Sparta ATC hosts football camp |

Sparta ATC hosts football camp

Thomas Ranson
Coaches from Sparta ATC speak to their Mind of a Champion football camp participants this week at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex.
Courtesy Alisha Hill

After seeing his dream of competing in the NFL cut short, Brandon Sanders found a new purpose in his young career.

Sanders ruptured a disc in his neck while playing college football, ending his chance of playing on Sundays in the fall. But during the recovery process, Sanders developed the strength and mentality to overcome adversity of that injury, now at the forefront of his business, Sparta Athletic Training Center, which hosted a three-day football camp at Churchill County High School this week.

“The recovery process for me ultimately developed who I was,” said Sanders, who played at Ole Miss and Nicholls State. “It was more so overcoming that injury and moving forward in life. Ultimately, I realized with my experience playing college football and competing at the levels I competed at down to my injury, at that point it takes a certain mentality to overcome adversity, which we will all face. Not just in football but the game of life.”

Sanders moved to Fallon four years ago when his wife was transferred to NAS Fallon. Since then, the pair fell in love with the town and Sanders has been helping Fallon’s youth become better athletes and people.

“They’re all real high-quality character guys. That’s first and foremost,” Fallon football coach Brooke Hill said of Sanders and his camp staff. “They’re football coaches but real high-quality guys. They challenged our kids. Our kids were real responsive to it. It was something they really responded well to being challenged.”

The camp, which carried the mantra of “Mind of a Champion,” ran for three days with competitions and drills. Between 50 and 60, ages 13-18, participated in the camp – including about half of Hill’s football program.

“Really focusing on what it takes to be a competitive football player but how these things translate in life, too,” Hill said of the program’s message. “Even though it was a football camp, it was about these kids in becoming men.”

After being involved with other camps, this week’s program was the first time Sanders was in charge. He couldn’t be any more pleased with the results, which saw a transformation from the first to last day.

“We were able to talk to the kids a little bit about life and the game of football,” he said. “From Day 1 to Day 3, you could literally see a difference in them.”

And the camp came at a perfect time for Hill. The Greenwave football team opens its summer camp on Monday at 4 p.m. at the high school.