Feb 9, 2023Inside the Philadelphia Eagles Sports Performance Team
It takes a team effort to make it to the NFL’s pinnacle. The Philadelphia Eagles know this more than most.
But that team effort extends beyond the gridiron to the team’s support staff — like the sports performance team led by Tom Hunkele, vice president of sports training/head athletic trainer, and Ted Rath, vice president of player performance.
A recent post from the Philadelphia Eagles’ Dave Spadaro gave an inside look as to how the sports performance team has helped them to the Super Bowl.
Below is an excerpt from Spadaro’s feature story.
Through the marathon of 17 regular-season games and two postseason contests to date, the Eagles have been – by NFL standards – relatively unmarred by long-term injuries.
They lost defensive end Derek Barnett to a torn ACL in the opener at Detroit. Defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu had a torn meniscus that sent him to Injured Reserve in late November. Linebacker Shaun Bradley went to Injured Reserve with a wrist injury prior to the Week 18 game against New York. And there have been players who have spent time on IR – namely defensive tackle Jordan Davis, tight end Dallas Goedert, cornerback Avonte Maddox, safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and punter Arryn Siposs – who have been rehabbed back to the field by the outstanding athletic training staff.
It is a very, very good picture for the Eagles as they ramp things up for Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII.
“I would say it’s been a pretty magical year. It’s more the exception than the rule,” Hunkele said. “There is a lot of hard work that goes into it. Obviously, it’s not just the medical staff. It’s the way that we prepare these guys. It’s the way that they perform next door with the performance staff. It’s the way the coach takes care of them and has designed the practice program, the week-in, week-out scheduling.
“On top of that, it’s the great physicians I have, the great people I have on my staff who really care about the athletes and what is best for them. It all wraps into one. You can’t be this healthy and do this well without all of those pieces working together.”
Hunkele and Rath joined the Eagles in 2020 and immediately joined forces to pilot the organization’s plan of action in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they understand how to perform in chaotic situations. This year, with two seasons of COVID-19 work behind them, Hunkele and Rath were able to concentrate fully on their joined tasks and how to keep the Eagles as healthy as possible and, when injuries do arise – most recently in the cases of right tackle Lane Johnson and cornerback Avonte Maddox – how to safely and aggressively bring those players back to the field to perform at a high, high level.
To read the full feature story from the Philadelphia Eagles about its sports medicine staff, click here.