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Alum cites 'tremendous support'

Photos courtesy of Steve Feldman

Feldman tackles double-duty for Philadelphia Eagles and NovaCare Rehabilitation

Two-time University of Delaware alumnus Steve Feldman has a unique job.

The physical therapist and athletic trainer spends 75 percent of his time with the Philadelphia Eagles, working with the Birds through the off-season, mini-camps, OTAs and regular season performing evaluations, creating treatment plans and preparing the players for practices and games.

The other 25 percent of the time, Feldman keeps his orthopedic skills sharp at a NovaCare Rehabilitation site in South Philadelphia.

Feldman’s interest in athletic training began as a student-athlete at Newark High School. After seeing athletic trainers in action, he knew what he wanted to do before the college application process began.

Like many local kids, Feldman told his parents there was no way he was going to the University of Delaware. Then he came for a visit.

“I met Tom Kaminski and Buz Swanik and was completely swayed by their passion,” said Feldman. “I asked if undergraduates could get involved in research, do an NFL internship and many other things. They said yes to everything. And that was not the case at the other schools that I visited.”

Feldman ended up making the short trip to UD. For those who know the ins and outs of UD’s Athletic Training Program, Feldman and his cohort racked up both quantity and quality experiences. From high school, collegiate and professional sports to clinical care, he experienced it all.

Feldman finished his bachelor of science in athletic training in 2010, having applied to UD’s vaunted doctorate of physical therapy (DPT) program. He was in his second summer interning with the Seattle Seahawks when he received his acceptance letter and weighed his options — continue pursuing opportunities as an NFL intern or head back to Newark for graduate school.

“The Seahawks athletic training staff, in particular, the now head athletic trainer, Donald Rich, actually played a big part in my decision. They pressed the importance of continuing my education,” Feldman said.

The then 22-year-old decided on graduate school and headed to the Department of Physical Therapy’s old digs in the “basement” of McKinly Laboratory.

“The DPT program is excellent in preparing you to work in outpatient or sports medicine settings. You build a very strong background,” Feldman said. “We had surgeons teach part of the courses, so you literally have people doing surgery explain the surgery to you.”

Perhaps his favorite clinical experience was as a student physical therapist for Advanced Rehabilitation in Tampa, Florida, where he learned under Chris Arrigo. At the outpatient sports and orthopedic clinic, he conducted evaluations, created treatment plans and prepared patients for discharge. To this day, he remains in touch with the clinician, who he now calls a friend.

As a graduate student, Feldman continued to hone his athletic training skills as the AT for the men’s club hockey team. He graduated with a doctorate of physical therapy in 2012.

Now armed with the sought-after AT/PT dual certification, he was hired by NovaCare, which in turn contracted him out with the Eagles.

“Without the tremendous support from UD professors and mentors, this opportunity never would have been possible,” Feldman said. “My family, especially my wife and parents, and friends help maintain my sanity with my busy work and travel schedules.” 

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