By Mary O’Connell
Leonidas Katsetos is the definition of someone who has made the most of what life has had to offer him. Katsetos is currently the Senior Associate Athletic Director for athletic training at Sacred Heart University.
He not only oversees the athletic training at the school, but is also an ambassador to the Connecticut Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and helps manage restaurants with his family.
Katsetos was raised in Chincoteague Island, Va., a small island located on the Eastern shore of Virginia. As a high school student there, he was a four-sport athlete and harbored a love and interest in sports, as well as helping others. He later went on to study at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
As a freshman at Old Dominion, Katsetos tore his ACL in his left knee and was lucky enough to be rehabilitated by the athletic training staff at the university after his surgery. It was at this time, where he discovered that Athletic Training was the path for him.
“I fell in love with the profession and I was relentless in convincing the staff athletic trainers at ODU to allow me to begin working at gaining hours and experience as an athletic training student. They accepted me and the rest is history,” said Katsetos.
He ended up at Sacred Heart after obtaining his masters degree from Old Dominion. As the senior associate director for athletic training he oversees the Athletic Training and strength and conditioning departments at Sacred Heart.
In addition to having an administrative role as a senior athletic director, he also works as the head athletic trainer for the men’s basketball team and the men and women’s golf teams.
Along with working in Athletic Training, Katsetos also works closely with a cause that is very meaningful to him.
He is an ambassador to the Connecticut Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis Society, where he is involved in raising money and awareness for the society.
The cause is an important one for him, as he has been living with Multiple Sclerosis himself for almost thirteen years.
Katsetos was diagnosed with the disease of the central nervous system in Dec. of 2003, when he began to develop symptoms such as numbness and tingling in his lower extremities. Since then, he has taken the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) into his own hands.
“I’ve learned to embrace my life as it has been presented to me and just make the most of it. I realize that although I may not have control over the cards that were dealt to me, I do have control over how I play the hand,” said Katsetos.
A local walk is the main charitable event for the MS Society. Alongside family, friends and the Sacred Heart community, Katsetos and his team, called Sacred Hearts for HOPE, raise money and awareness by participating in the walk once a year. Since 2005, they have raised over one hundred thousand dollars.
As if his profession in athletic training and advocacy for the MS Society wasn’t enough to take on, Katsetos also helps manage two restaurants in his hometown of Chincoteague Island during the summers. Through growing up in the restaurant business that his parents owned, he and his siblings developed their work ethic.
Eventually Katsetos and his two brothers opened their own restaurants in 2008, one called Steamers and the other called Sports Bar. Although he is not able to spend as much time in Chincoteaque Island as he used to due to the increased demands as Director of Athletic Training, he still tries to remain as involved as possible.
It is clear that nothing can slow Katsetos down, even in the face of adversity.
“This led me to believe a saying that I had heard from someone else who was living with MS. ‘I have MS, it doesn’t have ME,’” said Katsetos.