Our athletic program is guided by the school’s statement of philosophy that there is that of God in everyone. We encourage our student-athletes to continue to cultivate the principles valued by the school community. Among these are truthfulness, simplicity, self-discipline, the resolution of differences without violence, respect for others and oneself.
Powerful & Meaningful Athletics
Our athletic program stresses participation and encourages all student-athletes to develop their capabilities to the fullest extent possible.
We value excellence in each sport, and we aim to field successful teams that are competitive within the Friends Schools League and comparable non-league schools.
The Friends Schools League
The Friends Schools League (FSL) is a co-educational high school athletic league for Philadelphia-area independent schools. The League is founded on the principles of the Religious Society of Friends.
Our Sports Performance program encompasses comprehensive sports medicine and strength and conditioning programs. Staffed by top professionals with in-depth experience and extensive training, the our Sports Performance team follows the philosophy of "injured but never out," and provides the utmost care for the student-athletes' bodies and minds, helping them return to the playing field, court, and track safely and with confidence.
Athletic Trainers (ATs) are healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians and whose services comprise prevention, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Learn more here from the National Athletic Trainers' Association.
GFS Athletic Trainers:
Eric Aurelien MS, LAT, ATC
Eric Aurelien was appointed as an Athletic Trainer in 2018 after serving as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer from 2015-2017. Before returning to GFS as a full-time athletic trainer, Eric served as the Assistant Athletic Trainer at the Pomfret School, a boarding school in Connecticut. He brings with him a focus on developing pediatric rehabilitation protocols and knowledge of working with athletes with disabilities. In addition, Eric teaches a public health course within the Health Education department at GFS.
Morgan Wambold MS, LAT, ATC, CNC
Morgan Wambold has been a full-time Athletic Trainer since 2019 after serving as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer at GFS and the William Penn Charter School from 2017-2019. Morgan brings with her a focus on the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of pediatric injuries. She also focuses her continuing education on injury prevention and rehabilitation of overhead athletes. In addition, Morgan continues pursuing additional certifications in the field of Sports Nutrition, and has become a Certified Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
GFS Team Physician:
Matthew Grady MD, FAAP, CAQSM
Matt Grady, a GFS parent (P ‘18, P’ 20), is a pediatric sports medicine specialist in the Division of Orthopedic Surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the GFS Team Physician. Dr. Grady’s expertise includes: concussions in pediatric athletes, injury prevention, overuse injuries in pediatric athletes, pediatric injuries, and stress fractures. As the supervising physician of our athletic trainers, Dr. Grady collaborates with Aurelien and Wambold to ensure our student- athletes are receiving current and evidence- based health care. Dr. Grady is available by appointment, before school on certain days, coordinated through Aurelien and Wambold.
On Campus: Located in the Scattergood Gym, the athletic training room is utilized in the mornings during the fall and spring seasons, as well as during athletic practices and games during winter sports.
Off Campus: Located at the GFS Playing Fields, behind the boys' locker room, this training room is open during athletic practices and games during the fall and spring seasons.
GFS' Strength and Conditioning program is available to all students, faculty, and staff. For student-athletes, strength and conditioning is an integral part of overall training in the regular season and during the off-season. Athletes train in the school's state-of-the-art R. Chase McDaniel III '50 Weight Room, installed in 2019.
For students who are not active on a team during a particular season, the weight room and professional staff are available as part of GFS' comprehensive physical education program.
Matt Sheehan, PE Teacher and Head Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach
Prior to GFS, Sheehan served as the Assistant Strength Coach and Director of Player Development for Lasalle University Men's Basketball, where he also played. Sheehan has a passion for teaching about the whole human body: from the importance of sleep to navigating a weight room, and moving the body in a way that feels good.
Colleen Finegan, M.Ed., founder of the non-profit Positive Coaching and Leadership Group (PCLG), works with GFS student-athletes to improve their mental wellness, as it relates to sports, through mental skills training. Her workshops and training sessions are an integral part of the Upper and Middle School programs.
GFS in partnership with PCLG believes that it is as important to train your mind as it is your body at a young age. Mental skills training aims to have a positive effect on participation, self-esteem, and self-concept, as well as reducing anxiety, symptoms of stress, and improving overall athlete well-being. The benefits of improved concentration, regulation of emotions, and a state of flow leads to optimism, which is critical to improving athletic performance and coping with a sports-related slump.
The mental wellness program also includes a unique playbook to assist coaches and parents in providing mental skills training for young athletes.
GFS AT Staff employs numerous evidence-based therapies.
Myofascial Decompression - Cupping Therapy
Myofascial Decompression, which includes cupping therapy, is a combination of techniques and tools used to assess and correct movement-based impairments by including elements of active movements combined with neuromuscular re-education techniques through the manipulation of the body’s myofascial properties. Cupping was made popular in the 2016 Olympics thanks to the sports medicine team of the USA Swimming Team; however it has been used in various forms for over two thousand years. It is characterized by circular marks that are sometimes left of the skin after treatment. These marks are normal and usually subside in a few days. Learn more.
Manual Therapy & IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization)
Manual Therapy and IASTM techniques target the myofascia, a connective tissue surrounding muscles, which can restrict range of motion, decrease strength, and decrease endurance if it is inactive, injured, or inflamed. The use of these techniques is useful for alleviating muscle stiffness, decreasing pain, and improving range of motion. Learn more.
The purpose of Ultrasound is to stimulate the repair of soft tissue and relieve pain through the use of acoustic vibrations of high frequency that produce thermal and non-thermal physiologic effects. Learn more.
Electrical Stimulation, also known as e-stim, sends electric impulses through a medium that can help to decrease pain and relax muscles as well as to encourage muscle contraction in muscles that have had neuromuscular damage due to injuries. Learn more.
Therapeutic Exercise & Exercise Modifications
The GFS sports medicine team follows the philosophy of “injured but never out.” When students are recovering from injury, the ATs work with the athlete’s coach, as well as our strength coach, Matt Sheehan, to allow for continued improvement while not exacerbating their injury. This philosophy allows our students to continue being active, encourages a safer and faster return to sport, and helps provide social support.
A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in the alteration of normal brain function. It usually is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. In many cases, there are no external signs of head trauma and often a person with a concussion never loses consciousness.
Return to Play Protocol
Once a student has been medically cleared from their concussion and has successfully returned to a full academic courseload without extra academic accommodations, they may begin the GFS Return to Play Protocol (RTP). A clearance note from a healthcare provider is a clearance to begin the RTP, not full activity.
A graduated 5-step Return To Play is performed to ensure a safe return to sport for student-athletes. A student must be asymptomatic before starting our RTP. During the RTP, student athletes will fill out a Post-Concussion Symptom Checklist with the athletic training staff before and after practice. The successful completion of a step includes not presenting with any symptoms before, during, or after activity, as well as the 24 hours between steps. If a student becomes symptomatic during any of these times they will wait 24 hours before attempting to pass the step again. If students are asymptomatic during a step and the 24 hours following, they may progress to the next step.
Step 1: Light aerobic activity - Typically consists of light biking or running
Step 2: Moderate aerobic activity - Typically consists of moderate biking or running
Step 3: Intense anaerobic activity - Typically consists of an anaerobic exercise circuit
Step 4: Non-Contact Practice - If applicable, a student participates in practice through drills but no live play in which they can come into unsafe contact with another athlete
Step 5: Full Contact Practice - If applicable a student has a normal practice in which they come into normal contact with other students in their sport
Step 6: The student is back to full participation in practice, trainings, and competitions