by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D, RSCC*D and Carissa Gump
Coaching Podcast November 2023
This episode of the NSCA Coaching Podcast presents drug testing and anti-doping initiatives in elite sport. Team USA 2008 Olympian, Carissa Gump, disc...
This episode of the NSCA Coaching Podcast presents drug testing and anti-doping initiatives in elite sport. Team USA 2008 Olympian, Carissa Gump, discusses how her journey as an international level weightlifter led to her becoming an ambassador for fair competition. Gump shares lessons from overcoming a career-threatening injury prior to the 2008 Olympics, with NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, and how a passion for supporting athletes has fueled her career as a sport business executive. Learn about opportunities that the NSCA Foundation has for aspiring strength and conditioning professionals, and how the NSCA Foundation serves to promote the philanthropy of the coaching profession. Learn more about clean sport and anti-doping by taking the USADA Coach’s Advantage Course for 0.2 NSCA CEUs. Check out NSCA Foundation resources to discover grants and scholarships available for strength and conditioning professionals. More episode links: USADA – U.S. Anti-Doping Agency TrueSport – Education for Coaches, Athletes, and Parents NSF for Sport – NSF Certified Nutritional Products Listing Global DRO – Drug Reference Online Drug Free Sport – Anti-Doping Services and Education Email Carissa at email@example.com| Connect with Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs
This episode of the NSCA Coaching Podcast presents drug testing and anti-doping initiatives in elite sport. Team USA 2008 Olympian, Carissa Gump, discusses how her journey as an international level weightlifter led to her becoming an ambassador for fair competition. Gump shares lessons from overcoming a career-threatening injury prior to the 2008 Olympics, with NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, and how a passion for supporting athletes has fueled her career as a sport business executive. Learn about opportunities that the NSCA Foundation has for aspiring strength and conditioning professionals, and how the NSCA Foundation serves to promote the philanthropy of the coaching profession.
Learn more about clean sport and anti-doping by taking the USADA Coach’s Advantage Course for 0.2 NSCA CEUs.
Check out NSCA Foundation resources to discover grants and scholarships available for strength and conditioning professionals.
More episode links:
USADA – U.S. Anti-Doping Agency
TrueSport – Education for Coaches, Athletes, and Parents
NSF for Sport – NSF Certified Nutritional Products Listing
Global DRO – Drug Reference Online
Drug Free Sport – Anti-Doping Services and Education
“I am a very big advocate for anti-doping in sport. Clean sport is really, really important to me, just for a fair playing field but also integrity of the sport and integrity of the athlete and personally.” 10:05
“I was lifting, but if it weren't for having those folks in my life and helping me get there, I would never have made it. So me being an Olympian is, yes, it's me, but it is also my family, my coaches, my teammates. Everybody was really a huge part of that.” 30:16
“The Foundation is really to me the philanthropic heart of the NSCA. We support students all the way, high school students all the way on up through senior-level investigators. And it's just really special for me to be part of the NSCA and the Foundation because everything comes full circle. What we do comes back to the athletes. And so I'm not coaching. I'm not directly involved with athletes, but I know what I am doing is still-- it's helping athletes in many, many sports.” 33:55
“When I started with the Foundation, we were very heavily research-focused. Over the last seven years, we have continued to add grants and scholarships that are focused on those other areas of membership that we have.” 36:00
[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING]
[00:00:04.19] Welcome to the NSCA's Coaching Podcast, season 7, episode 15.
[00:00:10.94] The foundation is really to me the philanthropic heart of the NSCA. We support high school students all the way on up through senior-level investigators. And it's just really special for me to be part of the NSCA and the foundation because everything comes full circle. What we do comes back to the athletes. So I'm not coaching. I'm not directly involved with athletes, but I know what I am doing is still-- it's helping athletes in many, many sports.
[00:00:50.34] This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast, where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.
[00:01:01.45] This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. Today, we're going to talk about drug testing and anti-doping in elite sport. We have a special guest with us, NSCA Foundation Executive Director, Carissa Gump. She was an Olympian. Carissa, welcome.
[00:01:19.55] Hi, Eric. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:21.39] Yeah, so want to dive into your athletic background a little bit. We've talked a lot about these topics, drug testing, anti-doping. You work as an ambassador for sport and in drug-free sport with USADA and some different organizations. So I wanted to give you a chance to share a little bit about your athletic background. Let us know about your weightlifting.
[00:01:48.86] Yeah, I started lifting weights when I was 12 years old. It was an after-school intramural program, and my PE teacher just so happened to also have one of the only weightlifting teams for youth athletes in the state of Vermont. And he saw me during PE, running fast, jumping high, flipping around on the rings during the gymnastics unit. And he really pursued me to try lifting and come into the weight room.
[00:02:22.46] And I did try it in sixth grade. I quit. I tried for a day, and I quit because I was the only girl in the weight room. And the next year, my mom started working at the school as the school nurse, and the PE teacher started bugging her saying, your daughter's got some untapped athletic potential. She needs to get in the weight room.
[00:02:44.90] And ironically enough, he also had several girls that started lifting weights at that time, and they had gone to the junior national championships and placed really well. One of them even medaled. And so I saw that going on, and I thought, OK, if they can do it, maybe I can. And so in eighth grade, I went back into the weight room, and those same girls were still in there training.
[00:03:13.94] And it really became about a community, hanging out and being with friends and having fun. And I didn't really realize what else was going on with lifting. And I trained for two months and qualified for the junior national championships, and that was, I think, two months later. And at that, I placed second in the country in my weight class and age group. And from that point on, I was kind of hooked. Olympic weightlifting is a sport that the sky's the limit. You can always lift more weight. You can always have better technique.
[00:03:53.43] And that was just really something I thrived on and a challenge. And I'd want to snatch 80 kilos, then I'd want to snatch 85 kilos, and then I wanted to snatch 90. And so there's always a goal in mind. There's always competitions to train for, and you just really get hooked on it.
[00:04:14.70] And with my career, it started, again, at age 12. I progressed through the rankings as a junior athlete, and then I was competing as a junior but also a senior-level athlete. I was competing at both junior nationals and senior nationals and junior worlds and senior worlds. So a couple of years, I had a really heavy competition schedule.
[00:04:37.29] But it really surprisingly wasn't until 2006 that I realized, OK, I might be to do this whole Olympic thing. I never saw myself in the same line of comparison, I guess, as athletes, such as Tara Nott, Cara Heads Slaughter, Cheryl Haworth, Robin Goad. These were all the big names that I looked up to and my role models as a female weightlifter. So 2000 was the first Olympic Games for females to compete in, and those four women were on the Olympic team. So they were my role models. I had pictures printed out of them in my room as inspiration.
[00:05:29.40] But I never really saw myself as, you know, gosh, I could be like them when I grow up. I had major, major imposter syndrome, even after breaking junior American records, making teams. And I still never saw myself at that level. But in 2006, I had a shoulder injury, and I had surgery. And it was during that time that I really recognized that injuries can make or break an athlete.
[00:05:57.63] And I lived at the Olympic Training Center for about six years at that time, and I said, all right, I'm stubborn, I'm determined, and I'm not going to let it break me. And so I really hammered down on my focus. I was very scheduled and disciplined with my training, with meeting with the dietician, with sports science. I did everything I could do, so I knew if I didn't make that team in 2008, I couldn't look back and say, man, I should have done this, I should have done that. I had no regrets.
[00:06:35.08] And the plan really, really paid off. In March of 2008, it was our secondary qualifier. It was actually at the Arnold Classic, which is part of the Arnold Sports Festival, one of my favorite events to go to and just watch a multitude of different sports and athletes compete, aside from bodybuilding. And I qualified at that event as the first 63-kilo athlete to qualify for the Olympics. And then I was also sitting number one on the team.
[00:07:14.68] So we had four slots available, so it wasn't like one per weight class. It was just overall pound-for-pound who was going to be the best athletes to send to the games to compete. So I went in then to the actual Olympic trials in May, sitting in first place. And I knew that it was going to have to take a lot for me to get bumped from my position. But Olympic trials, that's it. That's the final-- that's the end of the line.
[00:07:45.23] So people will put weights on the bar to go for it because you never know what's going to happen. And so I went in. I was not confident. I was very nervous because I had trained and competed with a group of women that were just really awesome strong athletes, very focused, and I knew what they were capable of. So at the end of the Olympic trials, I went from first place to second place.
[00:08:13.70] And I really don't remember much about that day. I think I was in shock for quite a while, just to know that it had happened. It's something that I had trained for a very long time but only really set my sights on to focus and hammer down on things a year and a half to two years prior to that. But I really attribute that time to, one, I came up with a plan. I set out a plan, and I followed it.
[00:08:45.17] But two was, even though I was recovering from my shoulder surgery, I was still in the gym. I wasn't doing overhead lifts. I was squatting like crazy. My legs have always been really strong, but during that time of rehabilitation, I had did-- what did I do? I did 150 kilos for a triple in the front squat. There's no way I would ever have 150 kilos on my shoulders in a clean. I don't even know if the world record is 150 kilos.
[00:09:23.17] But I got my so strong that I knew if I cleaned something, I was always going to be able to stand up out of it. So I didn't hunker down in my dorm. I didn't just sit and eat and veg out. I was still in there training. It wasn't snatching and clean and jerking, but it was still-- I was in there. I was mentally and physically training to be strong.
[00:09:54.16] The other thing I do want to say is, I said, I did everything I physically possibly could in order to make that. But one of those things I did not do was drugs. I am a very big advocate for anti-doping in sport. Clean sport is really, really important to me, just for a fair playing field but also integrity of the sport and integrity of the athlete and personally.
[00:10:25.38] Weightlifting is unfortunately a sport that has a stigma for high drug usage. And up until a couple of days ago, it was on the chopping block for the 2028 Olympic Games, and I'm really, really proud to say that all of the efforts made by the International Weightlifting Federation paid off. And we will be going to LA, and we will have a team. I will be there watching with my kids. I'm going to be really excited because that's also the 20 year anniversary of when I competed, so that'll be a really special moment.
[00:11:03.43] But a couple of years ago, I started to really be a little bit more vocal with the anti-doping initiative because it is something I really believe in, and I have stood on stage next to athletes that I can guarantee you were not clean athletes. I could identify that by physical characteristics and attributes that they had. And it's just something that gets me fired up.
[00:11:35.74] So I started working a little bit with USADA, the United States Anti-Doping Agency. They're based in Colorado Springs. They were established, I think, in 2000, and most people know them for the people that got Lance Armstrong. So they are the agency in charge of enforcing anti-doping rules for athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They also have partnerships with other sport entities, but the NCAA is not one of them. So I'm guessing a lot of the coaches that are listening, they're familiar with drug-free sport, who administers drug testing for collegiate level athletes.
[00:12:21.31] But anti-doping is really an area of sport that not a lot of people talk about. They really don't know about it. But the one thing is, in the United States, for sure, I can guarantee you they take it very, very seriously. 2005 and 2006, I was the most drug-tested athlete in the United States, even more than Lance Armstrong at that time. So I don't remember the exact number, but they-- we spent a lot of time together.
[00:12:57.82] They would come knock on my door at 5:00 in the morning. And you know, I'd wake up, and I'd give them a urine sample. And people don't realize with USADA, the urine sample is not, here's a cup, go into the bathroom, and provide a sample. It's, let's go into the bathroom, and you're going to provide a sample, and we're going to watch and make sure you are not tampering or using someone else's urine, or using a device or something to pass a drug test. So they're the real deal. They mean business.
[00:13:36.49] Wow. Yeah. Obviously, weightlifting is something that's embedded within strength and conditioning. I loved when you were telling your story about, this is an individual sport, weightlifting, but you really love the camaraderie and team aspect and community aspect of it. And that came through in just how you presented your experience.
[00:14:01.57] And it's really cool. You went from the only girl in the weight room to an Olympian in a sport that you're now an ambassador, an advocate for. This has really shaped your career in a way.
[00:14:19.15] Yeah. Absolutely.
[00:14:20.71] Yeah, I mean, that's a whole other topic to get into, is just the career progression of Olympians with such a time commitment to your sport over so many years. I loved how you connected with just the process that athletes go through leading up to an Olympic Games. And it is pretty invasive.
[00:14:49.99] When you think about how people in general population go to the doctor and give blood or urine samples once a year as part of their physical, that's a lot different than someone showing up at your door at 5:00 in the morning to--
[00:15:10.74] --sit down and watch, as odd as that sounds.
[00:15:14.37] They'd show up anywhere. I remember being in class at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus, and I'd look at the door. And I'd see the doping control officer, and she's got her big duffel bag with the kits that we had to use to provide our samples. And she just looked and waved, and I was like, I'll be right there.
[00:15:38.49] But I still stand strong to this day. If they were to show up at my front door, I'd be like, all right, let's do it. It's just something that I really, really believe in, and again, the integrity of sport is something that's just really, really important to me.
[00:15:56.59] So how do you see this? What are some of the common misconceptions that athletes or coaches have about anti-doping rules and testing processes from your perspective?
[00:16:09.95] Yeah, I think one of the biggest things that I've heard athletes say is, oh, they're just out to get me. They're just trying to find something because I'm really good at my sport. And no, they're not out to get you. They are ensuring a fair playing field for all athletes, to make sure that it is fair. Fairness is very, very important. But that's a really big misconception is, they're out to get me. They're not out to get anybody.
[00:16:40.65] Yeah. It's random. Testing is randomized. And I can say from professional sports world, that's the way it is too. But you do hear that, athletes thinking they're being targeted by the leagues or the governing bodies to be checked on. But that isn't the case, and those organizations are in place to ensure fairness, even through the testing process.
[00:17:07.02] As an athlete, how did you stay informed about these anti-doping rules and regulations that evolved quite a bit. And then what advice do you have for strength and conditioning coaches just to be aware of this evolution of rules and regulations?
[00:17:25.95] Yeah, so again, USADA is the organization that oversees Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and they provide a tremendous amount of resources. Even when I was an athlete, we would go through a presentation at least once a year, every six months, to remind us that it's not just intentionally taking prohibitive substances, but also being mindful of any substances that we're taking because there is a possibility of contamination of products.
[00:18:02.34] There are very few manufacturers in the United States that can guarantee that their products are clean and that there's not cross-contamination. And what I mean by that is, you may have one company that uses a manufacturer, and they're a 100% pure whey protein. And then the next batch after-- or the batch before that that was made was something like one of those proteins that you see that has all these crazy claims of, increases motivation and this and that. And it's like, mucho macho protein.
[00:18:44.53] And then it gets contaminated in with this other substance that is not intended to have that in. So contamination is also something to really be aware of, that USADA wants to make sure that the athletes know anything that you ingest, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, there is a possibility that it could be contaminated. So they also provide a lot of education on, if you're going to use supplements, here are some things to consider that will hopefully decrease the likelihood that you may have a positive test that you never intended having.
[00:19:30.25] And I'm sure we've seen things in the media, athletes claiming that something in their dog's dog food or medication or something. And there's been cases where stuff like that, it has happened, and the athlete was innocent. But right now, USADA still does the same thing. They provide presentations to athletes at all levels. They've also created some really great programs called True Sport that helps with educating coaches.
[00:20:02.26] They have a thing called Global DRO, Drug Reference Online, where athletes can check the status of their medications, if they are allowed or not allowed. And if they are not allowed, they have a process that they can go through to get a therapeutic use exemption, where a doctor says, you know, yes, so-and-so does need Adderall. They have a medical diagnosis of ADHD. They're not taking it to for performance enhancing.
[00:20:36.52] And then they also have another great resource called Supplement Connect, where the athletes can understand the risks that are associated with dietary supplements. So USADA, great, great resources, and they continue to really fight the good fight of anti-doping in the US, but really being great examples to the rest of the world and all the other countries with doping programs.
[00:21:04.81] And then the second part of your question, I've already forgot what it was. I'm sorry.
[00:21:10.81] No, all good. Strength and conditioning coaches, you know, we need to educate ourselves about how to help support our athletes in this area. You've listed so many resources that USADA has, and I'm going to-- I took some notes down, and we're going to add these to the show notes to make sure that our coaches have access to the wealth of information that USADA provides.
[00:21:38.98] What advice do you have for strength and conditioning coaches who are working with athletes, or their athletes maybe have comments or thoughts and opinions on drug testing? How should we deal with that?
[00:21:52.69] Yeah, I think from a strength and conditioning coach perspective, exactly what I said about being mindful of what the athletes are-- what are they ingesting outside of training? What are they eating? What are they drinking? What supplements? And really educating the athletes that there's risks involved when they take dietary supplements, and they need to take them at their own risk, and they're responsible for it.
[00:22:24.59] Also from just a performance perspective, you could have an underlying medical condition that you might not know about, and it may interfere. The supplement you're taking may interfere with that. You may be taking medication already for something, and it could weaken the medication that you're taking, so just really being aware of what are the athletes taking. Is it safe? Is it necessary?
[00:23:06.26] But probably just to really use that food first kind of mentality because that's-- to me, that's safe. And that's one of the strategies that I used when I was competing was, if I need extra-- if I need to gain weight, I'm going to eat more. I'm going to add more protein to my diet. So supplements, really, that's one of the biggest things for coaches, I think, to be mindful of.
[00:23:40.71] But also if the athlete is Olympic or Paralympic athlete or NCAA athlete, that you're in compliance with their regulations because any coach would hate to see their athlete inadvertently, you know, penalized for making a really stupid decision that could have been prevented.
[00:24:04.64] Yeah. And we hear about these often in the news with different countries, different athletes. And these are really sticky situations. I'm thinking of the Russian figure skaters that are-- it's unfortunate for the, I think, Team USA athletes who are sort of sitting in limbo waiting for their medals on--
[00:24:31.28] Oh, totally.
[00:24:32.17] --what may or may not be medical related. There's so many different scenarios that we hear about in the media. And it's a tough area to regulate, so one thing that comes through loud and clear, the importance of educating and staying informed. It is the responsibility of the athlete and the coaches because even through the best of efforts-- these organizations are doing the best they can, but it is a challenging area to regulate.
[00:25:09.83] I think that's just the reality of it. I don't know if it really ever can be a completely clean process because there's so much individuality. And we're dealing with elite athletes, right? So who's to say that these elite athletes have the same physiology and biomechanics that the rest of us do that, that these norms are based on? And I know there's just so much there.
[00:25:36.53] There's so much there in terms of nutrition. One area in sport right now, we've seen a growth of dieticians making their way into elite sport. I'm sure with the USOPC and your experience there, you've had experience working across a whole realm, not just strength and conditioning coaches of professionals. I'd love to have you share from that Olympic experience. What was it like having different professionals in different areas?
[00:26:07.77] You have mental skills professionals. You have dieticians, strength and conditioning coaches, sports science. That's a huge emerging theme in our field right now, that integrated approach, athlete-centered approach, if you will. What was your experience like with that?
[00:26:25.44] Yeah, I did think of one other thing that I would really emphasize too for strength coaches to talk to their athletes about, and it goes back again to integrity. The athletes may deliberately decide I'm going to use XYZ for my performance enhancement. And the thing is, I know with USADA, if an athlete tests positive, that is public knowledge. That goes on their website. That goes to the national governing body of the athlete.
[00:27:00.30] And it's out there for the rest of the world to see. If you Google somebody's name, that could come up. I have seen it picked up even by the Associated Press with people's local newspapers. So keep in mind, if an athlete is tempted, you know, it's not just a decision that it will affect them right then and there. They could go for a job interview in 5, 10 years and someone say, well, tell me about-- we saw you tested positive for this drug.
[00:27:33.43] And it goes way deeper than testing positive, so just have coaches remind athletes of that integrity in sport. Not just on the field, but off the field is really important.
[00:27:46.63] And then to your next question, I've lived at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for almost 10 years. And the idea of the Training Center was, everything you needed was right there on campus for you. I worked with an amazing dietician, nutritionist, named Adam Korzun. He spent, I think, almost the last 8, 10 years as the director of performance nutrition for the Green Bay Packers.
[00:28:15.66] And he was really instrumental for me, as far as maintaining my weight and learning to eat healthier and make better choices to fuel my body. I was training a lot, so it was really hard for me to keep weight on. So we had to come up with ways that I could keep the weight on and snacking and different meals and increasing protein and carbs and all that. So Adam was really, really huge.
[00:28:45.57] I had a wonderful sports psychologist, Sean McCann. I worked with him for years. I would have a performance anxiety when I competed. I loved to train, but when I got on the platform on stage, that was a whole other feeling for me. Even though it was still snatching and clean and jerking, that wave of emotions was really, really intense.
[00:29:12.61] And then one of the folks that I look back and I had no idea what an amazing person, smart, educated, just one of the godfathers for sports science, I got to work with Mike Stone. I had no idea. He was just Doc Stone down in the lab, and we'd go in, and we'd do stuff on the force plates. We'd do mid-thigh isometric pulls. No idea that he was who he was in our industry.
[00:29:51.95] So again, really surrounded by some top-notch people that helped me get to the Olympic Games and perform. But having those folks was really instrumental. I couldn't have done it alone. And USOPC used to have a tagline, the team behind the team. And they really, really were.
[00:30:16.81] And I remember when I made the team, I was asked to sign lots of pictures and autographs. And I remember writing on them for certain people, we did it, because we did do it. It wasn't me. I was lifting, but if it weren't for having those folks in my life and helping me get there, I would never have made it. So me being an Olympian is, yes, it's me, but it is also my family, my coaches, my teammates. Everybody was really a huge part of that.
[00:30:58.75] And during the opening ceremonies, I remember we went in, we did our lap, and then everybody was waiting on the infield as all of the other countries came in. And one of the things they had given us as part of our outfitting when we were there was a cell phone that we could use. And I called my aunts, my uncles. I called my coach. I called my roommate, and I called a good friend of mine who was on the 1980 Olympic team, which he unfortunately didn't get to compete because of the boycott.
[00:31:36.01] So everybody was just-- they were the reason I got there. It just wasn't me and my physical abilities. It was a major, major group effort. And you know, Doc Stone and Adam and Sean were part of that journey to get there.
[00:31:55.30] I love that, and it connects you to what you're doing now with the NCAA and the community we have.
[00:32:00.19] Yes. Yeah, so my career path, I retired from weightlifting after the 2008 Olympics, came back early from the Olympics so I could start college full time for the first time in my life. I was sitting in class in college, and the professor said, tell us something cool you did this summer. And I said, oh, I went to the Olympics. And he goes, what'd you watch? And I said, no, I competed.
[00:32:25.45] And he's like, what are you doing here? Why are you in class? And I said, because if I didn't show up for the first week of class, you would have dropped me. So I went hard core and graduated a year and a half later, started working as a contract position with the USOPC, overseeing Olympic Day celebrations, and then started, like the week after I graduated college, working with the Team USA Athlete Career Program, where I worked with athletes who were transitioning from sport, helping them put together their resumes, interview skills, stuff like that so they could be prepared for the next journey.
[00:33:09.78] And during that time, I was meeting with all of the executive directors of the national governing bodies, and I met the executive director of weightlifting. And he said, I want you to come work for me. And I said, you know, gosh, it's weightlifting of course, you know. So I worked at USA Weightlifting for six years, and then I left there in 2016 and came on over to the NSCA to be their first staff member of the NSCA Foundation.
[00:33:44.28] I've been the executive director for almost seven years in December, overseeing grants, scholarship, and assistantship programs. So the Foundation is really to me the philanthropic heart of the NSCA. We support students all the way, high school students all the way on up through senior-level investigators. And it's just really special for me to be part of the NSCA and the Foundation because everything comes full circle.
[00:34:17.53] What we do comes back to the athletes. And so I'm not coaching. I'm not directly involved with athletes, but I know what I am doing is still-- it's helping athletes in many, many sports. It's helping special pops. It's helping tactical athletes. So I really, really love my job. I'm so excited and happy that I get to do what I do every day and be part of the strength and conditioning community.
[00:34:52.98] I want you to break down a little bit of what the NSCA Foundation does. But I think one thing I see that's really great about the Foundation is, it works across the breadth of really everything the NSCA provides, in terms of our research community, funding research opportunities. Even on the coaching side, many coaches have graduate degrees and have to undertake research as part of their master's or doctoral requirements just to complete their degrees.
[00:35:29.26] So while it is our research community, when you look at research funding, it does impact the coaching community. But there's also equipment grants and scholarships for minorities and underrepresented communities within the NSCA. Break down what coaches need to know about the NSCA Foundation and where to look for that info.
[00:35:53.66] Yeah, so I look at the NSCA as, as you said, we have a lot of intellectual diversity within our community. And when I started with the Foundation, we were very heavily research-focused. And so over the last seven years, we have continued to add grants and scholarships that are focused on those other areas of membership that we have.
[00:36:21.27] So we have the Military CSCS Support Grant. This helps individuals who are enlisted or retired sit for their CSCS as well as take an exam prep. We have a CPT Support Grant, same thing, provides them with the opportunity to sit for the CPT. It provides some textbooks as well as other resources through training the older adult organization.
[00:36:51.62] So we have those different opportunities as well as our Coaching Advancement Grant, which these areas focus on exactly that, helping coaches advance. And they include equipment grants for you to-- if you have a smaller weight room, and you're doing a lot with a little, we have those opportunities. We have the Dr. Borden Coaching Advancement Grant which is to support someone who is a USA Weightlifting Level 1 coach, but a NSCA member who hasn't taken their CSCS yet. So this grant allows them to take their USA Weightlifting Level 2 and sit for a CSCS.
[00:37:37.41] So just a couple different areas there. We also have conference attendance scholarships. This could be for registration or for young professionals who have never attended a national conference. We have scholarships that will support airfare, travel, hotel, food. So we have a variety of different opportunities and scholarships too.
[00:38:04.41] Even assistantships, which is a-- I say, it's a really glorified internship for a young professional recently certified. And they'll be paired up with someone who is an RSCC, and that person will serve as a mentor. And we pay a $10,000 stipend for five months to that young professional.
[00:38:25.08] So we have a lot of opportunities. I'd encourage you to go to the NSCA Foundation website, nsca.com/foundation. And then we have links to the grants, scholarships, and assistantship programs. So you can spend some time on there and see what the qualifications are and read the descriptions. But we probably have something for you. And then if you are working with any athletes that say, hey, coach, I really think your job is cool, send them our way as well. We have opportunities for them to apply and take advantage of.
[00:39:04.74] Yeah. No, this is perfect. I love the work that the Foundation does, so thank you. And we have a lot of volunteer opportunities open every Fall and going into the Winter months with the NSCA and the Foundation. So if you're looking to get involved with the NSCA, we always encourage you to look at all the different opportunities that exist.
[00:39:28.71] And that includes the Foundation and being involved in some of the leadership of an organization. And we all want to advance to leadership roles, or many of us, as we go along this coaching journey from assistant to head coach. And we're seeking more advancement, and there are leadership opportunities within the NSCA.
[00:39:52.58] So Carissa, thanks so much. There's going to be a lot of links in the show notes for this episode because I want to include the USADA section that we talked about and also all the links to the Foundation resources. If any of our listeners, coaches, aspiring coaches want to reach out to you, what's the best way to do that?
[00:40:13.95] Yeah, email is the best way. Carissa, C-A-R-I-S-S-A, period, gump, G--U-M-P, at nsca.com (firstname.lastname@example.org). That's the best way to get in touch with me, and I'll do everything I can to help. And if I can't, I'll find somebody that can.
[00:40:32.87] Perfect. Thanks so much for your time today, Carissa. You're doing a lot for the strength and conditioning community, and we appreciate that. To all our listeners, thanks for tuning in and taking the time to learn about a topic maybe we don't talk about enough, drug testing, fair play within sport.
[00:40:51.87] That is an important part of what we do, the ethics of strength and conditioning and coaching, and how we convey those values to our athletes. And also opportunities to advance our own careers with the NSCA Foundation. So thanks for tuning in, and also a special thanks to Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support.
[00:41:13.35] Thanks for listening to another episode of the NSCA Coaching Podcast. We value you as a listener, just as we value your input as a member of the NSCA community. To take action and get involved, check out volunteer leadership opportunities under Membership at nsca.com.
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