August 23, 2016 | Jacquelyn Hubbard

Matt Tao '07 is a surgeon for the New York Giants.

Fresh out of Duke University School of Medicine, Matt Tao ‘07 is going pro with the New York Giants this year—as a surgeon.

From August 2016 to July 2017, Tao will be an assistant team physician for the Giants as part of his fellowship in sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Tao graduated from Calvin in December 2006 with his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, and started medical school the following year at Northwestern University. He then completed an orthopedic surgery residency at Duke University, graduating in June 2016.

Improving quality of life

At Duke, Tao worked with different sports teams and performed various surgeries. “I fell in love with sports and working with the teams at Duke,” he said. “I loved working with the trainers, physical therapists and athletes. It was really fun.”

When it comes to medical practice, Tao has always seen himself working with sports teams. “The neat thing about it is saving quality of life—we deal with problems that are really debilitating for people. A joint replacement is truly a life-changing surgery, so it’s great to fix things and get people back in the game,” he said. “Seeing people do well after surgery is amazing, and it’s incredible to help people get back to doing what they want to do.”

Although working with sports teams at Duke was rewarding, Tao looks forward to working with the Giants on a professional-sport level. “It’s going to be really fun to see the organization and how they run things. I have a good sense of how a high-level college team works, and it will be fun to see how a professional team works,” he said.

A missional surgeon

Tao feels that his work with sports teams over the past few years has gone hand in hand with his vocation, and he is thankful for learning about that at Calvin.

“Calvin does a great job of emphasizing vocation as the intersection between faith and occupation,” he said. “Not everyone has to be a missionary, but we can all be missional in what we do. [My professors] were great at saying you can love Christ, love the world and be excellent at what you do—there doesn’t have to be a dichotomy.”

Tao hopes his future will be filled with more opportunities to practice sports medicine and work with teams. He also plans to continue forming valuable relationships, which has become a favorite part of his work.

“The aspect of getting to know patients and people I work with has been amazing,” Tao said. “The last few years have been really neat to watch people live their mission in [various] ways, both in work and in life outside of work. [Medicine] is a special field; it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation.”

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