A couple of UD standouts will be on opposite sidelines for next Sunday’s Super Bowl, if not necessarily meeting in the trenches of the gridiron itself.
While Blue Hen football has certainly produced its share of NFL stars (for example, check out Kevin Noonan’s recent roster of all time QB greats), the University of Delaware has also cranked out an increasing number of elite physical therapists and athletic trainers.
Two of these graduates will be working the game next Sunday – Steve Feldman looking after the Philadelphia Eagles (Go Iggles!) and Michael Akinbola with the New England Patriots (boo!).
Newark native Feldman is a physical therapist and athletic trainer splitting his time between the Eagles, and his work at NovaCare Rehabilitation in South Philadelphia. The Newark High School student-athlete got both his bachelor and doctorate of physical therapy from the University, getting his start in professional football interning with the Seattle Seahawks.
In New England, Akinbola is part of an award-winning athletic training staff, notching a Super Bowl victory in his first season with the team last year.
Before coming to UD, Akinbola studied kinesiology and played football for DePauw University. His playing career gave him a deeper layer of understanding and credibility for his role as an NFL physical therapist.
“I understand the physical demands. I understand the nuances of the job — the competitive nature. Biomechanically, I have a better appreciation for what their bodies go through,” he said.