In support of its mission, YSU Athletics is committed to maximizing the potential of each student-athlete both on and off the field of competition. Student-athletes face unique demands and challenges. Programs are designed to support the holistic wellness of the student-athlete.
Educational programming focuses on issues including: relationship/dating violence, financial literacy, nutrition and recognition of disordered eating patterns, career development, drug, alcohol and gambling addictions, mental health issues, and any topic deemed necessary by our coaches and student-athletes.
Student-Athlete Wellness Committee
In accordance with the mission and core values of Youngstown State University and the Youngstown State Athletic Department, the Youngstown State Athletic Department Student-Athlete Wellness Committee is dedicated to promoting the physical, social and personal aspects of student-athletes.
The goal of the Youngstown State Athletic Department Student Athlete Wellness Committee is to establish and maintain relationships with various campus and community resources to promote the health and well-being of the student-athletes of Youngstown State University through the planning and implementing of various programs.
- Rebecca Fink, Assistant Athletic Director (Compliance)
- Rachel Froehlich, Athletic Academic Advisor
- Nicole Kent-Strollo, YSU Director of Student Outreach and Support
- Brian Sklenar, Director of Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning
- Rollen Smith, Assistant Director of Football Operations
- Ethan Solger, Head Athletic Trainer
- Jeff Wills, Assistant Athletic Trainer
- Emily Wollet, Associate Athletic Director (Compliance)
Individualized Wellness Plans
Collegiate student-athletes face unique demands and challenges. In an effort to deal with issues as early as possible, anyone with a concern or knowledge of someone exhibiting a "red flag" (listed below) is encouraged to submit a "Person of Concern" referral form or contact Dr. Nicole Kent-Strollo, the University’s Director of Student Outreach and Support.
Kent-Strollo is a former student-athlete and current assistant track and field and cross country coach for the Penguins with a unique understanding of what it means to be a Division I student-athlete at Youngstown State. She received her BSN from YSU in 1994, her MSN (Nurse Practitioner) from Kent State in 2002, and her EdD in Educational Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands in 2019. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA), Certified Nurse Practitioner, and Chair of the YSU CARE Team, she assists with the development and implementation of student-athlete health and wellness protocols and serves as the point-person for YSU’s Individualized Wellness Plan (IWP) program.
The Individual Wellness Plan (IWP)
Identification of a person (or team) in need of assistance is the first step in the development of an Individualized Wellness Plan (IWP) for those dealing with mental health issues, season-ending or long-term injuries, unique family situations, and a variety of other challenges they may be facing. Family members, teammates, coaches, classmates, faculty, staff, administration, and even community members may make a referral – or a student-athlete may refer himself or herself.
Depending on the situation or issue, the IWP may involve referral(s) to appropriate campus and community resource(s). Confidentiality is maintained whenever possible with the exception of matters mandated by federal or state law to be reported, such as sexual assault or harassment or on a "need to know" basis in order to protect and assist the student. Cases dealing with the health or safety of an individual or group will be discussed with the Student-Athlete Welfare Committee and/or YSU Care Team as deemed necessary.
Some reasons to be concerned:
- Marked change in academic and/or athletic performance
- Season-ending, career-ending, or chronic injury
- Trouble sleeping
- Marked change in personal hygiene
- Financial concern (food, housing, etc.)
- Dramatic weight loss or gain
- Preoccupation with food and/or weight
- Change in menstrual cycle (females)
- Relationship issues
- Physical and/or mental health concern
- Dependency (individual hangs around or makes excessive appointments at various offices on campus)
- Disruptive behavior / undue aggressiveness
- Depressed or lethargic mood
- Excessive absence and/or tardiness for class, practice, other obligations
- Drug and alcohol use/abuse
- Behavior indicating loss of contact with reality
- Expressing feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
- References to suicide, homicide, or assault
- Isolation from teammates, classmates, friends, or family
- Giving away prized possessions / making a will and final arrangements
- Any other concern/issue
"Circle 22" is a group to promote peer support and mentorship of YSU student-athletes through group discussions and speakers during the rehabilitation process after injury and surgery. The group was formed in April 2019 after Erin Gabriel, a student in YSU's physical therapy program who is from nearby Poland, Ohio, and played softball at Tennessee, spoke to a group of YSU student-athletes about an injury that required surgical intervention and prevented her from playing with Team USA. Gabriel spoke about the struggles she went through and resources she used during the process, and she shared ideas regarding resources she wished that she had taken advantage of that would have made the recovery and rehabilitation process easier.
Dr. Joseph Marzano has been a mental health provider in the Youngstown-Warren region since 1994. In his role as Sports Performance Counselor at Youngstown State, he trains student-athletes in improving academic and athletic performance.
In his clinical career of over 20 years, Dr. Marzano has an extensive range of clinical experience that includes Diagnostic Assessment and Treatment, Fitness for Duty Assessment, Psychotherapeutic counseling for adults, adolescents, and children experiencing depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation, Crises Intervention, Family Intervention, Family Estate mediation, Grief counseling, Cooperate and Administrative mediation and training, and Sports Performance Counseling.