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Wheeler Retires As Lafayette's Head Athletic Trainer

Audio from interview with

  • Don Wheeler on his retirement

    May 1, 2001

    EASTON, Pa. ( - Donald L. Wheeler, the head athletic trainer at Lafayette for the past 21 years, has announced his retirement, effective June 8, 2001.

    Wheeler arrived at Lafayette in August of 1980 and has served as one of the key personnel in the Leopards' sports medicine services to student-athletes.

    "It will be difficult to leave my friends at Lafayette," said Wheeler. "We have shared many wonderful moments, some etched in gold upon my memory and never to be forgotten. However, I am looking forward to retirement and all the wonderful experiences that retirement will bring to me and the entire Wheeler family."

    While at Lafayette, Wheeler co-authored two articles for The American Journal of Sports Medicine -- "Stress Fractures of the Sacrum, an Atypical Cause of Low Back Pain in the Female Athlete" and "Stress Fractures of the Femoral Shaft in Athletes - More Common Than Expected." He is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Athletic Trainers Association, the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society, Inc., and the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association.

    "The College and the department of athletics is very fortunate to have had 21 years of dedicated service and leadership from our head athletic trainer Don Wheeler," said Lafayette director of athletics Eve Atkinson. "We wish him the best and many years of happiness in his retirement."

    "I have had the extreme fortune of long working associations with three truly quality individuals in Lafayette's retiring director of health services and team physician Dr. Alan Johnson, former director of athletics Ole Kollevoll, and former head football coach Bill Russo," recalled Wheeler. "It was an honor to have been associated with them and the entire Lafayette College community. It has been a huge part of my life and I will miss it greatly."

    A 1962 graduate of Springfield College, Wheeler received a master's degree from Penn State University in 1967 and became a certified athletic trainer upon graduating from West Chester University's program in 1977.

    Following his certification, Wheeler served as head athletic trainer at Canisius College for one year before accepting the challenge of Director of Personnel for the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games, Inc. in 1978. He would later serve as the Director of Continuing Development for the Olympic Winter Games in 1980.

    The 61-year old Wheeler, a veteran of the United States Navy, has also been an assistant professor and director of athletics at North Country Community College in Saranac Lake, N.Y., and associate professor and director of physical education and athletics at Greenfield Community College in Greefield, Mass., prior to entering the athletic training field.

    The former secretary/treasurer of the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society, Inc., he served as the director of the National Junior College Ski Championship in 1970 and 1971, the director of the National Junior College Ice Hockey Championship in 1971 and 1972, and coached the sports of wrestling, lacrosse, cross country, baseball, and softball at the collegiate level.

    Wheeler and his wife Susan reside in Forks Township, and are the parents of two sons, Patrick and Andrew.