Athletic Trainer Honored by Colleagues
Released: April 13, 2006
MILWAUKEE – His career has spanned four decades. He has worked with more than 10,000 athletes. And next week (April 28) David Leigh, athletic trainer for Marquette University’s women’s soccer team and a clinical instructor in the university’s exercise science program, will be honored by being inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame.
Leigh was head athletic trainer for the university intercollegiate athletics from 1984 to 1999, when he added teaching duties to his schedule and helped develop the school’s athletic training major. A graduate of Cal State-Long Beach with a master’s degree from the University of Arizona, he was head athletic trainer at UW-LaCrosse before coming to Marquette. He has also served as an athletic trainer for USA basketball teams and for the Olympic Sports Festivals.
“You could not find a harder-working, more dedicated professional than David Leigh. He is recognized as a role model for his contributions to his profession, for his mentoring of students and for the hundreds of athletes he cared for,” said Jack Brooks, dean of the College of Health Sciences.
Rick Majerus, former basketball coach at Marquette and an ESPN analyst, described Leigh as “a giant in the profession. His ability to diagnose and then treat in an expedient fashion enabled Marquette to have tremendous success on the court.” Former Marquette star Jim McIlvaine, who went on to play in the NBA, said, “A great athletic trainer will make sure invincible 19-year-olds are listening to them and following their advice on keeping their bodies as healthy as possible, not just for the next season, but for the next 60 years. Dave Leigh was and still is a great athletic trainer.”
Leigh recalls how his profession has changed. When he started, there were no MRIs, no bone scans to diagnose injuries. There were no VCRs, DVDs or computers to assist with training regimens. Arthroscopic surgery was new. At its heart, however, Leigh believes athletic training is “still a people profession, and college students really haven’t changed.” He says he treats his athletes as he would his own two daughters.
“There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes to prepare athletes to compete, from stretching and warm-ups to dealing with injuries,” Leigh explained. “And beyond the physical, there’s the need of these young people to just talk to someone.”
Perhaps that’s why Marcus Roeders, women’s soccer coach, said, “His value goes beyond his athletic training expertise. He has impacted the lives of our players immeasurably.”
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