When an athlete is injured during a game, the personnel who run out to help are members of the athletic training staff. And for the fans watching the game, that’s usually the only time they really think about the folks from the sports medicine/athletic training department.
But the on-field work is far from all the sports medicine/athletic training program does.
“Our job encompasses many different areas,” said director of athletic training John Carpenter. “Our biggest areas are injury prevention. We also deal with stretching, taping and hydration. Many people are under the misconception that the only thing you do as an athletic trainer is chase helmets at a football game and do water, but our job is so much more than that.”
Teaching is also major component of their mission.
“Education is key and paramount to everything that we do, Carpenter said. “The more that we can educate our athletes and our cadets — because we also have responsibilities within the corps of cadets — the better.”
The education program is designed to align with the athletic training education programs at certain four-year universities. As apart of theHealth, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) program at NMMI, the Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) offers a number of classes, allowing interested cadets to take some of their required lower division coursework at NMMI.
And, as part of a partnership formed in 2008 with New Mexico State University and Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, students who enter into NMMI’s ATEP can transfer seamlessly into NMSU’s program and finish their degree in athletic training.
The athletic trainers on staff also work very closely with the Marshall infirmary, effectively extending the availability of athletic training services to the entire Corps of Cadets.
The department includes two full-time certified athletic trainers and a part-time assistant as well as a half-dozen or so student assistants. The staff also works closely with Dr. Earl Latimer, a Roswell orthopedic surgeon who serves as the team doctor.
The department is currently housed downstairs in the Cahoon Armory, with a training room, whirlpool, ice machine, coolers and training tables. Included in plans for remodeling NMMI’s premier athletic facility are upgrades to the SM/AT facilities, including offices and additional whirlpools.
John Carpenter - Director of Sports Medicine & Athletic Training
Carpenter is in his third year as NMMI’s director of athletic training.
Born and raised in Albuquerque, Carpenter’s grandfather, SSgt William R. Carpenter, was
A member of the National Athletic Trainers Association since 2000, he is a graduate of the University of New Mexico, with a 2001 bachelor’s in athletic training and 2007 master’s in physical education with an emphasis on sports administration.
He was head athletic trainer at Bernalilllo High School in 2013; head athletic trainer at New Mexico Highland University from 2008-2012; and UNM graduate assistant from 2004-2006. He served a two-year summer internship with the San Diego Chargers in 2000 and 2001.
Carpenter is also an associate member of the Justin Boots Sports Medicine Program, working with rodeo athletes in New Mexico when time permits.
He is single and enjoys playing golf, hunting, fishing and attending various professional and minor league baseball games.
David Smith - Assistant Athletic Trainer & Athletic Training Instructor
David Smith received his Associates Degree from Southwestern College in 2001, his Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education from Biola University in 2004, and is currently working on a Master's Degree in Education.
He started his training career at the Navy's Logistics Support Unit Medical Rehab Center in San Diego, CA; was an assistant athletic trainer for the Justin Sports Medicine Team at bull riding and rodeo events; was athletic trainer and medical coordinator for several athletic events in Diamond Bar, CA, including the West Coast Footlocker Classic and Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitaional & Relays; spent a summer as the head athletic trainer for Vogelsinger Soccer Academy's international soccer camp; and was the athletic trainer fort he Straz High School and Junior High Lacrosse teams.
This will be coach Smith's second season as an athletic trainer for the New Mexico Military Institute.