Mar 6, 2020
Cincinnati Bengals’ Sparling wins ‘NFL Athletic Trainer of the Year’

In his 42-year tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals, head athletic trainer Paul Sparling has done it all.

Cincinnati Bengals' Sparling wins 'NFL Athletic Trainer of the Year'
Photo: Erik Eckel / CreativeCommons

So when Sparling was awarded with one of the NFL’s most prestigious awards for athletic trainers at February’s 2020 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana, it was surprise to nobody — except for Sparling himself.

According to an article written on the Bengals’ official team website, Sparling was surprised with the award in Indianapolis as Bengals head physician Marc Galloway suddenly appeared at the podium during a medical event.

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It was at the podium that Galloway would make the announcement — complete with a video from former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason — that Sparling would be the recipient of the Fain Cain Memorial Award for Outstanding NFL Athletic Trainer of the Year.

“Paul has exceptional clinical skills,” Galloway said in the feature on “He was a real resource to me when I was coming in and someone I’ve depended on and learned from … The clinical pearls you can pick up from a seasoned athletic trainer are invaluable.”

And not only was the award and tribute video itself a surprise — but the Bengals also managed to surprise Sparling by making sure his wife, Karen, son Kenneth and daughter Natalie were in attendance to celebrate the achievement.

“The paperwork required by the NFL is just mind-boggling,” Galloway added. “For him to be able to organize that as well as provide clinical services and the educational services with student athletic trainers and fellows, he’s a Renaissance man in terms of the skills he provides for the club.”

To read more about Sparling’s legacy with the Cincinnati Bengals and his impact, click here to read the full article from


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