BOSTON - Jeff Stone, Head Athletic Trainer for the Suffolk University Athletics Department since 2004 has announced he will retire this summer concluding his 14-year tenure at the institution.
Stone has been responsible for the care and well-being of Suffolk's student-athletes, a department that has grown from 12 intercollegiate varsity sports teams when he was hired to 19 teams and 250-plus student-athletes in 2017-18. As Suffolk's lone full-time athletic trainer, Stone focused on the care and prevention, management, evaluation and treatment of athletic injuries.
Director of Athletics Cary McConnell praised Stone for his commitment to Suffolk's student-athletes. "On behalf of the Suffolk Athletic Department we congratulate Jeff on his retirement. We will miss Jeff's hard work, commitment to Suffolk's student-athletes. But, we are thrilled for his next chapter. On behalf of our staff, we appreciate his dedication and devotion to ensuring our student-athletes have the ability to perform through the resources and support he provides and wish him luck in his future endeavors."
A recognizable face in the athletic training world both regionally and nationally, Stone has built a lengthy resume and career. In 2012 he was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Hall of Fame. The award is the associations and the profession's highest honor for athletic trainers who exemplify the mission of the NATA through significant, lasting contributions that enhance the quality of health care provided by athletic trainers.
In 2011, Stone was inducted into the Athletic Trainers of Massachusetts (ATOM) Hall of Fame becoming the fourteenth inductee into the organization's prestigious class. Stone has been a member of ATOM since its inception in 1981. He was President from 1994-1996, Secretary from 1989-1992 and served on ATOM's Executive Board for 10 years. He was the ATOM Athletic Trainer of the Year in 1992, and was awarded the Kerkor "Koko" Kassabian Service Award (for meritorious service to the Athletic Training profession in Massachusetts) in 2009. During his tenure, he was also the Association's Newsletter Editor.
Stone was also named as one of the National Athletic Trainers' Association's 2011 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer (MDAT) award recipients. This award recognizes outstanding dedication and service to the athletic training profession. Candidates for the award must have held the certified athletic trainer (ATC) credential, conferred by the Board of Certification, for at least 20 years; have been recognized for service to the profession of athletic training at the local, state, national and/or international level; exhibited distinguished service as a certified athletic trainer; and have been recognized for unique contributions to the profession of athletic training not acknowledged elsewhere. Earlier that year, Stone was the recipient of the Cramer Award for outstanding service and dedication to the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association (EATA).
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) has honored Stone on three occasions (2008, 2011, 2015) with their Athletic Trainer of the Year award. Stone served as the athletic training liaison to the conference athletic directors council.
"A collective well done Jeff from the many that you have ministered to at Suffolk University and beyond," said Emeritus Director of Athletics James Nelson, who hired Stone back in 2004. "Congratulations and thank you to Jeff Stone on his retirement from Suffolk University Athletics after 14 most dedicated and professional service years to student-athletes and the care and treatment that he has provided in such a highly devoted manner. Jeff has elevated the athletic training services at Suffolk University in such a manner that it has become a template for all other athletic training programs in not only the Great Northeast Athletic Conference but also throughout so many other Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference and National Collegiate Athletic Association institutions. This can be evidenced by his multiple GNAC Athletic Trainer of the Year awards as well as the recipient of the Athletic Trainers of Massachusetts and the National Athletic Trainers Association "Trainer of the Year" recognitions."
While at Suffolk, Stone oversaw and implemented many programs and initiatives to benefit the student-athlete experience and utilized surrounding campus resources. Stone has been able to coordinate a strong working relationship with the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital Sports Medicine Center. Their staff are licensed, certified athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons and physicians holding specialty degrees. This association with MGH gives Suffolk University student-athletes access to all the resources of a world class hospital just across the street from the Ridgeway Building. MGH Sports Medicine & Sports Physical Therapy provides the medical care for the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and the New England Revolution.
Stone has also overseen the electrocardiogram (ECG) testing program for all prospective student-athletes at Suffolk University. In collaboration with the MGH staff, the program requires that any new participants complete a heart activity prior to stepping on the field of competition. Suffolk is one of just three intercollegiate programs in the New England region to require such testing. He also served as an advisor for "Headucation" which is a student-sponsored organization that raises awareness about concussions and head injuries and connects students to the appropriate health and wellness departments on campus. He has also put together informative sport specific workshops for student-athletes including ACL/Knee prevention injuries for female athletes and UCL/elbow injuries for baseball.
Suffolk University Dean of Students Ann Coyne wished Stone well in his retirement; "Jeff Stone has tirelessly supported Suffolk Athletics for many years. Countless student athletes have benefitted from his care and concern. His ability to implement cutting edge best practices has contributed to the growth of Suffolk's athletic training program. Jeff will be missed by students, colleagues, competitors and the University alike. We wish him the very best."
Head Baseball Coach Anthony Del Prete added; "Jeff's efforts and commitment to our student-athletes have enabled them to excel on the playing fields and also created an environment where they could be successful outside as well. His ability to create the necessary resources available has helped provide our teams the ability to compete at a high level. He has been a terrific resource and colleague and we will miss him in the dugout, but wish him well in the future."
Jeff Stone is one of the first graduates of Northeastern University's Athletic Training Education Program, having graduated in 1976. Outside of his work at Suffolk University, Stone serves as the Medical Coordinator for the Massachusetts Bay State Games. Stone has worked as an athletic trainer at Ashland High School, Framingham State College, Natick High School, Marian High School, and the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. He is an annual volunteer for both the BayState Games and Boston Marathon. He was featured in Sports Illustrated's April 21, 2014 issue for his continued work as a volunteer with the annual race. Stone has worked as an official at the mile-3 marker outside of his Ashland home for the past four decades.
Stone, a resident of Ashland, recently completed his six-year tenure as Director of District One- New England, representing over 2,000 athletic trainers and athletic training students in New England. He also served as the region's representative to the Board of Directors of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) from 2004-2010.
Suffolk will begin a search for his replacement later this summer.