10 Questions with Michael Kuta

If you have taken Physical Education at Andover, chances are, you were probably taught the sleep lesson by Michael Kuta, Head Athletic Trainer and Instructor in Physical Education. Kuta first started working at Andover in 1980, making this his 41st year. As part of the athletic training team, he enjoys interacting with students and working with his colleagues in the training room and on the field.  



Athletic trainers are charged with the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. That’s the long standing description of what we do. But over the years, it’s morphed into much more than that we’re on the front lines. We work very closely with the [Rebecca M.] Sykes Wellness team. Dr. [Amy] Patel’s, [Medical Director at Sykes Wellness Center], leadership is instrumental in what we’re doing. So being on the frontlines, we get to see kids every day follow through with medical procedures as described to us. But we often build alliances with student athletes, and therefore, we can help with many concerns with lifestyle, wellness, everything from mental health to nutrition. [There is] this notion of teamwork. I want to make mention of the fantastic members of our team with Mrs. Wiggins, Mr. Kershaw and Mr. O’Reilly are just fantastic teammates they have given our responsibilities.



Typically kids will come to the athletic training room with physical injuries. People will go to Sykes with musculoskeletal injuries as well but also with illnesses or seeking counsel, nutrition advice, and all these other lifestyle wellness things that we talked about. They have a terrific team over there that can help with all those things, and very often we will get kids referred from Sykes to follow through on the program that they established.



Like many other athletic trainers, I was injured in high school, and I really benefited from the care and treatment of an athletic trainer with my knees, so I was able to return to play football earlier than I thought. I just thought, “wow, what an interesting profession. It has to do with sports and kids.” And what’s a better combination than that? Especially at a place like Andover, where you have some of the most awesome kids, awesome students, awesome athletes; I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.



There are a lot of humorous things that have happened over the years. I can’t think of anything in particular right now. But, you know, over 41 years, you’re going to have a lot of things that are pretty funny.



We’ve all heard eight to ten hours is really important. You know, the research shows that adolescents should get 9.25 hours of sleep per night and I know that’s difficult to achieve here, but that’s certainly something we all should aim at.



Try to have a regular schedule that starts with a routine getting ready for sleep. Try to have a sane bedtime and get up time wake up time on a regular basis so you have established a routine that becomes part of your overall schedule, because sleep is everything. [It] helps with everything from academic and physical performance and growth and development, but also helps with all those other things that I just mentioned about lifestyle and wellness. If you take out sleep, it’s hard to deal with stress because you’re so exhausted, and if you don’t have enough sleep, it’s hard to perform well in the classroom or on the playing field or the dance floor or wherever. That becomes a stressor, to see how one thing affects another, so sleep is crucial. [Have] a regular routine, avoid caffeine, [and] avoid eating late at night. 



Stir fry, and salad bar, no doubt, the power bar.



Girls soccer, hockey, football, and running sports send a lot of kids. We see a lot of kids from the track teams, cross country teams and so on.



I love the playing field, especially when they have kids on it… And working with my teammates.  



I like them all for different reasons. You know, they get to see more kids in the main training room so that’s awesome. With the rink training room, hockey… I really like all sports…but hockey is something I particularly like, and Snyder’s is just a beautiful room and again, great kids, so they all are my favorites for different reasons. But I would say Borden because I get to see a lot more kids which is the part of my job that I like the best.