Many young athletes in the Valley have finished their classes for the school year or graduated — some of which are looking to go to college and eventually become pro athletes.

On Saturday, an event was held to give those student-athletes advice, not only on how to make it to fields like Stambaugh Stadium, but also advice about life after sports.

About 40 student-athletes from Mahoning and Trumbull counties went to the 4th annual Game Changers leadership summit at Youngstown State University to plan for their futures.

They got to talk to former professional athletes-turned business leaders as well as law enforcement and academic leaders.

The organizer of the event, Michael Engram, says the “GC 360” event highlights the importance of being well-rounded on and off the field.

“So, they are not just focused thinking, ‘Man, all I have is my athletics to offer.’ No, you’ve got academics and these academics are going to supersede your five, seven, 10, maybe even 15, 20 years if you’re lucky in sports,” he said.

J’Vonne Parker, a former Cleveland Browns player, says that lesson helped him in 2010 when he was badly injured and his career was over.

“I always had a sense of business, I’ve always been an entrepreneur in spirit. So, I was making moves off the field in reference to that, but it still… you’re never ready for actually having to go and pursue that off the field,” he said.

At the summit, student-athletes learned about financial literacy, social media etiquette and skills for job interviews.


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