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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Dake Walden: the man behind the ice pack

With over 30 years of athletic training experience at various levels, including the National Football League, you’d think Dake Walden would speak highly (and often) of his decorated career – yet few know of his colorful journey to California State University, Stanislaus.
Roughly 200 athletes are privileged to walk through the training room doors of Ed and Bertha Fitzpatrick arena with the intent of preventing injury, treating an injury, (or for the lucky few) maintaining their healthy body.
Dake Walden was hired in December of 2010 as the Head Athletic Trainer where he would join long-time athletic trainer Gary Hogan to serve Warrior student-athletes.
“Who was the most famous player you worked with?”
I had to dig. All I wanted was for him to name drop.
He answered with a smirk, as if to say it was no big deal – or maybe to acknowledge people’s fascination with celebrities.
I dug deep into every ESPN sound bite I had stored and recalled that Kurt Warner had reign of the Rams during Walden’s era.
“C’mon Dake, I know you’re being modest. Did you meet Kurt Warner?”
“Yeah, I know Kurt. Great guy. Ninety percent of the NFL guys are ones you’d want hang out with, have dinner, stuff like that,” he went on. “It’s the other 10 percent you always read about in the news.”
Walden earned a Superbowl XXXIV Championship ring during his 17-year stretch with the Rams franchise.
Walden grew up in a small town in Texas where his father ran a county ambulance.  When his father was short-staffed, Walden (around the age of fourteen) was drafted for an extra set of hands and was usually responsible for driving the ambulance.
“You grow up pretty quick seeing what could happen with one bad decision being fatal,” Walden said.  “It was definitely an eye-opening experience.”
Walden later began his career as a student athletic trainer at West Texas State University prior to transferring to the University of Colorado where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. He followed that with a Master’s degree in Education from Stanford University.
Prior to working with the Rams, Walden served as a member of the Stanford University Athletic Training staff for 12 years. His wealth of experience also included working as a trainer at the baseball venue, Dodger Stadium, for the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles.
When asked if he would be finishing his career with us here at CSU Stanislaus, he replied, “Not anytime soon, unless you know something I don’t?”
A man of few words, he is.
Maybe I’m just a star-struck small town girl – meeting someone new is rare, let alone rubbing elbows (literally, in Walden’s case) with starting quarterbacks for a professional team. Regardless, Walden is one of the few who would speak so modestly about his experience.
“We all know Dake as the quiet one,” Natalie Rendon, third year pitcher for the Warriors, said.  “But he has that sense of humor you can’t help but appreciate.”

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Dake Walden: the man behind the ice pack