Penn State Introduces Nutritional Health Program For Student Athletes
Penn State Athletics announced the beginning a nutritional health program for student athletes today, giving the university’s 31 athletic teams access to healthier and sport-specific meals at fueling stations located in athletic facilities throughout campus.
The move follows the NCAA’s announcement of new guidelines this past April, which allow both walk-on and scholarship athletes to receive unlimited meals and snacks. Penn State will commit between $500,000-$750,000 annually toward the new program.
“The welfare of our student-athletes is a top priority,” said Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour in a press release. “With the change in the NCAA rules in this area, we are now able to provide enhanced nutritional options for our student-athletes. These stations will not only fuel them on the playing field, but also in the classroom, which is equally as important. We are delighted to bring this new asset to the Penn State student-athlete experience.”
At the “Enhanced Fueling Stations,” a variety of carbohydrates, proteins and Gatorade products will be made available to Penn State’s 850-plus student athletes in addition to the already existing meal plans they receive from scholarships.
Dr. Kris Clark, Penn State’s director of sports nutrition, said the energy needs of athletes who train two to three times per day are substantial, so fueling stations are necessary to help sustain energy through practice and recover from workouts.
“Whether it’s a 5:30 a.m. weight workout, a 2:30 p.m. field workout, or an 8 p.m. workout in Holuba Hall, student-athletes need calories on demand at unusual hours,” said Clark. “Our goal is to make sure our athletes have the necessary nutrition support to meet the energy demands of every sport.”
Men’s soccer coach Bob Warming said the new program is especially helpful for his players, giving them the calories they need to meet the rigorous physical demands of the sport.
“The combination of and volume of sprinting and running (in soccer) is higher than almost any sport,” said Warming. “Penn State’s new commitment to fund the additional calories essential to help them recover properly from the rigors of our sport and be properly fueled for their academic responsibilities is a game changer.”