Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Easton Stick did not need any sort of elaborate introduction when he joined the Sanford Health team.
Stick ended a wildly successful college career at North Dakota State with a second-consecutive national title in 2018. Throughout that time — he went 49-3 as a starter for NDSU — he had Sanford Health by his side as the exclusive sports medicine provider for the Bison.
He knows the brand, in other words. And Sanford knows him.
“When you go through five years with Sanford like I did you learn quite a bit about how many resources Sanford possesses and the amount of people who are really good at their jobs,” Stick said. “Our team doctors, the athletic training room — it was incredible what they provided for us.”
Tuesday, Stick went through a series of tests with Sanford POWER and the Sanford Sports Science Institute in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In doing so, he gained insight into his throwing mechanics, his diet, his mental performance and a sweat analysis that will help him with hydration and nutrition.
All of which he can now incorporate into his training.
“I think we’re going to have a chance to learn some really cool stuff that can help me,” he said.
Last year was a ‘redshirt’ season
Stick also talked with both Sioux Falls and Fargo media about an upcoming season that is filled with uncertainty.
This pertains to the entire NFL and world of sports in general, but independent of the spread of the coronavirus, it applies to Stick himself, who was the Chargers’ third-string quarterback last year behind Philip Rivers and Tyrod Taylor.
Since the end of last season, Rivers, a 16-year veteran, left the Chargers and signed with the Indianapolis Colts. The Chargers then took Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft.
It makes the Chargers’ quarterback scene dramatically different for this fifth-round 2019 draft pick, who saw action in the preseason last year but did not appear in a regular-season game.
“Last year ended up being like a redshirt year,” Stick said. “The opportunity is to go in there and prove, No. 1, I can play at that level at a high level and, No. 2, that I’ve gotten better and improved since the last time I was out there. It’s exciting to get a chance to compete and see what happens.”
Part of the club
He will embark on this pivotal season with Sanford support. In becoming part of the Sanford crew he’s joining former Bison star quarterback Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles, as well as Wentz’s Eagles teammates Dallas Goedert and Nate Gerry. The group also includes Minnesota Vikings Kyle Rudolph and C.J. Ham.
Though not teammates in the traditional sense, they nevertheless represent a club of sorts that now includes Stick, a native of Omaha who, like the others, has developed strong ties to region.
“It’s really cool,” Stick said. “You walk into the Fieldhouse and see all the jerseys of those guys who are a part of this. That’s a lot of good players. I’ve heard from Carson and Dallas about all the great things they’ve been involved in through Sanford. It’s exciting for me knowing I’m now going to be a part of it.”
Preparing for this season and beyond
Stick’s off-season has included time at Rep 1 Sports in Irvine, California, at a training facility affiliated with Sanford POWER. His work there has fueled his confidence — and enthusiasm — in showing the Chargers that he has taken a step forward.
“It’s not conventional training,” he said. “You’re not just putting a bar on your back and squatting it. Both physically and mentally it’s a little different. It’s like you’re retraining your brain.”
As one might guess, his conversations with Sanford about a possible affiliation went smoothly.
“It wasn’t about what I needed to do, it was about what we could do,” Stick said. “The conversation was like, ‘Hey, I would really like to do this — is that something we could do together?’”
It’s clear that staying connected with kids and passing along a passion for sports will be a goal throughout his career.
“I really want to have an impact on younger generations,” Stick said. “Obviously it’s been crazy this year with everything, but in the future I’m really looking forward to getting some things going with Sanford and kids.”
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