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From Seton Hall to Super Bowl

David Glover Jr., M.S. ’04, assistant athletic trainer for the Kansas City Chiefs, learned the fundamentals at Seton Hall.

By Molly Petrilla

Red, white and yellow confetti whirled past David Glover Jr., M.S. ’04 as he stood on the football field last February, emotions overflowing. “You’re so excited and you don’t even know where to go, what to do,” he says. “Everybody’s hugging, everybody’s crying. You’re looking for your parents in the stands. You’re grabbing confetti and feeling some of it in your pockets.”

“It’s like being a kid on Christmas morning,” he adds, “and getting every toy you’ve ever wanted.”

The Kansas City Chiefs had just won Super Bowl LVII, and as their assistant athletic trainer, Glover was there for every moment — just as he is for all the team’s practices and regular season games. Whether he’s fixing a tweaked knee, returning a post-surgery shoulder to full strength or helping prevent injuries on the field, it’s Glover’s job to keep Chiefs players healthy and safe.

“The biggest misconception I’d like to dispel is that athletic trainers just tape ankles,” he says. “There’s a lot more involved,” from countless rehab sessions and weight room workouts to treatment plan huddles and constant on-field monitoring.

Seven days a week for at least half the year, his alarm goes off at 4:05 a.m. for his own pre-work workout, and he doesn’t get home until after 8 p.m. — later on a game night. How many hours does he work in a week? “After a while, you just stop counting,” he says. “But I don’t ever feel like I can just take a day off or not be making the best decisions.”

It’s a job that Glover has dreamed of since he first learned about it in high school. After he strained his hip flexor during a basketball game his senior year, the school’s athletic trainer helped him recover — and then allowed Glover to shadow him. “I really fell in love with figuring out how the body worked and if something was broken on it, how you fix that,” he says.

He studied health fitness and exercise science at Central Michigan University. Then his academic adviser, Rene Revis Shingles — an award-winning athletic trainer and the first Black woman inducted into the Athletic Training Hall of Fame — suggested he consider Seton Hall for graduate school.

“They allowed us to be involved in everything in the training room,” Glover says of Seton Hall’s athletic training master’s program. “And they were big sticklers on knowing your anatomy and being good with your hands. That’s something that’s always stuck for me. In athletic training, your hands can tell so much more than your eyes can in terms of checking joint play or taping.”

He continued straight into a seasonal intern role with the New York Jets and joined the Chiefs in 2006. He’s been there ever since, including in 2013, when tight end Travis Kelce came onto the team — and then missed his rookie season due to a knee injury.

A recovered Kelce won the NFL’s Ed Block Courage Award the following year, selected by his teammates for showing sportsmanship and strength. “When my boss told [Kelce] he had won, the first thing he said was, ‘Well, I want to take DG with me to Baltimore when I go out there to accept the award,’” Glover says. “I was just dumbfounded that he would want to take me with him.” But after all, it was DG who had helped him day in and day out as he rehabbed his injury and began playing again.

In 2022, Glover himself was the one accepting an award: the Tim Davey AFC Assistant Athletic Trainer of the Year Award. “I was completely and totally blown away that I was nominated, and then to receive the award was more than I could have imagined,” he says.

That recognition and his two Super Bowl rings are certainly high points, but Glover says the most gratifying part of his job is helping an injured player get back on the field, and then watching him score his first touchdown or get his first sack. “The excitement when they come off the field and they thank you — that thank you is the most genuine one you may have ever gotten,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Kansas City Chiefs

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