SBJ/March 11-17, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Mark Verstegen, founder, Athletes’ Performance

Mark Verstegen founded Athletes’ Performance in 1999 in Phoenix as a training center for elite athletes. While the business may be best known for training top NFL draft prospects for their performances at the NFL combine and their respective pro days, Athletes’ Performance has expanded in sports as well as in other lines of business. Among those areas are training military special forces and helping corporations keep their employees healthy and happy.

Photo by: JASON WISE

Athletes are not just bigger. You are looking at athletes who are more efficient, leaner, they have more power per pound. They have way less dead weight and they know how to use it. Sport has gone from static and dial-up to high definition, and that is really what you are seeing.



NFL draft training:
Every year, Athletes’ Performance has trained between 60 to 90 players for the NFL draft. … The NFL combine training is always important to us, but it may be more important to others, because it actually [gets] the media attention. But what people don’t realize is not only are we industry-leading in the NFL combine, but the same is true across other sports.

Other growth areas: We support about 20 professional teams globally. Soccer, globally, is one of our biggest accounts.

Working with corporations: We are very involved in supporting the leading global corporations as well and helping to support their human capital, so we are essentially offering the same services: mindset, nutrition and recovery for employees of the leading global corporations. We started that around 2009. Intel is a client of ours.

What people don’t know: A lot of the areas that we have a lot of depth in are areas that we don’t talk a lot about. One is the support of our elite special forces. In the elite-level military, we did significant research there about seven years ago on the idea that the human is more important than the hardware. It is a great honor and responsibility to support our elite special operations groups.

Making sports safer: We are looking at the lifespan of active contact players, like players in the NFL. I have served as the director of performance for the NFL Players Association for the last decade. In this last CBA, we were able to reorganize the offseason training and practice schedule and in-season practice schedule that will save some of these rookies that you are talking about right now anywhere between 50,000 and 75,000 hits to their head in their career.

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