Coordinator of Rehabilitation/Assistant Athletic Trainer
Tom Hunkele enters his 13th season as an assistant on the Vikings athletic training staff in 2018 as coordinator of rehabilitation/assistant athletic trainer. Hunkele and Vikings Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman previously worked together for 6 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Hunkele assists in the evaluation and care of all injuries sustained and helps implement proactive treatment and rehabilitation programs for the athletes.
During Hunkele’s tenure with the Eagles from 2000-05, he worked with NovaCare Rehabilitation as a staff physical therapist during the offseason and as an assistant with the team starting in the preseason through the remainder of the schedule. While working with the Eagles, Hunkele was part of Rick Burkholder’s highly regarded staff and was exposed to some of the most progressive rehab programs and techniques at work in the NFL today.
Hunkele started in the athletic training field as a student at Duquesne, where he assisted with the athletic training staff for football during his undergraduate days. During the 1997 season, he was exposed to the NFL for the 1st time when he served as a season-long intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers who advanced to the AFC Championship to face eventual Super Bowl champs Denver.
Following his graduation in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Duquesne, Hunkele remained at the school to earn his master’s in physical therapy. During graduate school, he served as a graduate assistant from 1998-2000 where he worked as head athletic trainer for the men’s soccer, ice hockey and men’s and women’s tennis teams along, with supervising student assistants. Hunkele is certified as a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Hunkele is also a sports certified specialist through the APTA. In 2013, the Vikings staff was recognized with the Excellence in Aquatics Award by HydroWorx in honor of their progressive use of aquatic therapy. The Vikings staff was honored by their NFL peers as the Athletic Training Staff of the Year for 2017 as part of the annual Ed Block Courage Award gala.
Hunkele, a native of Reading, PA, and graduate of Holy Name High School, is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association along with being a licensed physical therapist in Minnesota. Hunkele is married to Rachel and the couple resides in Eden Prairie with their daughters, Zara and Zoe.