May 27, 2016
Zachary Y. Kerr, PhD, was always picked last for sports teams at school. He finds that funny now that he works in the field of sports injury prevention.
Kerr is director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Injury Surveillance Program at the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention.
“The job has provided me with a different outlook and a much greater respect for athletes, coaches and team medical staff,” he says.
After graduating in 2014 from the Gillings School’s Department of Epidemiology, he saw the posting for his current job and knew it would allow him to play a key part in the development of data-driven, evidence-based sports policy and programming.
Kerr has come a long way from the north shore of Maui, where he grew up. In addition to his professional achievements, he is personally proud to represent the LGBT community in a field with few LGBT-identified individuals.
“I have received respect and support from the NCAA and the Datalys Center,” says Kerr. “It’s the same supportive environment that made UNC so great. I was given the opportunity to enrich my experience in sports injury research in an environment that allowed me to be confident in my abilities and never feel ashamed of who I am.”
This story originally was published in the Spring 2016 edition of Carolina Public Health Magazine.