Former Kahuku defensive end aims to tackle medical field
From a white jersey to a white coat.
Seeing as he played at Kahuku High School and was a four-year starter at New Mexico State University, it's easy to think David Niumatalolo's passion would be football.
But the fact he went through college with a 4.0 grade point average and picked up academic All-American honors explains why he's enrolling at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.
"I think that it has been a lifelong passion or something that I was interested in like sports.," Niumatalolo said. "I was always interested in the human body and science and things like that."
Niumatalolo's love for biology sprouted from his global upbringing.
Before moving to Oahu as a teenager, the military family lived in several different places around the world.
The 26-year-old says he realized his true calling after a two-year church mission in Ghana.
"Seeing all the suffering and the things that people went through on a daily basis, it was something I wasn't used to growing up in the states," said Niumatalolo after receiving his white coat, which symbolizes entry into JABSOM. "I wanted to have the skills and the competency to help these kinds of people and something like a physician would be very helpful to them."
Niumatalolo's father, Jim, is more than proud with his son's achievements.
"He's just a good person and he's had a lot of good people around him," Jim said. "Family, friends, coaches, teachers, his church leaders, just good friends and he's been fortunate to have been able to accomplish these things."
While a hospital doesn't have quite the same feel as a stadium, Niumatalolo says he already sees several similarities between his old and new endeavor.
"Life is going to be hard," Niumatalolo said."There is going to be a lot of obstacles and stuff like that. Having the resiliency and the ethic to work past those trials is probably one of the main things I take away from sports."
And now the future doctor is off to his next practice.