By Tyriq Thompson SMSB Alum / Intern - Staff Writer
In recent years, athletic programs across the NCAA’s Power 5 conferences (Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12 and PAC-12) have been paying special attention to the food they provide their student-athletes. Programs like Clemson and Alabama are pouring large amounts of money into the fueling and recovery of their players. Why should big time college programs be the only ones focusing on the nutrition and recovery of their athletes? Aaron Scott believes they shouldn’t be.
Scott is a product of the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD). He is a personal strength coach and an instructor at Wayne County Community College’s eastern campus. Most recently, Aaron, in partnership with Milk Means More, teamed up with SMSB E.L.I.T.E., a program of the Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) Football Academy, to provide DPSCD high school student-athletes with nutritional education and meals.
“My main goal is to establish some form of sustainability and nutritional security for the student-athletes in the community,” says Scott. “Nutritional security is about what they have access to; is there a grocery store in their neighborhood? Are they eating school lunch? We want to educate them on post-workout recovery, the importance of hydration, and eating three meals a day.”
Every week, Scott speaks to the young men in the SMSB E.L.I.T.E. program about the importance of using food as fuel in sports. When they’re asked, “who would like to play football at the next level?” All 50 student-athletes raise their hands. Scott knows that in order for them to get there, they have to start preparing for it now.
Scott says, “I’m always looking at what they’re doing on a collegiate level to bring it to the high school level, and the pattern is changing. Nutrition and recovery are becoming major points of emphasis for these programs. I believe it needs to change on the high school level as well. We want these students to be 100% every time they touch the field. We’re teaching them that food is fuel, and you have to utilize it to get to where you need to be.”
Scott believes it’s never too early to implement nutritional education. “If we establish nutritional sustainability now, there won’t be a culture shock when they get to the next level. If we never expose them to a structure like what they’ll experience in college, how will they ever be prepared for it?”
This is Scott’s second year working with SMSB. He started implementing body movement training, proper stretching and breathing, and yoga with the student-athletes in the E.L.I.T.E. program. “Things like this give our kids a leg up when it’s time to perform. Things like correcting their hips will help improve their 40-yard dash time. Eating better now will help them develop faster, recover quicker, and they won’t go off to college undersized. If I can help the students to understand what it takes and instill that mindset in them, I’ve done my job,” said Scott.
Scott has support from over 1500 Michigan Dairy Farmers who he said loves what he and Milk Means More are doing in Detroit. “They want to know what else we can do. The Detroit Lions have also reached out, and we’re in the process of bringing fueling stations to schools in Detroit for their student-athletes. Detroit King will be the first school to have one. They’ll be receiving performance plates after practices, which are micro versions of what they’d be getting after practices at the collegiate level.”
Scott has received a positive reception from the young men in the SMSB E.L.I.T.E. program, and is impressed with their level of commitment and their ability to take advantage of the resources they’ve been provided.
Scott says, “they’re sending me pictures of what’s on their plate, asking questions on meal prep and planning. Being here for these young men is allowing me to do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is help athletes. These are the resources I wish I could have had in high school. We have to stop allowing things to recur in our community. It’s up to us to make sure they are going in the right direction, and I plan to continue to do that one meal at a time.”
Applications for the Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) E.L.I.T.E. program are now open. Session begins September 6. This program is year-round: training, virtual and in-person tutoring, mentoring, 7v7, recruiting, college visits, camps, and more.
The deadline to sign up is August 31. Space is limited! Click here to apply: bit.ly/smsbELITE