By Fred Cromartie, Ed.D. |
The United States Sports Academy strives to meet its mission of making significant contributions to the field of sport by preparing men and women for the profession of sport. The spotlight shines once again on the Academy and its alumnus Byron Cunningham.
Cunningham is the Director of Rehabilitation and Assistant Athletic Ttrainer for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). As I was watching the NFC Championship game I spotted Cunningham on the sideline on numerous occasions during the game.
His connection to the Academy goes back to 2002 when he earned his Master of Sports Science degree in sports medicine. Cunningham later earned the Academy’s 2019 Alumnus of the Year Award because of his work for the Rams’ award winning athletic training staff.
In an article published in October 2018 Cunningham stated that “The Academy prepared me for my career because I had instructors who cared and challenged me on a daily basis, and in sports nothing comes easy because ultimately the end result is about winning,”
As a current Academy professor I’m proud to be one of the instructors that was teaching at the Academy during Cunningham’s time studying and earning his degree on campus. Yes, I did have him in class.
Cunningham also stated in that same article “I’m thankful every day knowing I can come to work and do a job that I’ve dreamed of doing since my time at the United States Sports Academy.”
This is a true testament to the mission of the academy and the faculty and staff as they work hard every day to prepare men and women for jobs in the profession of sport.
Cunningham has prepared himself well for his current position and along the way his journey included being head athletic trainer at the University of Illinois from 2007-09, after serving the two previous years as the university’s assistant athletic trainer from 2005-07. Cunningham spent 2004-05 as the head athletic trainer at Bishop McNamara Catholic High School in Kankakee, Ill.
Cunningham also has experience working internationally as an assistant athletic trainer with NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire in 2004. He also interned with the Chicago Bears in 2003, Auburn University from 2001-03, and the Indianapolis Colts during the team’s 2002 training camp.
I tip my hat to Byron Cunningham for his continued success and accomplishments and wish him and the Los Angeles Rams great success in Super Bowl LVI.
Dr. Cromartie is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy.