When Cleveland High School Athletic Coordinator Larry Chavez had to replace athletic trainer Karen Casedy, who announced she was leaving the Storm to teach at the University of New Mexico, he didn’t have far to look for her replacement.
Jeff Archuleta had been the trainer, plus a teacher of health, physical education and sports medicine at La Cueva High School, and, knowing Chavez, he was willing to make the move west.
“I think we’re very fortunate that we were able to hire Jeff. He’s going to follow Karen, who set a standard here and Jeff is a great hire here to follow in her footsteps. We’re excited about Jeff coming here from La Cueva,” Chavez said.
A self-proclaimed “Air Force brat,” Archuleta graduated Bloomfield High School, where he had played football and baseball, in 1997. He didn’t even have a passing interest in sports medicine until he “tore up my shoulder playing softball in the summer of ’97.”
“I had no idea what an athletic trainer was,” he said, and he headed to San Juan Community College to get undergraduate work under way.
He knows what one is today.
In 1999, Archuleta said, he decided sports medicine was what he wanted to study. He transferred to the University of New Mexico and obtained his bachelor’s degree in athletic training in 2002.
He’s been pretty busy ever since.
From 2002-05, he was an athletic trainer for ESPN’s X Games’ medical team, helping injured snowboarders and motorcyclists and other extreme athletes from around the world.
From 2005, when he met Chavez, to 2009, Archuleta was the medical coordinator and an instructor at the National Youth Sports Program on the UNM campus. In the summers of 2004-09, he served as the event manager for the annual high school coaches association all-star games.
For eight years (2003-10), he was the medical liaison for Albuquerque Public Schools’ athletic board, in which he made sure trainers were available at every APS sports event.
His full-time job, though, at least during every school year from 2002 to this just-ended one, was as the athletic trainer and P.E. teacher at La Cueva. He is a certified national athletic trainer, a New Mexico Level 2 licensed teacher, first-aid and CPR-certified, plus the president-elect of the New Mexico Athletic Trainers Association.
CHS now provides a new challenge, Archuleta said, with “dynamics of the school,” where “administrators and coaches … try to do the right thing for the kids.”
Calling himself a “sports guy,” Archuleta said when he has time to himself, he likes to be in the mountains, hiking in the spring and summer and snowboarding when there’s snow.
Training tracks: Longtime Rio Rancho High School athletic trainer Melissa Loiacono, who was at RRHS for 15 years, has a new job: She’ll be the athletic trainer at Sandia High School. Loiacono had led Rams student trainers to state sports med championships in 13 of the past 14 years. District Athletic Director Bruce Carver said the search is under way to find her successor.