After a middle school field day mishap, Matthew Cline hurt his knee and discovered the medical process.
The young boy was fascinated by his surgery and rehabilitation process â€“ so much so that he is now a student at Wake Forest Universityâ€™s School of Medicine.
To gain first hand experience, the 23-year-old has chosen his hometown. This way he gets to spend time with his family and reconnect with friends.
Thereâ€™s another perk: unlike some of his fellow students, everyone in Lincolnton can understand his accent.
â€œEven though itâ€™s not strong, itâ€™s definitely distinct,â€ Cline said. â€œ(At school) I have to repeat things occasionally.â€
Cline has his first week of hands-on experience behind him, but heâ€™ll be back three more weeks this year to work at the Lincolnton Medical Group shadowing Dr. Don Bias.
The comfort of home doesnâ€™t leave Cline when he steps into the doctorâ€™s office.
â€œEvery three patients I know, or they know me or someone in my family,â€ Cline said.
The medical students enjoys seeing so many familiar faces, and talking one-on-one with a patient is definitely not something he gets much practice with in the classroom.
â€œI think thatâ€™s a huge part of medicine â€“ being able to interact with people,â€ he said.
A fifth generation Lincolnton native, Cline has yet to map out his future, but the thought of settling long-term in Lincolnton definitely appeals to him.
Bias hopes Cline decides to settle here.
â€œThe way he is, it says a lot about our community,â€ Bias said.
Cline isnâ€™t the first medical student to shadow Bias. In fact, just last year, the doctor showed another Lincoln County native the ropes.
â€œIt think the biggest thing they learn is what itâ€™s really like to be in the real world,â€ said Bias.
As for Cline, heâ€™s back to hitting the books at Wake Forest University.
â€œItâ€™s a formidable challenge,â€ he said about medical school. â€œThereâ€™s nothing easy about it. If itâ€™s what you love, if itâ€™s what you want to do, itâ€™s worth the hours of studying on end.â€
by Sarah Grano