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Sports Nutrition Organizations Feeding Education to NCAA Student-Athletes

Latrice Sales, MS, CSCS

Two prominent sports nutrition member organizations in the U.S. have formed an alliance with the NCAA Sport Science Institute (NCAA SSI) to provide timely and relevant nutrition education for NCAA student-athletes.

The Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA) is partnering for the first time with Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) – a dietetic practice group of the Chicago-based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – to author stories and sport-specific fact sheets and to translate the most current nutrition-related research into practical fueling and recovery strategies.

In the opinion of both CPSDA and SCAN, sensible whole foods and adequate fluids contribute measurably to athletic performance and health, notably before student-athletes’ activity and in the recovery period immediately following intense exercise. Timing and prescribing the proper combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats determines the speed at which student-athletes recover, and to what degree they fully recover before the next exercise bout.

Among the core values of the NCAA SSI is a commitment to ensuring that collegiate student-athletes train and compete in a safe and healthy environment. NCAA SSI will publish new nutrition information every month on its web site, ranging from remedial to advanced education as provided by leading members of CPSDA and SCAN.

“Nutrition in collegiate athletics has advanced to the point now that Sports Registered Dietitians (Sports RDs) can continually monitor and assess for issues athletes may have, and in doing so can address nutrition concerns proactively,” explains Amy Bragg, RD, CSSD, LD, Director of Performance Nutrition at the University of Alabama.

“Our first and foremost job is to teach the value of good nutrition to our athletes,” added Bragg, who was instrumental in forming the CPSDA in 2009, served as its President (2012 to 2013) and as the Assistant Director of Sports Dietetics, USA (SD-USA), the sports focused subunit of SCAN in 2008.

SCAN has served as the sports nutrition specialty arm of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for more than 30 years. Many of SCAN’s 8,000 members provide one-on-one and team counseling to NCAA institutions and professional sports teams. 

"It is exciting to see these three organizations coming together with the goal of providing the most cutting edge sports nutrition information and educational materials for collegiate student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and athletics administrators,” says Kelly White, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Director of Continuing Education at SCAN and project manager of the collegiate nutrition education collaboration.

About CPSDA: CPSDA was formed in 2009 by full-time sports registered dietitians with two primary goals: Advocate for the health and safety of collegiate, professional, Olympic and U.S. military athletes; and advance continuing education programs for registered dietitians who seek a career as a full-time Sports RD. CPSDA’s 900 active members account for nearly all of the Sports RDs in the U.S. that are working full-time with athletes in a structured athletic program, primarily those employed by college athletic programs and in professional sports. View CPSDA sports nutrition resources here.

About SCAN: SCAN is the largest dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Members are registered dietitians with nutrition expertise in the areas of sports, physical activity, cardiovascular health, wellness and the prevention and treatment of disordered eating and eating disorders. SCAN’s mission is to empower members to be the nation’s food and nutrition leaders through excellence and expertise in nutrition for sports and physical activity, cardiovascular health, wellness, disordered eating and eating disorders. View SCAN sports nutrition resources here.