Jets create dept. focused on players’ health, performance


NEW YORK — The New York Jets announced the creation of an Athletic Care and Performance Department that will focus on improving the players’ overall health, nutrition and training after injuries plagued the team the last few seasons.

Dr. Brad DeWeese will oversee the new department, which the team said in a release Thursday will help “align the club’s athletic performance staffs to better position players for success.”

DeWeese was most recently the assistant athletic director for sports performance at East Tennessee State. He was also the head of sports physiology at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Winter Division, helping athletes win 21 Olympic and world championship medals.

The Jets also announced the hirings of Mike Nicolini as the head strength and conditioning coach; Dr. Omar Ahmad as assistant strength and conditioning coach; Dr. Matt Sams as director of sports science; and Dr. Robert Sausaman as assistant director of high performance.

New York used 80 players last season and placed 36 players on injured reserve, tied for the fifth-highest total in the NFL. The Jets’ 28 players on IR in 2019 led the league, according to Spotrac.

General manager Joe Douglas said the team did a thorough review of its sports performances areas and decided to create a centralized department that will help improve the players’ health — and the Jets’ overall success. Douglas said the team was impressed by DeWeese’s proven track record and vision.

“His focus on speed and power is exactly what we believe we need to help develop and enable Jets players to reach their peak level,” Douglas said in a statement. “We are excited to add this new dimension to our organization and bring Dr. DeWeese and his staff into the fold and know the players will find this group to be a tremendous asset to them.”

DeWeese said the newly established program is going to be “a player-centric model” that’s focused on the individual athlete rather than a training theory. He characterized the approach as ”targeted training.”

The Jets’ athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, nutrition staffs and rehabilitation department will all be part of the Athletic Care and Performance Department.

“I want us to be the model for other NFL teams to develop their system by,” DeWeese said.

Nicolini worked with new Jets coach Robert Saleh in San Francisco, where he was the assistant strength and conditioning coach the past two years after a season as a strength and conditioning assistant. Nicolini replaces Justus Galac, who had been with New York for 10 seasons, including the last nine as the head strength and conditioning coach.

Ahmad comes to the Jets after serving as the assistant director of athletics and sports performance at Richard Bland College in Virginia since 2019.

Sams spent the past two years as a performance science analyst for Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals.

Sausaman was the director of applied performance at Missouri the past two years, and previously worked with DeWeese at East Tennessee State.

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