“The Only Easy Day, Was Yesterday”


Don Kessler, MEd, ATC is the Athletic Trainer for BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, CA. He has held that position for 10 years, overseeing SEAL candidates in training.

Kessler has been an Athletic Trainer for 48 years, working at the Naval Academy, Princeton University and Delran High School (NJ). He was the Head Athletic Trainer at Rutgers University for 18 years, and also served that position at San Diego State. He was the primary athletic trainer for the gold-medal U.S. Olympic crew team at the 2004 Games in Athens. He has also worked and traveled with U.S. Soccer teams (men’s and women’s World Cup), USRowing and USA Water Polo.

Kessler is the past President of the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey (ATSNJ), and from 1993-94 he was President of the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA). He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation. In 1996, he was recognized for distinguished service by both the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey (ATSNJ), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the ATSNJ in March 1998. Over the last several years, Kessler has been inducted into the Riverside and Delran High School Hall of Fame, as well as the University of the Ozarks and Rutgers University Hall of Fame. In 2017, he was named the Civilian of the Year for the Naval Special Warfare Center and the Riverside High School Alumnus of the Year.

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