‘Committed and Compassionate’: Diane Murphy-Kivell To Retire After 39 Years as NCHS Athletic Trainer


Diane Murphy-Kivell the New Canaan High School athletic trainer received the 2015 secondary athletic trainer of the year award. New Canaan High School, New Canaan, CT Thursday, September 3, 2015.

New Canaan High School senior Callum Wood, co-captain of the varsity boys’ lacrosse team, had already dislocated his knee once when the injury re-occurred the day before a game versus St. Joe’s during his sophomore year, in 2019.

After Wood popped the knee back into place, NCHS Athletic Trainer Diane Murphy-Kivell helped him ice it and “deal with everything, gave me pointers on what to do and where to go for physical therapy,” he recalled.

“Every single day she would let me go in, even though she technically didn’t have to help me,” Wood told NewCanaanite.com. “There are a lot of other kids with other injuries that would be playing, so she kind of has to take care of them, too.”

Wood is one of thousands of NCHS athletes that Murphy-Kivell has helped through nearly four decades of service in a job that demands skill, care, commitment and passion. She’s retiring next month after 39 years in the position.

“Something about Diane that I have always found to be really special is that she has a conviction for doing what’s best for the long-term health and safety of the athletes,” Athletic Director Jay Egan said.

He added, “I think she’s a committed and compassionate and strong-minded professional and I really have a lot of admiration for her for dedicating her entire professional life to New Canaan and to New Canaan athletes.” 

She’s being honored next month. At 5 p.m. on Friday, June 11, the high school is hosting a retirement celebration at Dunning Stadium to acknowledge Murphy-Kivell’s commitment to and indelible mark on the community. The meet-and-greet and presentation are open to the public. 

Asked for her thoughts on retiring, Murphy-Kivell said, “It’s been such a wonderful ride.” She added, “I have a feeling I’m going to miss it, I’m going to miss the athletes, the games and the excitement.”

In 2015, she was named the “Secondary Athletic Trainer of the Year Award” from the state association for athletic trainers in recognition of her work. Under Murphy-Kivell’s leadership, NCHS has been consistently recognized with the Safe School Award from the National Athletic Trainers Association. 

According to Wood, a Tufts University commit, Murphy-Kivell helped him in icing and compression, stretching, strengthening and doing stimulation in recovery from ligament reconstruction surgery.

Asked about Murphy-Kivell’s popular office, Wood said that “she’s welcoming to everyone coming in.”

“I mean it’s a jam-packed house,” he said.

Wood added, “There’s some kids where they’ll have like one little injury at the beginning of the year and they make sure it never happens again” and “they go in every single day” to see Murphy-Kivell.

5 thoughts on “‘Committed and Compassionate’: Diane Murphy-Kivell To Retire After 39 Years as NCHS Athletic Trainer

  1. We were so lucky to have her in NC! She is a real gem, and wish her the best in retirement.

    Jandovitz family

  2. I worked for many years with Diane. She is a true professional who developed a wonderful relationship with the School Nurses to complete the cycle of seeing the athlete in total and enabled nurses to remain up to date on student athletic needs when they visited the Nurse’s Office. Diane availed herself to staff questions about their athletic injury concerns as well. Always a sympathetic ear, caring suggestions and helpful directions. She will be missed by her colleagues and the students.
    Enjoy your retirement which your richly deserve!

  3. Diane is a one-of-a kind professional and human being. We thank her for setting the standard for all athletic trainers and for her unselfish devotion to the physical (and often emotional) health of thousands of student-patients. Bless you and thank you, Diane.

  4. Diane,

    Congratulations on your retirement. You certainly set the standard for your field. Think of the countless student-athletes that you have helped reach their dreams with your compassion and caring, Whether outside in the heat , snow and rain or in the gyms you were there for them. It was a pleasure working with you the past 39 years. All the best thanks for everything that you did for my student athlete children during their HS sports careers.

    Enjoy your well deserved retirement.

    We will miss you.

    Steve Benko
    Recreation Director

  5. Diane’s smile and amazing attitude have been a staple at NCHS for 39 years. I am so thankful that she arrived at NC in 1982 for our senior year. Her smile and attitude have never waned. She is not only an incredibly talented trainer but an even better friend to so many student athletes.
    Thank you Diane! You will be missed.

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