Student steps up to a full plate of academics and athletics

David Lutz knows a little bit about squeeze plays. While pursuing his bachelor of science degree in kinesiology at Penn State, he still found time to play baseball for Penn State. After receiving his degree in May 2009, he enrolled in the master of health administration (M.H.A.) program. His hectic schedule of academics and athletics will not change much this year, as Lutz is finishing his final year of eligibility as co-captain of the baseball team.

As a first-year student, Lutz joined the team as a walk-on; unfortunately, a shoulder injury kept him off the field that spring. Lutz rehabilitated his shoulder, and, last season, as a red-shirt junior, led the team’s pitchers in earned-run average (ERA) and appearances and was second in wins and saves. In addition, Lutz's 26 appearances in a season is tied for fourth-most appearances by a pitcher in a single season of Penn State baseball.

This season, Lutz expects to play just as much.

“I work as a reliever, and this season I will be expected to pitch in big situations late in games and anchor the bullpen,” he said.

Lutz is equally successful off the field. During his undergraduate studies, he earned dean’s list recognition every semester and worked as a counselor for various youth sports programs. He currently volunteers at the Village at Penn State, where he leads exercise and wellness classes for older adults.

Lutz chose to pursue a career in health care because of his involvement in sports during high school.

“I had an interest in the human body and how it worked, and kinesiology seemed a good fit,” he said.

During his high school baseball career, the West Chester native was awarded with honors that include recognition as Chester County Player of the Year. He joined his high school teammates as state champions during his sophomore year of high school, followed by district champs and state semi-finalists his junior and senior years, respectively.

Lutz became interested in the administrative side of health care after shadowing an orthopedic surgeon during the summer after his junior year at Penn State.

“I was impressed by not only the skill that went in to being a surgeon, but also at the myriad factors that went into aspects of his everyday work. Coming away from the experience, I felt that there was an entire side of the medical industry that I did not understand. This is how I stumbled upon the MHA program,” he said.

Lutz said he is regularly surprised by how academics relate to athletics and vice versa.

“My time management skills have been and continue to be tested and honed by the large time commitment that baseball is to my schedule. Just recently, I have found that my status as a captain of the team demands leadership skills that are being taught in class -- I feel like every practice and meeting is an opportunity to showcase my leadership knowledge, and at the same time, every class is an opportunity to dissect how I handled situations on the diamond and compare them to the various theories and examples being discussed in class. It's a fun endeavor on either end.”

Lutz sees his MHA degree leading him to opportunities to remain connected to baseball, possibly working in orthopedics or sports medicine in either a professional or collegiate sport setting.

The Penn State baseball team began its season in late February. Full schedule/roster information can be found at http://www.gopsusports.com.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010