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Austin Nisonoff: Inside the mind of a lacrosse player

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Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat Arizona Men's Lacrosse after Saturday's game vs. USC. The wildcats unfortunately lost to the California team with the score of 9-10.

The Daily Wildcat recently interviewed Arizona lacrosse defensive co-captain Austin Nisonoff after practice about being injured in the past and how he has come back from injury to be a difference maker on the team. 

DW: Arizona lacrosse has confirmed that you were injured for the past two seasons, what exactly happened?

AN: My freshman year I was a lot bigger. I was two-forty. It was a lot harder for me to move, and we had a wet practice one day. I slipped and I tore my meniscus and I believe my LCL. It was two of the minor things. Everything else was there. So, I was on crutches and then started walking on it. That was the first one. Then last year I ended up getting a boxing fracture on my pinky and my ring finger on my right hand, and I was out for the season. That was it. 

DW: What has rehabilitation been like for you with all of that?

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AN: I tend to stay pretty physically busy throughout the year. Over the summer time, I’d go out and I was working on the oil rigs and I was doing beach patrol out in Jersey. I compete out there doing competitions for Red Bull and some other things like that and on the island where I work and everything. So, that helps a lot with, you know, rehabbing. We have to be very physically in shape. You kind of test your body doing that. So, that was a big test for me this summer with my hand. Two summers ago, with my knee. Rehabbing itself, there’s great trainers here. You go in — I’d try to see them every day — at least three times a week, and they really take care of you. 

DW: When you aren’t rehabbing with your past injuries, how do you stay in shape off the field?

AN: I do lift five, minimum six times a week when we're not playing. Yeah five-six times a week so that I come out strong. I also do explosiveness work. 

DW: Where do you go to lift? Do you go to the Student Recreation Center?

AN: Yeah, I go to Rec. I do that and then our coach — coach Colby, our face-offs coach — he comes every day and he does a full workout with me four times a week. So not every day. I just try to keep up with it every day. Then I jump rope. I used to be boxer for conditioning and stuff. 

DW: So, is he kind of a personal trainer for you in a way or do your own thing?

AN:  You know man, back home I had a lot of big influences in my life. I grew up with a group. My boy Big Dave, Darren, Ram. You know a lot of them. Steve, Matt. They’d all get together, and we would go and lift with them. They were like mentors to me. Some of them were professional body builders. On TV, that kind of stuff.  I kind of learned how to train my muscles through them. Then through boxing everything I learned conditioning myself, then I tried to put both together. 

 DW: What do you eat to stay in shape?

AN: It depends. So, if I am trying to lose weight, which I am right now because we’re in-season. I’m trying to stay cut and lean. I usually eat four-five meals a day. Try to get in 3,500-4,000 calories. I get up at 6 a.m. 5:45-6 a.m. So that’s when I have my first meal. Then just a lot of high proteins. Then I’m trying to switch off. For me personally, the way my body functions, I have to use carbs. I have to use carbs to stay up. I’m doing three-a-days, so naturally.  

DW: When you say carbs. Like healthy carbs?

AN: Absolutely yeah. Yams, brown rice, vegetables have good carbs. Bananas have I think like 45 carbs per banana. Apples have good carbs. So, it’s bunch of healthy and natural carb supplements. Keeping fueled with the high protein.  

DW: You said you are trying to lose weight, so what is an ideal weight for you during the season?

AN: During the season, probably anywhere from 200 to 205 [pounds].

DW: What are you currently at?

AN: Right now. I am 207 [pounds]. So, I got a little, about two more pounds. I’m at pretty optimal speed right now. I’ve been feeling a lot more explosive recently. Off-season I bulked up to 228 [pounds]. So when I came back in January, I was 228. Then what is it, I guess four weeks later and I am down to 207.

DW: When it came to lacrosse, who first put the stick in your hands? Was it your dad?

AN: Yeah, it was my pops, man. He played back in the day. He went to Rutgers, so he used to play. We’re all from Jersey. He used to play back in the backwoods of Jersey. He got this old stick that doesn’t have an attachment handle on it. It is like one stick formed with the head on it. 

DW: What role has lacrosse played in your life? 

AN: Lacrosse has been a big part of my life man. I started playing lacrosse when I was in second grade. Long sticks. You run around. Everything’s a sport. It’s not a backward story, so I guess it was in my blood all along. It’s been a huge part. I went to a high school where it was very competitive. We got two state championships under our belt while we were there. It helped me get in shape for the summertime. Helped me get ready for football season, too, and the two of those sports kind of worked back and forth.


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