New Athletic Trainer Zachary Kershaw Seeks to Build Trusting Relationships in “Inclusive Community”

Zachary Kershaw is a new athletic trainer who joined Andover this September, moving from Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia back to New England, where he grew up. Kershaw says one of the first things he has noticed at Andover is the diversity and inclusiveness of the school, which has made feeling welcomed and building connections with people at the school much easier.

“I was very thankful [that] I just came from working north of Virginia in a [inner-city] high school, [so I had] some background and experience of working with a very diverse community. It was very enticing for me to be able to continue working with an even more diverse community, because… the students [and] the faculty are from all over the world… I felt very [welcomed], and it’s got me very excited… to get to know everyone and work [with them] throughout the rest of the year,” said Kershaw.

According to Athletic Trainer Michael Kuta, Kershaw brings with him a unique perspective and makes a very positive and welcome addition to the Andover staff.

Kuta said, “It’s always nice to have new folks, they bring very new ideas, fresh ideas, new energy, and offer a different perspective on ways we can improve our program.”

According to Kershaw, he has found that the diversity at Andover has allowed him to have interesting conversations about where students and faculty are from. Kershaw values being able to gain different perspectives from different parts of the country and the world from these conversations.

Kershaw said, “One of the very first questions I’ve asked every student-athlete I’ve interacted with… is ‘where are you from?’ And it’s really neat because you get to hear their experiences of coming from a different country or from a different part of the United States… and just get their perspective. I think we can all learn something when we’re interacting with each other and [hearing about] their experiences of the world and what our experiences have been, and sharing back and forth. That’s really been the best part of my experiences thus far in working with the students and the student-athletes at [Andover].”

Kershaw also believes communicating and having these conversations is an effective way to build trust. He notes that creating a meaningful connection with the athletes allows for a much more beneficial relationship for both of them.

“[Asking questions such as] ‘what sport do you play?’, ‘what hobbies do you have?’, before we even start to talk about their injury [helps] establish that relationship and trust [and] that only helps move forward with the evaluation and helping them with whatever ailment they may have,” said Kershaw.

Kuta highlights Kershaw’s natural ability to communicate with student-athletes to build trusting relationships.

“He’s a natural. The kids enjoy talking to him, and making those connections, and therefore build confidence in his ability to do all the great work that he does.”

Despite going through an adjustment period in his first weeks at Andover, Kershaw enjoys the challenges that come with a new job and is excited to face them in a supportive environment.

“I really think [challenges go] with any new experience, new job, [or] new school. If you’re a student, adjusting to different policies, different procedures, working with new people, building new relationships [are things that] you want to do. [I think that being able] to build really good relationships with [my] co-workers, student-athletes and coaches… [has] been the biggest challenge, but everyone so far has been super welcoming [and] super helpful, especially my co-workers within the athletics department, answering any and all questions I’ve had thus far,” said Kershaw.