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HAMMOCK: Gwinnett expo a great tool for anyone involved in youth sports

Sports Editor Will Hammock 

Sports Editor Will Hammock 

Between my profession and my two kids in youth sports, I’m at hundreds of sporting events a year. Unfortunately, that’s a considerable amount of concession-stand meals.

Avoidance is usually my best plan. I try to catch a meal beforehand, or hold off until afterward. But I still get stuck sometimes.

Do I get a hot dog or a cheeseburger? Hope they haven’t run out of Chick-fil-A sandwiches? Grab cold pizza? Nachos? Add Cheetos or Doritos?

Not exactly too many healthy options there.

All the kids around me (mine included) rush up to buy Sour Punch products, Skittles or any other sugar-loaded treat they can find. Then they can wash it down with some sugar-heavy drink.

What those children, many of them young athletes, put into their body from concession stands is one of the main concerns for Monica Griffin, a dietician for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Griffin has developed plans for healthier concession stands, which she will share at the CHOA-sponsored Youth Sports Expo at Rhodes Jordan Park this Saturday. Her more nutritional suggestions also will keep another idea in mind.

“I know at the end of the day (concession stands) are just trying to raise money,” Griffin said.

Her discussion will include details of her own trip to a bulk sales store, with a breakdown of her cost-effective, yet healthy purchases. A few of her recommendations — crackers instead of potato chips, crunchy granola bars and nuts and bulk packages of fruit.

“It’s not just about nutrition,” Griffin said. “These kids are being active but they’re being rewarded with sweets, chips and sugary drinks. It’s setting them up for diet choices later in life.”

Griffin’s discussion is just one part of Saturday’s expo, which promises to be very informative for anyone involved in youth sports, from coaches to parents to school and league sports administrators. The event begins at 8:30 a.m., concludes at 3 p.m. and features keynote speaker Brian Jordan, a former Atlanta Braves and Falcons standout.

A number of topics will be covered throughout the day during the educational sessions, which include the interesting dietary discussion from Griffin. Participants also can learn about injuries and concussions, safety and background checks, field and facility management, marketing and advertising.

The expo hall at Rhodes Jordan will feature youth sports product displays, a silent auction and a raffle for a customized golf cart from All Pro Carts from the Gwinnett Parks Foundation. Proceeds from the silent auction and raffle will benefit the Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Scholarship Fund.

Tickets are $20 each, discounted to $80 for groups of five, and they include breakfast, lunch and admission to all sessions and the expo hall.

“We’re excited to be a part of it,” Griffin said. “It should be a great day.”

Will Hammock can be reached via email at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.

IF YOU GO

What: Youth Sports Expo

When: Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Rhodes Jordan Park, Lawrenceville

More information: www.gwinnettparks.com