Dr. Donald L. Cooper "Doc" Cooper
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Dr. Donald L. Cooper "Doc" Cooper
Donald Lee Cooper was born August 11, 1928 in Columbus, Kansas. He was the son of Calvin Macy Cooper and Jesse Pearl Cooper. Growing up in Kansas Don first decided to go into sports medicine when he was 13 years old. He realized he would never be an athlete like he had always dreamed. "I was never very good, said Cooper, I was too small, too short and too slow." He volunteered to be a water boy. "In those days we were very scientific, we had one bucket and one ladle and everyone drank out of the same ladle and to my knowledge no one ever got sick". Don was smaller and younger than his classmates and he was picked on. But he was razor sharp, quick-witted and had a penetrating voice so he started telling jokes and funny stories that would make his classmates laugh with him instead of at him. Because of gas rationing during the war Don had to ride in the trunk of cars to be able to travel with teams to out-of-town games. This landed the name "Doc" due to his dedication to the team.
Doc attended Pittsburg State University where he had his first date on January 9th, 1948 with Dona Faye Maddux. They were married on June 4th, 1950 followed by four years of medical school at Kansas University where he graduated 4th in his class in 1953. He served two years as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force (1954-1956) before becoming team physician and assistant director of student health
services at Kansas State University in Manhattan. He came to OSU in 1960 as Director of the Okla. State University Hospital and Team Physician guiding that university and much of the rest of the world in the area of sports medicine until his retirement. "Truly one of the founding fathers of sports medicine", said Dr. Ken Smith. He served as President for the American College Health Association; a consultant on sports medicine for the NCAA Football Rules Committee and served on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Committee on Drug Education. Dr. Jay Gregory wrote of Dr. Cooper; "He has been the healer, the counselor, the confidant, the father image to countless students...Young people have several opportunities to meet individuals who will impact their lives, but no one in my opinion had any more of a positive impact on our state's young people than Dr. Cooper"
He was a prolific author, lecturer and has received many honors including; the Induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1998; Distinguished American Award from the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame and Doctor of the year for the Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association in 1999. He was one of two U.S. Team physicians for the World Games for the Deaf in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Among Doc's many firsts are: The National Athletic Trainers Association's President's Challenged Sports Medicine Award; The first Oklahoma medical doctor on the President's Council for Physical Fitness and sports during the Reagan and Bush administration; the first Oklahoma physician to be a team medical doctor for the 1968 Olympic team; the only Oklahoma physician to be a Charter member of the NCAA committee on Drug Education; and the only Oklahoma physician to receive the Bill Coltrane Memorial Award for Education Efforts to Combat Drug Abuse.
Don and his wife, Dona, were very active at the First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater where they taught a Sunday school class of young married couples for 22 years. Don served as a deacon, an elder and as Camp Physician numerous times for the Boy Scout Troop. He was a founding member of the Stillwater Oklahoma Crisis Center and a volunteer physician for the Stillwater Community Health Center. Sunday afternoons and retirement found him on the golf course and following OSU sports. Cooper loved to say: "The good Lord has been very kind to me and Oklahoma State has been very, very good to me, among all men, I'm one of the luckiest that's ever lived". During their 66 years of marriage Don and Dona had four children, Chip and his wife Peggy, Cathy Fowler and her husband Roge, Cheri Conway and her husband Kevin, Tad and his wife Sarah. They have eight grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and three siblings, Calvin Macy Cooper Jr., Catherine Cooper Stover and Richard Elbert Cooper.
Funeral services for Dr. Cooper will be held Wednesday, February 22, 2017, at 2 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, 524 S. Duncan St., Stillwater, Okla. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to OSU's Dr. Donald L. Cooper Scholarship in Athletic Training Fund, 400 S. Monroe, Stillwater, OK 74074, or online at www.osugiving.com, key in Cooper at search choice.
Condolences may e sent to the family via an on line guestbook at www.pmcfh.com.
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