Ben Gelfand, Michael Fox, Keith Rosello, Irene Lee, Brittany Popkin, and Ethan Burger are among the select few physical therapists in NYC that have been awarded Board Certification as Sports Clinical Specialists by the American Physical Therapy Association.
Danielle Kagan and Stephanie Wu are Board Certified Hand Therapists.
Michael Fox is Certified in Manual Therapy by the Institute of Physical Therapy, Certified by the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) for Golf Fitness and an International Rugby Board Certified First Aid In Rugby Educator.
Michael Fox and Ben Gelfand are both Hospital for Special Surgery Credentialed Advanced Hip Clinicians.
Irene Lee, Keith Rosello, and Asma Mohammadi are Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioners.
Keith Rosello is a Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults.
Asma Mohammadi, Victoria Sekely, Andy Pakter, and Brent Pekarski are Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists.
Irene Lee is Certified in Myofascial Decompression.
Max Lai is certified in Instrument-Assistive Soft Tissue Management (IASTM).
Brent Pekarski is certified in Functional Movement Screening.
Dominic Mazza and Ethan Burger are both Certified Athletic Trainers.
Michael Fox and Ben Gelfand are both Adjunct Professors at New York University and Clinical Supervisors at SUNY Stony Brook.
Stephanie Wu is an Adjunct Teaching Assistant at Columbia University.
Ethan Burger is a Guest Lecturer on Post-Op Protocols and Management at Touro College.
Adolescent Athletes and ACL Injury Prevention Program
Dominick Mazza, ATC has been the athletic trainer to the varsity athletes of The Nightingale-Bamford School since 1997. He cares for the soccer, lacrosse and basketball teams managing injuries when they occur. Dominick works with the athletes pre season and during the season to improve strength and balance to prevent injuries to such ligaments as the ACL in the knee. There is ample evidence that training athletes to land and cut properly and improve balance and strength can prevent knee ligament injuries. Dominick is the Director of STAR's Adolescent ACL Injury Prevention Program based on the successful results of the PEP ACL program. Along with Dominick, Kevin Murtagh, PT, DPT and Michael Erickson, PT, DPT also work closely with the Athletic Departments of Xavier High School, NYC and Regis High School, NYC in ACL Injury Prevention. Our staff is well trained and experienced in the unique demands of the adolescent athlete.
Baseball and Tennis
Our Hand and Upper Extremity Department specializes in the care of the overhead throwing and serving athlete. Our therapists have undergone extensive training in the unique demands of this population and have been published and have lectured on treatment techniques specific to the overhead athlete. Michael Fox, PT, SCS, MTC, TPI and Benjamin Gelfand, PT, DPT, SCS were published in James Andrews, MD's renowned textbook The Athlete's Shoulder. Ethan Burger, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC has been an avid baseball player his whole life and was captain of his high school team both junior and senior years. Victoria Sekely, PT, DPT, CSCS was a Division I Tennis player during her undergraduate years. Our staff has cared for top ranked MLB and USTA players throughout the years.
Basketball and Hockey
We have cared for numerous players of the NBA and NHL. Michael Fox, PT, SCS, MTC, TPI and Benjamin Gelfand, PT, DPT, SCS have successfully treated New York Rangers for injuries such as ACL reconstruction and hip injuries. Michael Fox, PT, SCS, MTC, TPI also plays and coaches competitive hockey in Fairfield County, CT. Danielle Kagan, OTR/L, CHT was an avid basketball and softball player who, as a result, loves treating throwing injuries. Andy Pakter, PT, DPT, CSCS is an avid hockey player and still follows the sport today.
Dance and Gymnastics
We care for many of New York City's ballet and modern dancers, including the esteemed Amy Marshall Dance Company. Skills and knowledge of biomechanics and anatomy make our therapists the right choice to address the distinct physical demands of this population. Brittany Popkin, PT, DPT, SCS was a Championship Irish Step Dancer for 12 years. She competed locally at many feisanna (dance competitions) as well as at the Regional, National and World Championship level. During her successful 12 year career, Brittany competed at the Regional Championships 11 times, the National Championships 10 times, the World Championships 5 times, as well as the All-Ireland and Great Britain Championships. Brittany retired from Irish Step Dancing in 2009 to pursue a career in Physical Therapy. In addition, Irene Lee, PT, DPT, SCS, CKTP trained in ballet for 12 years (including some years on Pointe), as well as have worked with the USA Mens Gymnastics Team in Colorado Springs, CO.
Golf and Lacrosse
Michael Fox, PT, SCS, MTC, TPI heads STAR's "Golf Performance Center" featuring hands-on range of motion and power enhancing treatments designed to improve distance. STAR has treated many professional lacrosse players from MLL as well as athletes from top collegiate programs such as Princeton and Duke.
Michael Fox, PT, SCS, MTC, TPI has over 20 years of experience in martial arts practicing Tai Chi Chuan, Judo and Aikido. Keith Rosello, MPT is a 4th degree Dan in Aikido and a 3rd degree Black belt in Karate. He currently teaches and practices at the U.S. Aikido Federation headquarters in New York City.
Asma Mohammadi, PT, DPT, CSCS, CKTP was a member of the UC Berkeley Boxing Team and volunteered at Rock Steady Boxing, a foundation that seeks to improve the quality of life for patients with Parkinson's Disease through non-contact, boxing oriented fitness regimens.
Rugby and Football
USA Eagles Men's National Rugby Team: Michael Fox, PT, SCS, MTC, TPI is a Team Physical Therapist, traveling with the team, and providing sideline injury management/caring for players before and after matches. STAR serves USA Rugby in the role of pre-season biomechanical screening and injury treatment and prevention for the New York area.
NYAC: We function as Team Physical Therapists for the elite Super League's New York Athletic Club (NYAC) Rugby team who own 5 national titles. Michael Fox serves as head physical therapist for NYAC rugby. Ethan Burger, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC, ATC and Brittany Popkin, PT, DPT, SCS also provide medical coverage for NYAC games. We are proud to be a part of their success over the years as Super League Champions.
Play Rugby USA: We are proud of our sponsorship and association with Play Rugby USA, as well as the accomplishments they have achieved working with today's youth. Irene Lee, PT, DPT, SCS, CKTP, Ethan Burger, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC and Rob Pritchard, PT, DPT are actively involved with Play Rugby USA volunteering their time and talents at tournaments.
Michael Fox, PT, SCS, MTC, TPI played and coached rugby at Xavier High School in NYC and at Fairfield University in CT. As a Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist and an International Rugby Board Certified First Aid In Rugby Educator, he helps keep the NYAC and USA Rugby teams healthy and treats their injuries when they occur. Irene Lee, PT, DPT, SCS, CKTP played rugby for Mount Holyoke College and enjoys following the sport today. Rob Pritchard, PT, DPT was the captain of UConn's Division 1 Rugby Team for two years, helping bring the team to a playoff season. Following undergraduate school, he served as an Assistant Coach at UConn while playing with the New Haven Men's Rugby Club. Michael Erickson, PT, DPT and Kevin Murtagh, PT, DPT both played rugby at Xavier High School, their respective undergraduate schools, and now with NYAC and NY Rugby Club.
STAR has treated all levels of football: from high school to NFL Giants and Jets, from back and knee trauma to dysfunction of the throwing shoulder. Etai Gamliel, PT, DPT had played football in high school as well as during college. Kevin Murtagh, PT, DPT had also played football in high school.
Skiing and snow boarding require unique skills and muscle function. STAR's therapists are well trained in recognizing and treating the injuries that occur in skiers and snow boarders and we excel in getting you back on the slopes as soon as possible after injury. STAR's Skier Protection Program combines our knowledge of skier injury patterns and our advanced expertise in evaluating an athlete's particular strength and motion limitations (biomechanics) and applies them to the unique musculoskeletal demands of the sport. We do this in order to train you, your family and friends to be as safe as possible on the mountain. In other words, minimize your risk of traumatic injuries such as ACL rupture and maximize your winter enjoyment! As the Director of STAR's ACL Injury Prevention Program, Dominic Mazza, ATC heads STAR's "Skier Protection Program" that focuses on conditioning and injury prevention.
Soccer is a unique sport with unique injury patterns, especially ACL and hip/core strains and tears. With proper training from a physical therapist with personal experience in competitive soccer these injury patterns can be minimized. Our vast experience in sports medicine and credentials as Certified Hip Specialists make us the right choice for your rehabilitation and injury prevention goals. Irene Lee, PT, DPT, SCS, CKTP played competitive soccer all throughout high school and college, and Brent Pekarski, PT, DPT, CSCS, XPS, FMS, FMT in high school.
Swimming competitively or recreationally places large stresses on the body, especially the neck and shoulders. STAR's complement of physical and occupational therapists from our dedicated Spine Center and Hand & Upper Extremity Center work closely together to offer the swimmer a complete and comprehensive evaluation of their injury and training needs. We have successfully worked with swimmers of all levels of talent. We specialize in evaluating and treating swimmers who have had difficulty getting back in the water despite having tried various forms of therapy. Irene Lee, PT, DPT, SCS, CKTP has been an avid swimmer throughout her life, including certifications in lifesaving and scuba diving. Irene's training gives her a core understanding when treating shoulder and spine ailments related to this sport, including in adolescent athletes.
Track and Field
Running is one of the most popular sports and ways of getting and keeping fit in the world. The benefits of running are vast and so are the injuries. There are injuries that are specific to runners and, therefore, it takes a clinician who is involved in the sport and understands the injuries and the toll it takes on the body. In our Right Running Program at STAR, a specific plan will be developed and tailored to help injured runners return to pain free running or healthy runners prevent future injury. This educational and performance based program uses motion analysis to improve the runner's biomechanics enabling them to run as efficiently and fluidly as possible. A corner stone to our successful running program is our state of the art, unique Alter G treadmill. STAR is one of just a few facilities in New York City who have this anti-gravity treadmill with NASA developed technology that actually unweights your joints while allowing you to maintain proper running technique during rehabilitation. The Alter G also allows for real time biomechanical evaluations through its multi-angle cameras that allow us to see and correct any improper running form.
Many STAR physical therapists are also heavily involved in the sport. Danielle Kagan, OTR/L, CHT and Irene Lee, PT, DPT, SCS, CKTP have volunteered at the NYC Marathon medical tent for several years now. Danielle Kagan, OTR/L, CHT has run 3 marathons in both NY and London. Stephanie Wu, MS, OTR/L has run both the Marine Corps and NYC Marathons. Kevin Murtagh, PT, DPT had participated in Track & Field in high school. Victoria Sekely, PT, DPT, CSCS had completed several half marathons and triathalons. Brittany Popkin, PT, DPT, SCS has also completed several half marathons. Josh Hammann, PT, DPT was a competitive age-group triathlete, racing from sprint to half-Ironman distances, before turning his focus to running in the last five years; and has continued to place well in his age division, from 5K to the marathon. He has run three marathons and this year qualified for the Boston Marathon. Asma Mohammadi, PT, DPT, CSCS, CKTP competed in Track and Field and Cross Country during college and continues to participate in local 5K races. Harrison Newman, PT, DPT, competed in the High Jump and Triple Jump events during college, and continued training as a triathlete after graduation. Brent Pekarski, PT, DPT, CSCS, XPS, FMS, FMT has participated in trrack and cross crountry as well.
Irene Lee, PT, DPT, CKPT has volunteered as medical support at several AVP Pro Beach Volleyball tournaments, as well as had worked with several Division I volleyball players. STAR has treated numerous high school and collegiate volleyball players for various shoulder and lower extremity injuries, as well as educating them on return to play/injury prevention, including ACL injury prevention.
Asma Mohammadi, PT, DPT, CSCS, CKTP, Andy Pakter, PT, DPT, CSCS, Victoria Sekely, PT, DPT, CSCS and Brent Pekarski, PT, DPT, CSCS, XPS, FMS, FMT are Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists who can guide you in your safe return to weightlifting after your injury, or in beginning a weightlifting program. Ethan Burger, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC continue to participate in weightlifting and fitness today. STAR has treated numerous high level bodybuilding competitors and helped return them to top form.
Irene Lee, PT, DPT, SCS, CKTP and Asma Mohammadi, PT, DPT, CSCS, CKTP both enjoy and practice Yoga regularly (both with traditional yoga, and aerial yoga for Irene), and can provide insight and guidance in how to modify poses during your practice, as well as returning back from an injury.