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Dr. Bernie Feldman, 81, Hall of Fame physician to the wrestling community, has passed away

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Photo on right is of Dr. Bernie Feldman at the UWW International Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

USA Wrestling was saddened to receive word that Dr. Bernard J. Feldman of Palos Park, Ill., 81, called Bernie by his friends within the sport, has passed away.

Dr. Feldman spent decades volunteering his time to serve as a physician for USA Wrestling, as well as internationally with United World Wrestling. His passion was supporting the wrestlers and assisting them at tournaments in any way he could. He worked with athletes from nations all over the world, and made numerous friends though his support of wrestling.

“No one has had a greater impact on the medical care of elite wrestlers around the world than Dr. Bernie. He will be sorely missed by thousands around the globe. His legacy will live on as he touched the lives of so many always offering loving medical care to anyone in need. The thoughts and prayers of the wrestling community are with Rashel and Claire at this time of loss. The sport has lost a legend,” said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director.

Memorial visitation will be held Thursday, August 5, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Kerry Funeral Home & Cremation Care Center, 7020 West 127th Street, Palos Heights, Ill. Internment is at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery will be private.

Feldman’s medical career within wrestling began at a Junior World Championships in 1983 in Oak Lawn, Ill., where he volunteered to assist at the competition. Feldman was hooked on the sport and its athletes from that experience, and has been serving as a doctor for United World Wrestling at numerous Olympic, World and Continental Championships for decades. Dr. Feldman has also been a doctor for USA Wrestling at a number of major international events.

It is not only his medical expertise which has made Feldman so much respected within the sport, but also his love and respect for the athletes and coaches from around the world who he has helped in his medical role.

Most recently, Dr. Feldman served on USA Wrestling’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee, a group of medical, scientific, government and public health experts who advised the organization on a variety of important issues that has helped the organization navigate the challenges caused by the pandemic.

He has received two of the most prestigious awards in wrestling, being elected to the UWW International Wrestling Hall of Fame in its Order of Merit category in 2018, as well as receiving the Order of Merit from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010. He was the first physician honored by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Dr. Feldman has worked at numerous Olympic Games, and over 150 international wrestling events, serving as official wrestling physician at Senior World Championships, Junior World Championships, Cadet World Championships, Pan American Games and many other important competitions.

Feldman has served on the UWW Medical Prevention and Anti-Doping Department. In 2008, he was awarded UWW Silver Star. one of the most prestigious awards given by the international wrestling association for his commitment to the sport.

From the family obituary

Beloved husband of Rashel D. (nee Paul) Feldman. Loving Father of Anne C. and Clare D. Feldman. Brother to Sara Jane (Feldman) Anapol and the late Paul Anapol. Uncle to many nieces and nephews. Bernie loved practicing medicine and teaching others to do the same, enjoyed cheering for the University of Michigan, anyone who played against the University of Notre Dame, the Chicago White Sox, H.L. Richards High School Football, USA Wrestling and United World Wrestling. For the later organization, he was privileged to travel to events all over the world attending to wrestlers.

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