The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Keith Fitzpatrick - Inducted 2006

The father of athletic training in South Dakota, Fitzpatrick was an athletic trainer/physical therapist for more than 50 years. A graduate of Sioux City Trinity High, Morningside College and the University of Iowa Physical Therapy School, Fitzpatrick started his athletic training career with the Sioux City Soos baseball team from 1950-53. He then served as a physical therapist in Omaha for one year and Mitchell from 1955-93. Beginning in 1957, he also served as the athletic trainer for Notre Dame High School in Mitchell. In 1970, when Notre Dame closed, he became head athletic trainer at Mitchell High School, continuing until 1992. He worked as an honorary athletic trainer for Mitchell High School and as chief physical therapist for Avera St. Benedict Healthcare Center in Parkston until about age 80. He treated thousands of athletes across the state. For years, he treated athletes at the hospital for free.

"Aside from being a tremendous asset to sports in terms of being a great trainer, he's just a terrific guy to have around the kids because they all love him," said Mitchell basketball coach Gary Munsen. "He puts so much time in it's unbelievable. He's so dedicated he'll see an injured kid any time of the day or night."

Fitzpatrick started the student trainer program at Mitchell High. He is a charter member and past president of both the state athletic trainers association and the physical therapy association and is in the hall of fame of both organizations. He also was elected to the National Athletic Trainers Association regional hall of fame.

More important than the honors and awards is the positive influence Fitzpatrick has had on the lives of thousands of high school students and student athletic trainers.

At Trinity High (now Heelan), he played in the first football game held at Roberts Stadium in 1942. He also played football at South Dakota State before transferring to Morningside. He was interviewed to be the first athletic trainer of the Minnesota Vikings.

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