Senior associate athletic trainer reflects on helping propel USA Luge to first Olympic medals

February 23, 2018

Smith smiles with an Olympic medal.

As American athletes continue to make life-long memories and earn medals at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, a member of #BobcatNation is reflecting on his unique perspective in America’s quest for glory.

Dan Smith, senior associate athletic trainer and part-time professor of athletic training, worked full time with the USA Luge team for 13 years and was involved in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 games. As part of his efforts, USA Luge earned its first Olympic medals in 1998.

“Representing our country in athletic competition on one of the biggest stages was one of the highest honors I have ever had,” he said. “I love the diversity of sports that compete.”

Smith, as head athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach for USA Luge, focused on helping athletes on their strength and conditioning techniques. He also taught the athletes how to prevent injuries and treated them throughout the games. The most common injuries he treated were ice burns, contusions, lacerations, neck pain, back pain and wrist injuries.

A fan of the Olympics since the 1980 Lake Placid games, he continues to cheer on Team USA.

Today, Smith uses his experience with USA Luge, as he works with the athletes of Quinnipiac’s men’s ice hockey team and School of Health Sciences students.

School of Health Sciences

“My manual therapy skills advanced so much while working with the team due to the fact that there is so much travel involved and very little equipment available to use,” he said. “The support of the United States Olympic Committee allowed me to take numerous advanced manual therapy educational courses to benefit the athletes.”

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