on-seven game where the players catch, dribble, throw or hit the ball with their hands. Horowitz also participated in coaching a handball team.

“The game is best described as very similar to water polo on land,” Horowitz said. “You can say that it is like soccer with your hands.”

Athletic director Bob Lofrano believes Horowitz is a great addition to the athletic training facility. Because Horowitz had a long term position at Los Angeles City College, he had experience when he transferred over to Pierce. Horowitz has been working at Pierce College for seven years. Lofrano also believes the athletes respond to Horowitz really well when they visit the office to seek treatment for their injuries.

“Robert and Leonard Ramirez form a great combination to help our athletes stay healthy and to get healthy, once they get injured, to get them back on the field,” Lofrano said.

Senior athletic trainer Leonard Ramirez explained that he has know of Horowitz since the 1990s, but didn’t officially meet him until 2012. Their friendship began while he was subbing for another athletic trainer who left on maternity leave. Ramirez and Horowitz both worked in the same profession, but at different schools. Ramirez was working as the athletic director at Pierce, but wanted Horowitz to join him when the district decided to add a second trainer to the school. However, Horowitz denied Ramirez’s offer to transfer from L.A. City College to Pierce College three times. Furthermore, in 2009 L.A. City College decided to ban sports from their campus leaving Horowitz without a job.

“He was sitting at City with nothing to do. When my third assistant left, they basically told him, ‘Guess what? You’re coming to Pierce because we have no work for you at City,’” Ramirez said. “So he had no choice this time. I had to put the pressure on the district to get him over here, and now he is here.”

Ramirez wanted Horowitz as his partner because he believed his work ethic and knowledge would contribute to the department. Ramirez explained that while he and Horowitz may not always agree on everything, and they sometimes use different methods when treating an athlete, they get the job done together despite their differences. Ramirez also compared the relationship he shares with his colleague to the show that was played during the 60s and 70s, “The Odd Couple.” The show dealt with two roommates who would help each other in all aspects of life, despite their differences.

“One was a slob and one was a neat freak. He’s the slob and I’m the neat freak,” Ramirez said. “So he brings the opposite. We’re two polar ends and that’s what makes it work.”

Athletes that know Ramirez’s and Horowitz’s relationship witness their playful friendship when they tease each other. Ramirez describes his colleague as nurturing when it comes to dealing with the athletes injuries. His only concern is that L.A. City College may bring back sports, and he fears that Horowitz will take the job back as senior athletic trainer, because that is the school he originally transferred from.