By Henry O’Brien ’20 Sports Editor
1. How can student athletes improve their diet throughout the season?
When it comes to diet and athletes, there is no simple answer for what is best throughout a season. Each person is different, and in today’s world, so many people have different allergies, restrictions, etc., that it is nearly impossible to provide a blanket response for nutrition. One of the first things I would suggest is “know yourself.” That means you know what makes you feel good before, during and after a practice or competition, and what doesn’t make you feel good or perform well. Some people get an upset stomach or feel sluggish if they eat too much or certain types of foods.
A second important factor is timing of nutrition. The athletic department schedules pregame meal times to help with this factor. It is ideal to consume a moderately sized pregame meal about two to four hours before competition time. Right before a game or during the game, it is okay to eat a small snack that helps provide energy for exercise. Post-game meals should be consumed within an hour after the competition to replenish carbohydrates, protein, and to a lesser degree, fats.
A third factor involves what you are actually eating. Every meal should be well-balanced with carbs, protein, fats, etc. I cannot breakdown the specific amounts in a short response, but athletes should reach out to certain resources on campus, including athletic trainers, if they are questioning their habits.
It is also important to remember to be properly hydrated! Hydration plays a huge role in athletic performance.
2. What is the biggest challenge you have faced as part of the athletic training program?
There is not a huge challenge that stands out with regards to athletic training at Mercersburg. When the athletic training room is busy in the afternoon from 4:00 to 4:15, it can be difficult to take care of every athlete in depth. The athletic training room can easily see anywhere from 25 to 50 athletes in the hour after classes end, depending on the day. The record for the fall was 50+ sign-ins in one PGA time period (and that occurred several days). That limits the amount of treatment and rehab that can be completed for athletes that need to make it to practices and games at a specific time. At those times, the athletic trainers triage evaluations and treatments and monitor several athletes at one time to help speed up the process. The student assistants do a good job of helping athletes with basic needs as well. Athletic trainers have to be creative and quick thinking to get everything completed. Athletes help out too by reporting during free rotations for treatments and rehabs as well. Overall, that’s what makes athletic training exciting. You never have two days that are the same, and you stay ready for whatever walks through the door next, including snowball fight injuries and skateboarding accidents!