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North Oaks and SLU provide nutrition center for athletes

Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2018 | Views: 890

North Oaks and SLU provide nutrition center for athletes

Southeastern Athletics, North Oaks Partner to Provide Nutrition Center to SLU Student-Athletes


HAMMOND, La. – In the interest of developing holistic student-athletes, Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics has partnered with North Oaks Health System to provide the best nutritional resources available to Lion and Lady Lion student-athletes. 


At the centerpiece of the enhancement is the new North Oaks Nutrition Center, located inside the Naquin Strength and Condition Center. The Nutrition Center is accessible to all student-athletes, the national champion Lionnette dance team and the SLU cheerleaders, providing all associated with SLU Athletics the proper nourishment needed for optimal athletic performance. 


The Nutrition Center is only one piece of an entire nutritional program for the Lions and Lady Lions, developed by North Oaks Dietetic Internship Director Leslie Ballard and Southeastern Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Brandon Albin. The program is not only designed to provide sustenance through the Nutrition Center, but to better educate all Southeastern student-athletes on the best dietary practices. 


Located in the Nutrition Center are detailed daily meal plans designed for student-athletes’ specific needs – whether it’s weight gain or weight loss. Recognizing the differing nutritional demands over a spectrum that includes about 400 young men and women, Ballard meets with each program separately to educate teams on the best practices for their specific sport. 


Southeastern student-athletes, cheerleaders and dance team members who have nutritional concerns also have access to Ballard, one of 10 board-certified sports dietitians in Louisiana, for individual consultations. 


“Our goal with this program is for the student-athletes to see better performance, fewer injuries and faster recovery because they’re fueling and hydrating their bodies the proper way,” Ballard said. “Our primary focus is education and showing the student-athletes it’s easier than they think to eat healthy.”


Ballard says this partnership between Southeastern Athletics and North Oaks is mutually beneficial. 


“We have nine interns as part of our Dietetic Internship Program who are receiving hands-on experience by participating in this program,” Ballard said. “Sports nutrition is becoming a more popular field and this is an excellent learning experience for our students. North Oaks has always been a huge supporter of Southeastern and the opportunity to work collaboratively with SLU Athletics only strengthens that bond.”


SLU Director of Athletics Jay Artigues echoed the importance of the partnership. 


“North Oaks has been a tremendous partner of ours,” Artigues commented. “This nutritional program is another example of North Oaks’ commitment to our university and community.”


The program also gives the Lions and Lady Lions the best opportunity to be successful on the field. SLU is one of few Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) programs nationally to have a detailed nutritional program in place. 


“We want to stay on the cutting edge and continue to work toward developing holistic student-athletes,” Artigues commented. “Proper nutrition doesn’t just enhance physical performance. It helps our student-athletes lock in mentally – whether on the field or in the classroom.”


Those who work with the student-athletes on a daily basis are excited about the benefits.


“The nutritional program has been a great supplement to our training and has already enhanced our results,” SLU Interim Director of Sports Performance Gerry Pacitti said. “We have such a unique opportunity to have these resources at our disposal and our student-athletes are taking advantage by doing the things necessary to reach their maximum performance.”


Southeastern coaches understand the benefits of the nutritional program as well. 


“When we’re recruiting student-athletes, we want to be able to give them the best possible chance at success,” SLU head baseball coach Matt Riser stated. “This is the next step in building toward the best program we can be. It is a valued resource for us to be able to add this, and have a local partner in North Oaks. It shows a commitment to future success.”


For more information on Southeastern Athletics, follow @SLUAthletics on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.



Southeastern Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective with the start of football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit

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