March 14 'Expert Opinion' show on BTN covers athlete nutrition

University Park, Pa. -- Athletes, with the help of coaches and nutritionists, must pay careful attention to what they are eating and drinking to optimize their peak performance abilities. In the next edition of "Expert Opinion with Graham Spanier," three Penn State experts will join the host, president of Penn State, to discuss the care and feeding of Division I college athletes.

In the "Sports Nutrition" edition of "Expert Opinion," Spanier welcomes Kristine Clark, assistant professor and director of sports nutrition; Beth Alford-Sullivan, director and head coach of men's and women's track and field/cross-country; and Andres Casais, former men’s soccer player and senior team captain.

As director of Sports Nutrition, Clark counsels more than 800 Penn State student-athletes representing 29 teams. She was appointed to the Sports Medicine Advisory board of the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1999. She was the nutritionist for the U.S. Olympic and World Cup Women’s Soccer teams, seeing teams to World Cup gold in 1999, and Olympic gold in 1996 and 2004. She continues as sports nutritionist for the U.S. Soccer Federation, which includes all Olympic development teams for female soccer players.

Named the 2010 Big Ten Women’s Coach of the Year, Alford-Sullivan is currently the Division I president of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and was a member of the coaching staff for the 2004 Athens Olympic games. In the 2009-2010 track and field season, in addition to winning team titles in the Big Ten, she led the Penn State women’s program to a Triple Crown by winning both indoor and outdoor track and field, and cross-country.

Casais was co-captain of the 2010 Penn State men's soccer team and a cornerstone of the defensive strategy for the past four years. He started in 60 of 64 career games, earned First Team All-Big Ten recognition in 2009 and is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. Casais recently graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in energy business and finance.

During the show, the experts discuss nutritional differences between athletes based on the demands of their athletic roles -- particularly within a track and field team containing sprinters, long-distance runners and shot putters -- the critical need for hydration during performance, and the benefits of the athlete training table and the availability of a nutritionally balanced meal.

"Certainly, football players, many of them, need more calories than a cross-country athlete, but the same concept applies to every team, males and females, regardless of the sport," explained Clark. "If athletes are eating in an environment where their food is optimal, chances are they're going to eat more of it, and then the coach as well as the nutritionist can be satisfied that they're getting the correct calories and a wide variety of the micronutrients, the vitamins and minerals, that we know play a big role in performance."

The "Sports Nutrition" edition of "Expert Opinion" debuts at noon Eastern time Monday, March 14, on the Big Ten Network. To watch a preview of the show, visit /video/160078/2013/02/09/video-no-title online.

Go to http://expertopinion.psu.edu for more information about the show and to watch previously aired episodes.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011