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Remembering Pauly D—a most special man

October 8, 2015

The athletic training community lost a dear friend on Sept. 4 with the passing of Paul DeMartinis, director of sales and marketing for Medco Sports Medicine. “Pauly D” was a huge proponent of athletic training and many in the field have lost a best friend. He would have turned 60 on Sept. 16.

Paul died in his town of Tonawando, N.Y., located just north of his birthplace of Buffalo. He graduated from Bishop Fallon High School in 1973, and from Canisius College with a degree in business management in 1977. Paul loved sports, and athletics was always a huge part of his life. He played Buffalo MUNY baseball for the North Side Giants in the 1970s, and coached his sons in Little League and hockey. He was a Buffalo Bisons season ticket holder since 1988, and in 2006 was named the team’s Fan of the Year. He also was a Buffalo Bills season ticket holder for all but one year since 1973.

Paul served two terms on the Board of Certification Board of Directors, and in 2012 received the Dan Libera Service Award for outstanding service to that organization. The Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society recently announced the Paul DeMartinis Scholarship Fund to benefit minor league athletic trainers and PBATS internship candidates.

Paul leaves behind his beloved wife of 36 years, Peggy; his children Maria, Brian and Mark; and a brother, William.

Brian Ross deeply misses his co-worker. “I worked with Pauly for 25 years at MedCo,” says Brian. “He was my boss, mentor, and friend, and I always knew he was special. He was always laughing, singing, and joking. He loved music and had a huge record collection. He may have single-handedly brought vinyl back, because his basement is filled with hundreds of records--oldies, current, everything.

“We threw a benefit for Pauly in July, and more than 800 people showed up. Prizes, giveaways, and all the other things needed for the benefit were donated by people from across the country. Everyone wanted to help because it was for Pauly D—no other reason. Everyone who knew him loved him. On July 29, I got an email from his wife saying they were stopping Paul’s treatments because it wasn’t going to work. Everyone was upset. Then she sent me a text: Paul wants to know how you’re doing. That’s the kind of man Paul was—always thinking of everyone else. It’s hard to accept that he’s gone. It’s going to take time, and I’m trying to focus on all the fun times I had with him.”

“Pauly D was a special man,” says Denise Fandel, executive director of the BOC. “We came to know Paul when Medco became an approved provider with the BOC, offering CEUs at no cost to athletic trainers. He was highly recommended to fill a position on our board, and was appointed to one of the three non-credentialed spots on the board in 2006.”

One of the BOC’s responsibilities is to ensure that the exams and standards produce competent ATs, Denise explains. “Pauly’s focus was always on what the BOC was doing to protect the public, and he always reminded us that we’re here to make sure that patients receive the best possible care. If anything came up about that, we knew Paul would be the one to ask the question. He was well respected by the board, and was elected treasurer in 2009 and held that position until he went off the board in 2012. Paul did a lot to help us move to our downtown offices, and helped put the BOC on firm financial footing. Most importantly, he was a great role model--a highly ethical man of remarkable character, integrity and honesty. The BOC is naming a conference room after Paul, and we’ll be talking with his family about how to most appropriately recognize Paul in the area of public advocacy in the athletic training community.”

Dave Groeschner, head athletic trainer for the San Francisco Giants, first met Paul in 2000. “He was a super friendly person, and not a pushy salesman at all. He was just really fun to talk to—he even made it fun to order supplies because he was such a fun -loving guy. Even though he was from Buffalo, he was a Giants fan going back to when the team was in New York. He would send a text when we were in the playoffs, and he shared his excitement when we won the World Series. Our relationship started out as professional, but it also became personal because he enjoyed our team so much.

“Pauly was there every year at the baseball winter meetings. He showed us the new stuff he had for the year, but we talked more about the team. He had a vested interest in our guys and what we were doing, but he was also doing his job and helping us out. He and his guys at Medco were always there to help us out when we needed something. Such good people. They cared about our athletic trainers and our team. My staff and I will miss Pauly so much.”

The industry has lost a true treasure. Paul D made an invaluable impact on the profession of athletic training and the field of sports medicine that cannot be calculated or put into words. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.