NCAC Makes Health & Wellness a Priority

NCAC Health & Wellness Symposium Photo Gallery

The North Coast Athletic Conference hosted its inaugural Health & Wellness Symposium focusing on the mental health of student-athletes, coaches, athletics staff and administrators, Monday, May 20 at Ohio Wesleyan University. More than 244 NCAC members attended multiple sessions throughout the day on a variety of topics, making it one of the largest NCAC non-championship events in our 35 year history.

Seven speakers presented multiple sessions on various aspects of health & wellness. The day opened with a keynote address on managing the loss of athletic identity from Dr. Doug Ramos, Chair of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports and the Creighton University team physician (LinkedIn). Multiple sessions throughout the day included a variety topics:

  • Dr. Jennifer Carter - Eating Disorders (bio)
  • Dr. Vince Caringi - Recognizing Self-Harm Red Flags (bio)
  • Dr. Ken Chew - Intersectionality/Diversity (bio)
  • Dr. Chelsi Day - Generation iY (bio)
  • Dr. Stephen Graef - Coping Skills (bio, Mindurance)
  • Mark Potter - The Silent Epidemic in Athletics (d2up)

Made possible by the generous support of the NCAA Division III Strategic Initiatives Grant, the Symposium was open to all athletic administrators and staff, coaches, athletic trainers, athletic communicators, faculty representatives, student life administrators, counseling staff, and others from all 10 NCAC institutions. The Conference is the first Division III conference to host such an event, based on the guidance published by the NCAA Sport Science Institute last May.

Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference is made up of ten academically selective colleges and universities - Allegheny College, Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and the College of Wooster, along with affiliate member, Earlham College (field hockey). The NCAC sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.

What They're Saying ...

“The NCAC Health & Wellness Symposium was a valuable event for our league because it shed light on an important topic — mental health awareness. Each of our speakers gave the participants tools to go forward and help continue to be advocates for our student-athletes. I’m excited for similar future events on this topic, and others.”
-- Sean King, Assistant AD for Communications, Allegheny College


“I really enjoyed the sessions, particularly the one on Gen Z which alerted me to the importance of rapid feedback to today’s students and some effective ‘how-to’ tips.”
-- Barbara MacLeod, CFA; FAR, Professor of Business Administration, Ohio Wesleyan University


"The inaugural Health & Wellness Symposium was an amazing success. It was great to see the dedication from individuals throughout all aspects of the athletic departments. The desire to learn and provide our student athletes with the best tools available was evident. The passion that the speakers presented with kept me wanting more and inspired me to brainstorm how athletic trainers could provide mental health resources and perform mental health screenings during pre-participation physicals. I hope this event continues and is an annual occurrence. 
Dr. Stephen Graef spoke with enthusiasm and passion about mental health. He had us hanging on his every word. The most compelling piece of information was when he acted out how to deal with your plate when it is fully loaded. He demonstrated that when you hold all the things you need to do, it seems like a lot but when you pick one thing that you can manage at that time and focus on it, your load gets lighter and lighter as you go. This tip enables you to give the energy to what you can at that point in time."
-- Christine Schwartz, Assistant Athletic Trainer, Oberlin College 

"Full credit to the NCAC for working hard to bring hundreds of caring and hungry leaders together. It was awesome to see the camaraderie from so many coaches, administrators, staff, etc. come together to learn, grow and lead the way. I had the opportunity to engage in a very important topic for our campuses and daily lives. I came away with some great knowledge about how to help our students and also myself." 
-- Andy Zidron, Head Men's Soccer Coach, Wooster