The announcement of the retirement of Associate Head Athletic Trainer, Dave Carrier, is a moment to look back on a career of service; remembering his decades of dedication to Spartan athletes.
But none of it would have been possible if not, for the Vietnam War.
“So I’m a nineteen-year-old kid, scared right out of my mind because the Vietnam War is going hot and heavy,” said Carrier. “I get drafted into the Army, you know they shave your head and they give you these fatigues. These green uniforms you wear and you have no idea what you’re doing.”
Carrier was stationed at Ford Hood, down in Killeen, Texas where his high school typing classes came in handy. He was made the company clerk, taking care of the mail and typing up reports. His service in the Army earned him a college education thanks to the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill.
Carrier decided to attend Ferris State University, to pursue a bachelor’s of science degree in physical education.
“As luck would have it I wanted to be a coach I took an athletic training program and the head trainer said, ‘would you work with me during spring football and I’ll give you a six credit-A if you do that,'” said Carrier. “By goodness I took the six credit-A and I never looked back and I feel in love with athletic training and still am.”
Carrier completed his bachelor’s degree in 1979 and a master’s degree in athletic training from Central Michigan in 1983. In 1984, he began working with Michigan State Head Athletic Trainer, Dr. Sally Nogle.
“Obviously Dave’s been a part of my family for 36 years and he’s like a brother to me,” said Nogle. “I bounce stuff off him every single day talk to him about all the issues he’s my associate so he helped me with the whole program drive the whole program. He’s been a mentor to may and he’s a great colleague, so he’s go gonna be really missed.”
After a career that earned him an induction into the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame, Carrier reflected on how his path might have changed at any moment.
“If I don’t get drafted and go in the Army, I don’t know what happens to me,” said Carrier. “Like all paths in everybody’s lives, paths just come and go like branches on a tree. Maybe I become an insurance salesman maybe I pump gas. I just wanted to take care of people and help people I never knew I could get this far in the profession. It found me I didn’t find it.”
As for his plans for retirement, he told us he’ll definitely play some more golf but he’s starting by wearing more relaxed outfits.
“I haven’t worn blue jeans since I was nineteen-years-old, I’ve been in blue jeans for two weeks now and I’m like hey this ain’t all bad so we’ll see, we’ll see where it goes,” said Carrier.
Carrier also told our 6-Sports Team, that he’s happy with how the Michigan State Hockey program will be left after his departure and knows they’ll find the right person, to take his post.