Kleinschmidt’s distinguished career as an athletic trainer includes 40 years in the NFL and three seasons in Division I college athletics. Prior to joining the Lions, he completed three seasons (2004-06) as the head athletic trainer for Indiana University’s football program.
Previous to his stint at Indiana, Kleinschmidt was the head athletic trainer for the Washington Redskins (2002-03). For a two-year period, he worked in the private sector as the administrative director at East Jefferson Hospital Wellness Center in Metairie, La. (2001-02).
For 31 years, Kleinschmidt served as an assistant (1969-70) and head athletic trainer (1971-99) for the New Orleans Saints. He was promoted to head athletic trainer in 1971, becoming the NFL’s youngest ever head athletic trainer at the age of 24.
Kleinschmidt is a 1970 graduate from Indiana University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in health and safety and a major in athletic training. His work has been well-recognized throughout his career, and he is an inductee in the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame (2008), Southeastern Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame (2007), New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame (2002), National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame (1994) and the Louisiana Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame (1990).
In 2003, Kleinschmidt was awarded the National College Football Foundation Athletic Trainer of the Year, and he has received distinguished awards from Indiana University and the U.S. Sports Academy.
In 1986, he directed an athletic training department for the Saints that was named the NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year.
In addition to his duties over the years, Kleinschmidt has coordinated all sports medicine efforts at the Senior Bowl All-Star Game in Mobile, Ala., since 1971. He also has served on the board of directors and as president, including three terms, of the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society. During his career, Kleinschmidt has been a member of two NFL advisory committees to the Commissioner: Drugs of Abuse & Alcohol and Anabolic Steroids & Related Substances.
Dean and his wife, Marlene, have a son, Rhett, and a daughter, Morgan. Rhett, who played wide receiver at Indiana University, is now a sports weekend anchor and reporter for the NBC affiliate WHDH-TV in Boston. Morgan is a senior at Louisiana State University.
This week’s Monday Countdown is about opportunity, and the fragile line teams operate on from week to week and the impact on the Lions after three games.