Sarah Snyder was the first full-time dietitian hired by the Detroit Lions. Then she became the first with the Baltimore Ravens.
Now Snyder is the first president of the Professional Football Registered Dietitian Society (PFRDS), which was officially launched today.
Sports nutrition has grown tremendously in the NFL over the past decade or so, and Snyder is at the forefront of making sure the best ideas and practices are shared to help players maximize their abilities.
"Sarah is an amazing resource for our players, and we are fortunate to have her on our Wellness team," General Manager Eric DeCosta said. "She's on the cutting edge of everything that is diet and nutrition, and her passion and determination are on display daily at our training facility. We are so happy for Sarah as she takes on this well-deserved leadership role!"
The PFRDS mission is to "prioritize player welfare by providing evidence-based nutrition practices for high-level performance, while leading the sports nutrition field with sound and innovative methods." Its formation will allow registered dietitians/nutritionists (RDNs) to work as a collaborative unit to share ideas and engage key NFL leaders at the club and league levels.
Snyder joined the Ravens in 2019 as the team's Director of Sports Nutrition. She previously worked with the Lions (2016-2019), the University of Michigan (2015-2016), and University of Florida (2011-2015).
Snyder works with each individual player to customize their plan based on their current needs, including foundational nutrition, fueling, recovery and hydration. She works in collaboration with the team's strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, and medical staff.
Currently, 28 of 32 clubs employ full-time RDNs and the remaining four clubs have contract RDNs in the role.
They traditionally have met informally at the Combine every year, giving everyone a chance to share their successes and challenges. Snyder said many RDNs came from the collegiate level, and it's been an adjustment for them to transition to the NFL.
The Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) has been around since the 1960s. Now the PFRDS will look to make a similar impact on the profession and athletes. They will hold their first official meeting at the Combine this week.
"It feels like a natural progression. We came to the table within the last 10 years," Snyder said.
"Having a seat at the table is so important to me in that we can sit next to athletic trainers, we can sit next to the strength coaches, we can all talk about our overlapping worlds that are constantly needing collaboration. I have a lot of passion to advocate for the position. I want to make sure that we keep moving forward."