Michael Cortese returns as the athletic trainer for the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, a role he has held since the 2010-11 season. The 2023 World Para ice Hockey Championship marks his seventh with the team. Last season, he was a member of Team USA's gold medal-winning staff at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, marking his third-straight Paralympic gold medal after also helping Team USA at the 2014 and 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
During his time with Team USA, Cortese has helped the United States claim 15 international titles, including three Paralympic gold medals (2014, 2018, 2022); four world championships (2012, 2015, 2019, 2021); six Para Hockey Cups (formerly World Sled Hockey Challenge) titles (2012, 2015, 2016 (Jan.), 2016 (Dec.), 2017, 2019). Cortese was also on the U.S. staffs to capture the 2013 USA Hockey Sled Cup, 2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championship and 2018 Turin Para Ice Hockey International Tournament.
Additionally, Cortese served on the Team USA staff that earned runner-up finishes at two world championship (2013, 2017); two World Sled Hockey Challenges (2011 (Nov.), 2013); as third-place finishes at the 2011 (Apr.) World Sled Hockey Challenge in London, Ontario.
Cortese is the rehabilitation outpatient supervisor of Bethesda Health Outpatient Rehabilitation in Boynton Beach, Florida.
He completed his undergraduate education at Colorado College in 1984 and became a certified athletic trainer in 1985. During his time with Colorado College, Cortese assisted the athletic department in athletic training roles, including with the men's ice hockey team. He earned his master’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy in 1987 and has been a board certified specialist in orthopaedics since 1996.
He has instructed numerous continuing education courses for medical professionals on the shoulder, lower extremities, and orthotic management of the foot. Also, Cortese has worked in professional and amateur sports.