Learning on and off the field

Student-athletes majoring in Health and Human performance keeping sports in their future

Gabe Sta Maria, Staff Reporter

A guy sits crisscross with a laptop while spinning a basketball on his finger
Illustration by Micky Flores-Nieves

After a life of playing soccer, senior Nik Reierson wants to stay connected with sports into his career. Reierson, who is a senior defender for Seattle Pacific University men’s soccer, truly loves his major of exercise science.

“In this field, I can help athletes achieve their goals and move and fuel their bodies in the right way,” said Reierson in an email.

The Health and Human Performance Department is a set of majors at Seattle Pacific University that enables student-athletes to continue their passion for sports and athletics even if they can’t play sports professionally. The department also gives students the opportunity to pursue a career in any type of health care or as a fitness professional. The program also provides a gateway to a career in working with athletes and sports teams, as well as being in the exercise industry.

Via SPU’s official YouTube channel, Current Associate Professor of Exercise Science, Dale Cannavan describes his teaching in the classroom explaining from his perspective, “A lot of my topics are very complex and scientific in nature and quite a lot of mathematics and that scares many people off. So I try to keep it as simple as possible. I believe that complex matters are much more effectively taught in a practical sense.”

“The major is pretty diverse as people can choose which way they want to go with it,” said Reierson. “Some are focused on a pre-PT (physical therapy) track or similar health practice, while others are looking to be more of an educator or coach in the future.”

Reierson is glad that his major is helping him outside of the classroom, specifically in his athletics for SPU.

“I do think that this area of study has helped me personally as a student athlete as well. It has allowed me to take a confident approach in the way I train as well as fuel my body, said Reierson. “ I do have to say that we have a tremendous staff that makes it really easy on us, and most of the stuff I learn about is already implemented into our soccer program here at SPU.”

The material Reierson learns in class helps him make better decisions in his offseason training along with day to day routines in regard to strategies for injury prevention and preparing one’s body to perform optimally.

“The most important aspect of studying Exercise Science is that the body is super complicated and you have to put in the time to study,” said Reierson. “You have to be curious for answers but also humble knowing that the human body is truly incredible and you will never have all the answers.”

Reierson plans to pursue a masters degree in either sport science or exercise physiology to ultimately become a sport scientist for a professional sports club/team and own his own business focused on athletic performance.