KU alums compete in Super Bowl LVII training opposing teams
No matter which team takes home this year’s Super Bowl trophy, KU alumni will be winners. Two KU alums who are athletic trainers are part of this year’s Super Bowl teams — only they’ll be on opposite sidelines.
Evan Craft, d’10, is an assistant athletic trainer for the Kansas City Chiefs and Trey Kunz, d’09, is a physical therapist/athletic trainer for the Philadelphia Eagles.
After months of work, practices and games, the two are excited to see their teams’ season-long efforts culminate on Sunday.
“It’s the ultimate reward,” Craft said. “That’s what we strive for with our players and getting them better. Everybody’s got the same mission.”
“It’s pretty much work every day, so it’s cool for it to culminate in a Super Bowl,” Kunz said. “I think that’s what anybody wants when they’re working on a team sport.”
Kunz has been with the Eagles for four seasons, making this his first Super Bowl. “Everybody’s kind of on the same page, which is just focused and willing to do whatever it takes to win and work hard,” he said.
Craft is in his tenth season for the Chiefs, having gone to three Super Bowls in the last four years.
Athletic trainers are responsible for the health, safety and injury rehabilitation of players, coaches and staff throughout the season and during game time. “We’re the first responders — the first line of defense,” Craft said.
When Craft and Kunz were at KU, the athletic training program was a bachelor’s degree in the School of Education and Human Sciences at the Lawrence campus. The program has since moved to the University of Kansas Medical Center, where it is now a two-year master’s degree.
Craft recalls the support he felt from the School of Education and his mentors at KU.
“They told us that we were only limited to what we what we wanted to do,” Craft said, “And I think that’s what really motivated me to work in football and professional sports.”
Just as Craft and Kunz overlapped during their time at KU meeting through mutual friends, the two Jayhawks run into each other now and then in the NFL too. They catch up occasionally over text and at each year’s NFL combine to wish each other “good luck” on the next season.
“It’ll be fun for both of us,” Kunz said. “I hope it’s a good game.”
— Rylie Koester