ITHACA, N.Y. (WETM) – It’s the end of an era for Cornell Athletics.

(Photo Courtesy: Cornell Athletics)

Legendary Head Athletic Trainer, Bernie DePalma has called it a career after 42 years. DePalma joined Cornell in 1980, as Head of Physical Therapy and Supervisor of Athletic Training and Rehabilitation. In 1983, the Quinnipiac and University of Virginia grad took the helm as Head Athletic Trainer.

Since taking the helm, DePalma made a huge impact on the school’s athletic training program. DePalma served on numerous NCAA committees, including the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport Safety, which he chaired, and the NCAA special committee on student-athlete welfare. In addition, he helped found the Cornell sports nutrition discussion group and managed programs to help aspiring athletic trainers.

For his outstanding work, DePalma received the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award and Thomas Sheehan Award for character, commitment, and achievement in athletic training by the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2001.

Over 42 years, DePalma served thousands of athletes and aspiring students in athletic training. Out of every sport in which DePalma worked, football may have garnered his largest impact. The longtime athletic trainer was on hand for over 400 Big Red Football games and practices, spanning 9 eras of coaching.

The full statement on DePalma’s retirement and legendary career can be found at