Major League Call Up
School of Health Sciences at Touro Alum and Professor Signs with Boston Red Sox
New York, N.Y. – It was Labor Day weekend of last year. Dr. Ray Mattfeld, an associate professor and the director of clinical education in the physical therapy program at Touro School of Health Sciences’ Bay Shore campus, was relaxing with his family when he received an intriguing email.
The message was from Dr. Dan Dyrek, a physical therapist who was working for the Boston Red Sox as the coordinator of sports medicine, inquiring whether Mattfeld knew of anyone who would be interested in a job providing physical therapy with the Sox. Mattfeld and Dyrek already knew one another for several years, with Mattfeld having assisted Dyrek in his private practice, focusing on orthopedic and sports therapy for the Indiana Pacers basketball team.
He discussed the opportunity with his wife, Dawn, and a couple of his trusted colleagues, who encouraged him to apply for the job and the rest is, well, history. The Bay Shore native signed on with the Red Sox, moved to Boston and is now working as major league physical therapist for the world champion Red Sox. Dr. Dyrek, since promoted to director of sports medicine service for the Sox, is one of two people Mattfeld reports to.
“It’s very exciting,” says Mattfeld. “It’s been a lot of fun traveling with the team. I’m learning as I go along,” he said in a recent interview.
Since early February, Mattfeld has been with the team at spring training in Ft. Myers, Florida, preparing for the season opener on March 31 in Baltimore against the Orioles. It will be the first of 162 games – half played at home at Fenway Park and the other half on the road.
Traveling along with him and the team are a head athletic trainer, two assistant athletic trainers, two massage therapists, and a strength and conditioning coach. The Sox medical team currently consists of three physical therapists, 10 athletic trainers and strength and conditioning coaches.
A graduate of SUNY Cortland, Mattfeld obtained his master’s in physical therapy in 1991 from Touro’s School of Health Sciences, and then went on to earn his doctorate in physical therapy in 2008, also at Touro. He joined the full-time physical therapy faculty in 1998.
Mattfeld is not severing his ties with his alma mater. He retains a position of clinical assistant professor and will come back to Touro to offer insight to current students about his experiences working at a professional level.
Mattfeld recalled breaking the news to his students about his new job and their enthusiasm.
“They were excited to hear one of their own professors had attained such a prestigious position. They also knew I was a Touro graduate and I was working for our rival. For those who are New York Yankee fans, it was ironic I was working for the Red Sox,” he said. “It’s great for our students at our clinical sites, for potential students – it shows that you can dream big and get a job like this.”
Presently, he is looking forward to the second week in April when the Sox come to Yankee Stadium, and having his wife and four daughters at the game. Asked where his allegiances currently lie, he replied, “Right now I’m a Red Sox fan.”
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