My time with the Chargers has been nothing short of amazing. I was given the opportunity over summer to be a Chargers’ training camp intern and was fortunate to be invited back for completion of my leadership rotation. Women working in professional sports are starting to become more common, and it is a privilege to learn from someone so well versed in the field like Paige Crawford, team dietitian. Professional athletes are paid to be the best at their sport, and Sports Performance at the Los Angeles Chargers provides the resources necessary to do so. During training camp, I learned how to sweat test athletes to determine their sodium loss rate. The dietitian uses this information to provide athletes with hydration cards for reference before, during, and post-game or practice. When players are on the field, we are on the sideline with quick energy and electrolytes. For nutrition education and guidelines, we create handouts and posters to stress the importance of hydration and ergogenic aids to incorporate into the diet. Educating players on the relationship between physiology and nutrition is vital for fueling a healthy career in the NFL.
The sports nutrition class I took in my undergraduate program assured me I would love the job if I could find one. When I was given the opportunity to reach out to an NFL dietitian, I embraced it and I’m so happy that I did. The dietitians and staff I have worked with during this experience have been so generous with their time; willing to explain and train at length to help me prepare for my future career. I’m so lucky to be welcomed by this organization. In six months, both dietetic internships have changed my outlook on the path to becoming an RD. It can be intimidating knowing you will have to apply what took you several years to learn. Once you accept change and see that your preceptors are rooting for you as much as your friends and family, you realize that it’s okay to fail or not know everything. You are here for a reason, and you would not get this far if you didn’t have the tools to do so.