Head Athletic Trainer (retired) Detroit Lions
Aiken, South Carolina
"I am very proud to be a graduate of the University of Iowa, and I really try everyday to show my appreciation."
Kent Falb will be the first to tell you he is a lucky man. He will also be the first to tell you personal connections, being in the right place at the right time, and taking advantage of every chance he was given, led him on the career path of a lifetime, which included 34 years of athletic training with the Detroit Lions.
" Sometimes I am still so in awe of all that has happened, it’s incredible," Falb said. "I think I have had the most unique career path of any athletic trainer."
Retired since 2000, Falb began his career in athletic training before completing his undergraduate degree, something that would never happen today, he said.
With three months of experience in athletic training with the U.S. Military Academy, Falb began working for the University of Iowa Athletic Department during his sophomore year. Following the death of one of his superiors, a rapid string of events during the winter of his sophomore year landed Falb with a set of keys to the Field House and the title of Assistant Athletic Trainer.
By the time he was 22 years old, Falb had four years of athletic training experience under his belt. Following the completion of his undergraduate degree, Falb spent two summers with the Minnesota Vikings. In another chance happening, Falb received a call from Boston College, who was eager to recruit Falb for their staff.
Falb set off for Boston almost immediately and returned some months later to complete his physical therapy clinical rotations at the University of Iowa.
" I was so gracious for the opportunity at Boston College," he said. "I could hardly believe I was granted the permission to leave school to begin my career there, and still be able to return to complete my rotations."
" These kinds of things just don’t happen to people, it’s really incredible," he said. "Everything has gone my way."
It just so happens that the man who had been an assistant coach with the Minnesota Vikings during Falb’s time there, was hired as Head Coach of the Detroit Lions, landing another prime opportunity in Falb’s lap. He began as an assistant athletic trainer in 1966 and was head athletic trainer for the Lions from 1967-2000.
" It’s rather ironic, really, because the Lions are one of five teams to never have reached the Super Bowl, but I have been graced a Super Bowl career," Falb said.
Taking great pride in his career accomplishments, Falb makes it a top priority to always find ways to give back to the field. Having held several leadership positions on multiple boards and associations including the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and the Professional Football Athletic Trainer’s Society, Falb continues to enjoy each and every opportunity he is given.
In June Falb will be recognized with the 2004 University of Iowa Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for Achievement, an honor he said he almost couldn’t believe.
" I was absolutely stunned," he said. "I feel like a small person in a land of giants. The University of Iowa has so many distinguished alumni, I have a hard time believing all that has happened."
Falb is greatly appreciative of his years at the University of Iowa and the work ethic he learned. The opportunities he was given have taken him beyond education, he said.
" I am very proud to be a graduate of the University of Iowa, and I really try everyday to show my appreciation," he said.
Since his retirement in 2000, Falb has spent time traveling, and enjoying time with his family.
" I am a lucky man," he said. "Life is good."
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