I vividly remember the day: A cold, rainy day in western Massachusetts. For 4 months my 10th-grade guidance counselor, sweet Miss Garofalo, showed me dozens of fliers on all types of professions and careers. She was secretly hoping to motivate me to go to college. No such luck. None of her topics even remotely excited me….until the day she slid the “Careers in Athletic Training” flier across her desk. “THIS is it!” I screamed and just like that the spark…no, the BONFIRE was lit.
I raced home after football practice to tell my supportive family my big new plan: “I’m going to college to become an athletic trainer in the NFL!" I proudly announced.
Ten years later, after lots of hard work and hundreds of wonderful people selflessly helping me on my journey, my childhood dream came true. On April 25, 1988 my mentor, Ronnie Barnes, Head Athletic Trainer for the New York Giants offered me a full-time position as his Assistant Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist with the NY Giants! At the age of 25, as the youngest athletic trainer in the NFL at the time, I was very proud of my efforts to have reached my most treasured young goals.
For 26 amazing years I worked with thousands of elite professional athletes and some of the best medical experts in the NFL. My unique experiences, professional, personally and athletically, helped sharpened my skills in the art of injury prevention, sports injury management and performance enhancement.
In January 2014 after my 26th season in the NFL, I was ready for a new set of challenges. I had a strong burning interest to bring elite sports medicine techniques, usually reserved for professional and world-class athletes, to non-professional, recreational athletes.
I had a ever-lingering question in my head: “Instead of working to get 46 NFL players ready for autumn Sunday games, how rewarding would it be to help THOUSANDS of passionate, health-conscious non-professional athletes to manage their pain every day?"
Was I nervous about voluntarily stepping away from 1 of only 32 head athletic trainer positions in the most successful sports league in the world? You're damn right I was! Who in their right mind would not be nervous taking such a big leap of faith? But then again, I humbly reflect, I’m the type of person who has run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain (2x), bungee jumped off a 600-foot bridge in New Zealand, boogie boarded down the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe and cage dived with great white sharks in South Africa just for the fun of it.
With that being said, I have complete trust in my new career vision pursuing my Personal Mission Statement:
To Enhance the Health of Others and Myself.
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- Distinguished Alumni Award, NFL Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) 2015
- Outstanding Physical Therapy Professional Award, University of Connecticut 2015
- Joseph E. Bourdon Sports Medicine Achievement Award 2014
- Professional Athletic Trainer of the Year (ATAF) 2013
- Southington (CT) Sports Hall of Fame Induction 2013
- Kaiser Alumni Service Award (CCSU) 2010
- Professional Athletic Trainer of the Year 2008 (SEATA) 2008
- Volunteer Physical Therapist – US Olympic Training Center 2008
- Athletic Trainer of the Year (ATAF) 2007
- Thomas J. Pike Athletic Training Alumni Award (UConn) 2004
- NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year (PFATS) 2003
My loving wife, son, daughter and I live in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. When I’m not working, I love being an active hands-on husband and dad. Being the husband of a 2-time Ironman triathlete wife and father of two extremely active children under the age of 12, I need to stay strong and healthy. The truth is my young athletic family is getting faster so I need to stay in top condition to keep up with them!
ATHLETE FOR LIFE
Mentally challenging races and extreme sports are more than mere hobbies for me. As a 6-time Ironman triathlete in five countries, veteran Spartan Racer and fitness enthusiast, I pride myself in “walking the walk”. I know firsthand that a fun and healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy mind and a strong body. To accomplish this, it requires a smart plan, the right types of exercise and allot of hard work.
By taking on real-life challenges such as bungee jumping in New Zealand, great white shark cage diving in South Africa, racing up the Empire State Building in New York City, swimming in from Alcatraz in San Francisco, and Running with the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, I’ve learned how to balance an active life with a full-time career.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity to speak to so many wonderful people every year. Sharing sports medicine knowledge, athletic experiences and real-life adventures is a powerful way to help others.
I’ve been blessed to be invited to speak around the country as well as internationally.
Anyone who knows me knows that helping others is extremely important to me. As a health care specialist who has worked with athletes and non-athletes alike in my community, I’m humbled by the simple fact that others entrust their bodies and their health to me.
Take a moment to think about that act of trust. Most of us view our body as our most treasured possession, and rightfully so. I’m sincerely honored when someone trusts me to care for their body. Being a healthcare provider, this is a role I take very seriously.