It’s a big summer in Los Angeles for former Assumption High School and Hawkeye Football starter, Jake Gervase. As an undrafted rookie, Jake is ready to make his NFL dreams a reality at the LA Rams training camp, while his family, former teammates, and the Quad City community follow him with pride.
As the saying goes, “There is no letter ‘I’ in the word ‘team.’” Those who know Jake say he is one of those players who proves to coaches, teammates, and himself, that whether you’re a walk-on, injured, or starting for the Hawks, doing the work, no matter what your position, is the key to success. Just ask his physician and friend, Dr. Andrew Bries, Sports Medicine Surgeon, ORA Orthopedics, who has had a front row seat on Jake’s career for nearly a decade.
“I have known Jake since he was about 15 years old, and it’s been a pleasure to watch him play. As team physician for the Assumption Knights, I have seen many talented players here and throughout the Quad Cities, and Jake is just one of those outstanding individuals who isn’t afraid of hard work. He’s a can-do kid, always doing whatever is asked and it’s paying off now.”
It’s that can-do spirit that has carried Jake through two separate shoulder injuries while sliding into second base for the Knights’ baseball team. Throughout his high school injuries, Dr. Bries would fit Jake with special splints in the summer that would allow him to play high school football in the fall with a broken arm — all with the goal to protect his future collegiate career. Jake sustained his first injury as a sophomore, but it was the second injury, a torn labrum during the summer after high school graduation, that concerned both Dr. Bries and Jake for his walk-on freshman season for the Hawks. While he played and helped lead the Knights to take the State Baseball Championship in 2013 to cap off his high school career, the impending shoulder surgery prompted Jake to go ahead and redshirt his freshman year at Iowa. “I had great faith in Dr. Bries. He had been my doctor throughout high school, and he was always there when I needed him.”
Dr. Bries performed shoulder surgery that August and worked with the Hawkeye Football sports medicine team to ensure they were aware of Jake’s condition as well as his plans for rehab. “Obviously our goal was to make sure Jake’s surgery was not only successful, but that he could return to a high level of play for the Hawkeyes, and give his NFL dreams a real shot.”
Following Jake’s successful rehabilitation, he returned as a utility player, excelling whenever and wherever the Hawkeyes needed him. His hard work paid off, and Jake started 10 out of 13 games in the free safety position. Throughout his athletic career, Jake’s journey from an injured high school baseball player to trying out for the LA Rams has been followed by Dr. Bries, a Hawkeye fan himself. “I definitely bleed black and gold. It was great to sit at Kinnick Stadium and watch him grow and excel with every season. Jake is going to be successful whatever he sets his mind to accomplish.”
For Jake, now engaged to be married and looking toward a bright future, his gratitude is genuine for the friendship that developed with his team doctor throughout the years. “Dr. Bries has always been there for me. He kept me playing from the time I was a teenager. I remember times he’d let me come over to his house if I had any doubts or questions!”
“It has been such a privilege to have been a part of his athletic development,” says Dr. Bries. “I haven’t been a big fan of the pro game, but I’m cheering for the LA Rams, now.”