Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 16
Winter 1992
Seeing players back over the line
     Instead of rooting for their favorite teams on television or from
the stands, Jeff Cooper, Delaware '75, and Andy Rudawsky, Delaware
'90, watch the action up close and personal, from the trainers' bench.
     A graduate of the University's Physical Education Program, Cooper
is head athletic trainer for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.
Andy "Rudy" Rudawsky, a graduate of the University's Physical Therapy
Program, is athletic trainer for the U.S. national soccer team.
     Both trainers once walked the sidelines of Delaware Stadium,
where they served as student trainers for the Fightin' Blue Hens
football team.

Coop's account
     Cooper, or "Coop," as he is known around the clubhouse, has been
working for the Phillies for 21 years. Last summer, 22 athletic
trainers from other major league teams chose him to serve as the
trainer for the National League All-Star team at the All-Star game in
     Like many baseball players, Cooper started out in the minor
leagues. Beginning in 1970, while he was a student at the University,
Cooper began working summers for the Phillies' rookie ball affiliate
in Pulaski, Va.
     Cooper landed his job when Dallas Green, Delaware '81, who was
then assistant to the director of the Phillies' minor league teams,
called on Roy Rylander, then director of the University's athletic
training program, in search of a trainer. Rylander suggested Cooper.
     After four summers in Virginia and one winter in Puerto Rico,
where he served as an athletic trainer in an off-season league, Cooper
dropped out of the University to spend all of the 1974 season with the
Reading Phillies, another of the team's minor league affiliates.
     After graduating from Delaware, Cooper attended Indiana State
University, where he received a master's degree in athletic training
in 1976. Later that year, he returned to the Phillies to fill in for a
sick trainer. This

     time, however, Cooper worked at the major league level.
     While the work of a trainer is different at "The Show," or major
league level, Cooper says it isn't any easier.
     In rookie ball, he says he was entrusted with the physical care
of the athletes, and also acted as the team's traveling secretary and
clubhouse manager.
     At the major league level, other people handle the players' meal
money and travel arrangements, he says, but "there's a lot more
paperwork" involved with being the head trainer.
     Cooper says knowledge of sports medicine has exploded since he
left the University. "The best thing I got out of college was to learn
to study," he says. "Developing a work ethic keyed me into what the
thinking process is all about."
     Cooper says he works closely with the Phillies team physician,
Dr. Phillip Marone. "Once a diagnosis is made, I kind of pick up the
ball and see the player back across the white line," Cooper explains,
referring to the baseball diamond's chalk foul lines. He says he often
works 70-hour weeks during the season, plus two to four days each week
in the off-season.
     "I push 25 guys across the line every night," he says. "The tough
part is doing it every night."

Rudy's report
     After graduating from Friends High School in Wilmington, where he
was an All-State soccer player, Andy Rudawsky played four years of
varsity soccer as a forward and center for Denison University in
Granville, Ohio.
     Unfortunately, while playing for Denison, sprained ankles,
several contusions and a torn ligament in his right knee put Rudawsky
in the trainers' room on many occasions. On the positive side,
Rudawsky says, those visits sparked his interest in athletic training
and physical therapy.
     In 1986, he completed a master's degree in sports medicine at the
U.S. Sports Academy, but Rudawsky credits Paul Mettler, director, and
the faculty of the University's Physical Therapy Program, for
broadening his ability to care for all sorts of athletes.
     "When I went to Delaware, I had been out of school for four
years, working as an athletic trainer at the Alfred I. du Pont
Institute, a children's hospital in Wilmington," he says. "Prof.
Mettler and the rest of the physical therapy professors were very
patient with me. Whenever I needed help, they were there."
     While working at the institute, Rudawsky began five years of
coaching youth soccer in the state's Olympic development program. He
also served as the program's head athletic trainer.
     With several summers of volunteer work at sports medicine and
physical therapy clinics to his credit, Rudawsky says he's been
playing or coaching soccer for the last 18 years.
     Rudawsky assumed his current position as athletic trainer for the
U.S. national soccer team last May. He says the job will keep him on
the road about 200 days each year.
     Rudawsky says he works with some of the best physicians and
coaches in the world when the U.S. national soccer team travels. In
his first months on the job, he met doctors and coaches in Moscow;
Innsbruck, Austria; Bucharest, Romania; and Istanbul, Turkey.
     Apart from the chance to learn therapeutic and coaching
techniques, Rudawsky says he appreciates watching the players on the
U.S. team, which will compete for the World Cup in 1994. The players
are enthusiastic and the quality of play is phenomenal, he says.
     "Regardless of their age, after an injury, they're eager to get
back on the field," Rudawsky says.
     -Stephen M. Steenkamer, Delaware '92