The Detroit Lions are reshaping their training department, now hiring Mike Sundeen as their new head athletic trainer.
The Detroit Lions are looking to improve in all areas, and player health and performance is clearly a focus in recent months. After hiring Brett Fischer as the new Director of Player Health and Performance in February, Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press reported Mike Sundeen has been hired as the Lions new head athletic trainer.
Sundeen will replace Kevin Bastin, who was the Lions’ head trainer from 2014-2018 before coming back in 2021 and serving in the role the last two seasons.
Sundeen has been the Denver Broncos assistant athletic trainer since 2014. He’s getting his first shot to be a head athletic trainer, and the well-respected Fischer surely had a big role in the hire.
The Lions generally got good marks in the results of the recently released NFLPA player survey. But their worst grades came in Training Room (D+) and Food Service/Nutrition (D-). Team president Rod Wood said they knew of those deficiencies via internal surveys, and Fischer’s hire was a step toward fixing those areas.
Detroit Lions hire new athletic trainer as they continue to reshape training department
Based on Football Outsiders Adjusted Games Lost, the Lions were the sixth-most injured team in the NFL last season. And that was an improvement over 2021, when they were the third-highest (where high is bad) in that metric.
Injuries have impacted poor starts by the Lions, and impacted individual player performance, in each of the last two seasons–with no one spot or position group on the roster touched particularly more than another. Achilles tears have been a particular thing though, with Jeff Okudah, Romeo Okwara and Tracy Walker each suffering one in a 13-month span. Back injuries cost Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Levi Onwuzurike and Tommy Kraemer all of last season.
How much can be done about those aforementioned kind of injuries with a reshaped training department is unclear, but installing a new field surface at Ford Field should help some. More broadly, the Lions saw an area they can be better in and they are taking proactive steps to fix it.