TU grad students inform high school athletes through Albert Schweitzer Fellowship - The University of Tulsa
Close Menu
Close Menu

TU grad students inform high school athletes through Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

Graham Jameison and Triston Hopkins

Two students in The University of Tulsa’s master of athletic training program, Graham Jameison and Triston Hopkins, are increasing nutrition education among student-athletes at Sapulpa High School. The project is the focus of Jameison and Hopkins’ Albert Schweitzer Fellowship in Tulsa.

Founded in 1940, the international Albert Schweitzer Fellowship selects graduate students to plan and implement projects that improve health outcomes in underserved communities. Tulsa was added to the program in 2016. Each year, a handful of graduate students from area universities are selected to develop a project related to their field of study that addresses specific health concerns.

With a common background in sports medicine, Hopkins and Jamieson understand the important role nutrition plays in the health and performance of athletes. Through clinical experience, they became increasingly aware of the lack of nutritional guidance provided to high school athletes.

“Many high school students fail to receive proper nutrition education which keeps them from knowing how to make healthy choices once they graduate,” said Jamieson (BS ’22). “With Sapulpa’s desire for nutrition content for their students, the athletic training staff was more than willing to allow us to work with their student-athletes.”

Hopkins and Jamieson applied for the 2023-24 fellowship with a proposal that allowed them to partner with Dalton Wyrick (BS ’19, MAT ’21), the head athletic trainer at Sapulpa High School, to develop a nutrition education program for student-athletes. As the site supervisor for Hopkins and Jamieson’s project, Wyrick has seen the program’s impact firsthand, and is thrilled with how much the athletes and coaches at Sapulpa High School have learned.

“Their nutrition education has helped athletes better understand how to fuel their bodies to better optimize their performance, reduce injuries, and all around be more aware of what they are fueling themselves with,” Wyrick said.

To ensure the education they provide is impactful, Jameison and Hopkins met with the coaches of each Sapulpa sports team to discuss the goals of the project before giving a series of presentations to the athletes in which they explained the basics of sports nutrition and applied them to the specific demands of each sport. Thanks to a grant from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, the student-athletes also received healthy snacks.

“We discuss nutrition principles and hydration strategies. We apply it all directly to their sport to discuss weight management strategies, pre- and post-game meals, and address any other topics the coaches or athletes may be interested in,” Hopkins said. “We’ve been fortunate to meet with many different sports teams at Sapulpa High School and hope we’ve been able to create a positive change in the student-athletes’ health and performance.”

The Schweitzer Fellowship’s mission to improve health outcomes in underserved populations is important in Oklahoma, as the state ranks near the bottom in many health indicators. Since the Tulsa program began in 2016, 70% of area projects received sustained funding after the one-year fellowship concluded.

“Ongoing advancements in sports medicine highlight the importance of nutrition for athletes to prevent injuries and continue performing at a high level at their sport,” said Jamieson. “Through this program, we hope to give students the tools they need to make healthier decisions in their diet so they can continue to compete and remain healthy throughout the rest of their lives.”