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Credit: Peter Ribeiro

Mike McCurdy, former sprint football quarterback and 2017 Penn graduate, never ceased to impress on and off the field during his time on campus, and things haven’t changed in that regard since he left. 

Many of Penn’s athletes graduate and move on to accomplish great things, but McCurdy stands out among his colleagues. Originally looking to be recruited to Penn football out of high school, he ended up getting into the school without a guaranteed roster spot.

“I contacted the football head coach [once I got into Penn] and he said, ‘We don’t have a spot for you, but we do have sprint football. You should get in touch with [coach Bill Wagner].’ That’s how I got introduced to sprint football and the possibility of playing at Penn, which was exciting,” McCurdy said.

In his first season in 2013, McCurdy was a second-team All-Collegiate Sprint Football League honoree for his performance as quarterback after playing in all of Penn's games. Moving forward, he posted even more impressive seasons in his sophomore and junior years. In 2015, McCurdy was No. 1 in the League in passing and rushing touchdowns and won the CSFL Co-MVP award.

In his senior year, McCurdy won another CSFL MVP award and had the most total yards and passing yards in the League, in addition to leading the CSFL in passing touchdowns.

“Sprint football’s a funny thing, and I think for the rest of my life it’ll be something I have to explain to people,” McCurdy said. “In med school interviews, I would say that I played football, and the person would look and say ‘this says sprint football’, and I’d have to go into a 10-minute explanation telling people what it is. But honestly it’s been a great thing and can even break tension, especially during med school interviews where there’s high pressure.” 

On campus, McCurdy was involved in a variety of other campus groups, including Penn’s chapter of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and Penny Loafers, an a cappella group. 

McCurdy also immersed himself in academic life at Penn, majoring in Biological Basis of Behavior as a pre-med student. His stellar academic performance at Penn — which included his membership in Penn’s pre-med, pre-health society for athletes and his involvement at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center — helped lead him on his path to medical school.

After graduating from Penn, McCurdy headed to Georgetown to complete a master's degree in physiology. He then worked as a medical scribe in his home state of Maryland in an emergency department, as well as at a private practice. This year, he began his first year of medical school at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“When you come to med school, you treat it more like a job than school I think, just dedicating 8-5 to school work,” McCurdy said. “Recently I’ve been getting into the idea of doing some type of surgery, I’m thinking either ortho, shock trauma — because we have a really good shock trauma facility at Maryland — or neurosurgery.”

McCurdy has a long road of school and hard work ahead of him with his plan to complete medical school and specialize in surgery. But grit and determination are second-nature to him, which will certainly aid him in achieving similar successes to those he had at Penn.