Former Cosmos trainer Bob Russo passed away Monday. He was 64.
Besides his duties for the team in the original incarnation of the North American Soccer League, Russo also was a head trainer for the U.S. Davis Cup team and senior athletic trainer for male players at U.S. Open tennis.
ProHEALTH, for whom Russo worked said that it “mourns the loss of our friend and colleague. … Bob was an integral part of ProHEALTH since its inception, where he made major contributions in marketing, especially our sports connections. Early on, he established the ProHEALTH Vitas Gerulaitis Scholarly Activity Awards. … Bob was also a strong advocate for patient education and was a driving force in the eHealth Network. He was beloved by all and will be greatly missed.”
Russo taped up tennis players for 35 years.
“You see them at their most vulnerable times, and you see them at the highlight of their achievements,” Russo told Newsday in a 2012 interview. “It’s emotional if you’ve worked so hard to get here, and you sustain an injury that puts you off from the tournament . . . There is a lot riding at the U.S. Open for everybody.”
In 2004, Russo was inducted into the U.S. Tennis Association’s Eastern Hall of Fame.
In a 2012 interview with Newsday, Open tournament director David Brewer called Russo “a player’s trainer.”
“He earns the trust of the players very quickly,” he said. “He gives high-fives up and down the hallway.”
A wake will be held at Fairchild Sons Funeral Home in Garden City, N.Y., Thursday at 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
A Funeral Mass will take place at St. Anne’s Church in Garden City at 10 a.m. Friday.
Burial will be at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury, N.Y.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Russo’s name to the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.