As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for the 50th anniversary of the AFL, we pause to remember one of the fallen members of the organization. Former athletic trainer Wayne Rudy, employed as a Chief from 1960-1983, died over the weekend in his Katy, Texas home.
Rudy was a member of the SMU football trainers' staff from 1947-1959 while a young man by the name of Lamar Hunt was on the team. That young man would later go on to purchase the Dallas Texans and hire Rudy onto the trainers' staff.
Willie Lanier played for the Chiefs from 1967-77, which means Rudy was the only trainer he had as a professional. The former Chiefs great and current Hall of Famer remembered Rudy (via the Mothership).
"I was saddened to learn of Wayne’s passing,” said Hall of Fame LB Willie Lanier, one of many former players who expressed their condolences. “For individuals outside the football world, it is hard to quantify how central Wayne was to our team as a member of the support staff. I always had complete confidence in the quality of care that I received in order to perform day-in, day-out, week-in, week-out.”
One of Mr. Rudy's most memorable moments was chronicled in a November 7th, 1966 article in Sports Illustrated by Edwin Shrake.
Click through to read a story on Sherrill Headrick, a broken thumb and Wayne Rudy.
Chiefs middle linebacker Sherrill Headrick had just stopped a Houston fullback on third down forcing the special teams unit onto the field. Headrick came running to the sidelines where trainer Wayne Rudy was tending to the ribs of Mike Garrett.
Headrick's thumb had been so badly broken it was twisted and nearly falling off his hand. He pleaded with Rudy to yank it back into place. The trainer had a different idea, however, suggesting they make a trip to the hospital. Headrick's tough as nails personality wouldn't let him do that.
"Yank on it, Rudy," Headrick said.
"I'm not going to yank on your thumb," Rudy replied.
"All right, then. You just grab hold the end of it. Grab it and don't let go."
Headrick then flopped on his back immediately jerking the thumb back into place. Good as....well, not good as new but enough for Rudy to "put one of those popsticle sticks on it." One of those popsticle sticks was the wooden sticks doctors use to push your tongue down when you say "Ahh." Using that as a splint, Rudy taped him up just in time to get him back onto the field just in time for the next defensive series.
Our thoughts and prayers go to the family of Wayne Rudy.
H/T NJChiefsFan in the FanShots