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Trainer Carpenter puts Bills players back on their feet

This is the fifth in a series of profiles on the 2016 inductees into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

By Jack Goods

News Sports Reporter

Name: Bud Carpenter.

Sport: Athletic trainer.

Hometown: Allegany, N.Y.

Born: Sept. 25, 1951.

Career overview: You may not know Bud Carpenter’s name, but you care immensely about his work.

Carpenter is the Buffalo Bills’ head athletic trainer, working to help players avoid and recover from injuries. He’s been with the team for 20 years in a full-time role, playing a part in five AFC championship games and four Super Bowls. He’s attended to four Pro Football Hall of Fame players and has remained a staple through nine different head coaching eras.

Memorable moment: Carpenter played a part in arguably the biggest medical story the Bills have ever seen – Kevin Everett’s injury. Carpenter and the rest of the medical staff rushed the field to attend to the tight end after he suffered a serious injury while defending a kickoff against the Denver Broncos.

Things didn’t look good for Everett, who suffered a cervical spine fracture. It would be a long journey back to even get close to normalcy.

“He wasn’t the first person we’ve taken off in that manner,” Carpenter said. “The actual part of that wasn’t as traumatic as learning what he had.”

Luckily, the training staff had practiced taking a downed player off the field nine days before Everett’s incident, which helped them orchestrate the treatment effectively. He and his staff were credited for their work by being named National Football League Athletic Training Staff of the Year by the Pro Football Athletic Trainers Society.

Although the injury ended his career, Everett can walk again and the two still stay in contact from time to time.

Working with the stars: Carpenter said it would be impossible to choose a favorite of all the players he’s worked with in his career.

“It isn’t just because of all the Hall of Fame players we’ve had that I’ve had a pleasure to work with,” Carpenter said. “There are so many great players that I’ve gotten to work with, great not always meaning football talent but just as people.

“From a Darryl Talley, to Steve Tasker, to Jim Kelly and Thurman, the list would go on and on. It’s 32 years worth of athletes I’ve had the privilege to work with.”

Connections are key: Carpenter began working with the Bills when training camp was hosted by his then-employer, Fredonia State College. He impressed the Bills brass enough for the team to hire him as a trainer for training camps and home games. He spent three years in that role until he was offered a job in the Boston Bruins’ training staff. A year later Carpenter would return to the Bills when head trainer Eddie Abramoski offered him the assistant trainer position.

Quotable: “Being in the limelight, in front of 80,000 people, with millions watching and the league monitoring every movement made, I’d say we’re under a microscope more than anybody else in athletic training.”

The GBSHOF induction dinner is Oct. 6 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Tickets can be purchased at email:

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