WVU's Spiker Receives Top Athletic Training Honor - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU's Spiker Receives Top Athletic Training Honor

Spiker motions to a wall full of current and former WVU coaches and players' signatures. Spiker motions to a wall full of current and former WVU coaches and players' signatures.
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MORGANTOWN -

John Spiker is preparing for his 38th season with the Mountaineers.

His goal as coordinator of athletic medical services is to make sure West Virginia University's athletes stay healthy and that in turn, he goes unnoticed.

But on June 28th, Spiker will definitely be noticed. He'll be recognized as he is inducted into the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame, the highest honor in his profession.

"It's a peer group selecting, so evidently they think you've done something to contribute to the profession," says Spiker. "It's an honor and I'm certainly going to enjoy it."

A Bruceton Mills native, Spiker completed his undergraduate degree at WVU in 1969 before beginning his career.

Stops at North Carolina and Pitt ultimately brought him back to his alma mater in 1975 and in the years since, he has made his impact within the athletics programs and at Health Works, a rehabilitation and fitness center in Morgantown.

Those who have gotten to know him know how valuable he is to the Mountaineers program not only on a professional level, but a personal one too.

"If there's one person you should get to know in Morgantown, it's John Spiker," says WVU assistant football athletic trainer Tony Corley. "If you do absolutely everything you should do, he'll go to bat for you and he'll do everything he can to help you."

Corley speaks from experience not only as a colleague, but as a former student of Spiker's who graduated from WVU's program only to find his way back to the football team. He shares that same advice with student trainers as well as the athletes who come through his door and it is evident that many of them listen.

"He did a lot for me," former WVU quarterback Major Harris said. "From just being around and talking to him, he did a lot for my career and for a lot of Mountaineers."

Evidence of this is posted on a wall inside Health Works. Framed photos of players and coaches who Spiker has come to know while working at WVU line the hallway, a symbol of the relationships he has built in his time in Morgantown.

"He's a great, positive person," former WVU linebacker Anthony Leonard added. "The energy that he brings to work, the energy that he brings on game days and everything – John is definitely a special person."

Spiker cherishes that sort of relationship now more than ever before. He says many of his students have gone on to get jobs in college sports, the NFL, the World Tennis Association and plenty of leagues in between after gaining their degree from West Virginia.

"At this stage of my career, the thing I think I enjoy most is helping kids get jobs," says Spiker. "I rarely will see a game on TV where I don't know somebody."

Spiker may be nearly 40 years into his profession, but he doesn't consider himself a master in the field. He is constantly looking to learn more and more to continue growing as an athletic trainer, taking several continuing education sources each year to make sure he stays on top of the latest innovations in the medical world.

"Almost daily when [Spiker] comes in during the football season, he'll grab you and he'll say, ‘Hey, look what I learned today,'" says Corley. "For somebody who has been in the profession for so many years to still be learning teaches me that I have a lot to learn still."

When you ask those who know Spiker what they think of his upcoming induction in St. Louis, the response is typically that it is long overdue.

Spiker has three former students already in the Hall of Fame and now he will join their ranks.

"I'm kind of a late-comer," Spiker says. "It will be fun and exciting and I'm sure there will be a lot of lies and tales told. Some of them will be true."

The stories Spiker could contribute to the discussion from decades on the sideline at WVU could fill a book. Through his relationships across the sporting world, though, so many already know his tale.

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