As we grow older, especially those of us who played sports, there are those days where we wish we may have stretched more or trained differently that could have extended our playing or competition days but also, cut down the chances of injury and pain as we get older.

One of the most successful football players to come out of Toms River High School East, Nico Steriti, knows those lessons all too well. 

He put his body on the line day after day in practice and during games putting up stellar, record numbers with the Raiders playing running back and defensive back at a peak level and up at the University of New Hampshire as well.

Nico broke the school records at TRE for touchdowns with 46 and rushing yards with 2,800 and ranks 8th on the UNH all-time rushing list with 2,395 yards and 20th with 424 carries.

"If I was to get down to the poetic side of it, my favorite part about playing that game -- I think it was just -- obviously on gameday, if you were capable of performing and having that experience of running down the sidelines and hearing the wind go by your ears, hear the crowd get loud as you cross the line, yea, it's a pretty euphoric feeling as a sport," Nico Steriti tells Townsquare Media on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on 94.3 The Point and 105.7 The Hawk on Sunday morning. "I hit home runs, I hit jump shots, I hit three-pointers, I won track meets, I hit people in football, caught interceptions, all those things are dandy, but, there's just nothing like taking one to the house, scoring a touchdown."

(Photo: Bill Normile)
(Photo: Bill Normile)
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Amidst the glory though, came the pain, including 12 concussions and 2 shoulder surgeries including for a torn labrum he suffered in college.

"I was willing to die on the field, like, I was okay with it, I played through concussions, labrum tears, high ankle stress fractures, hip pointers where my abdomen wall was swollen -- there are nasty sides to it that no-one wants to talk about," Steriti said.

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Over the last few years, he has gone on a journey of self-discovery looking to find what was next amid the physical, mental, and emotional pain he was enduring daily after 17 years of playing the game he loved since he was a little kid.

The journey that led him all over the world brought him back home to Toms River and led to the creation of Steriti Sports School (S3) where he pays forward the knowledge he has gained to young athletes looking to take that next step and athletes of all ages looking to improve their physical and overall well being.

Nico and Mario Steriti playing for Toms River High School East. (Photo Courtesy of Nico Steriti)
Nico and Mario Steriti playing for Toms River High School East. (Photo Courtesy of Nico Steriti)
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"Being an in-person trainer-- is very difficult to get to everybody, your time, your location, all those things, so, now that I've developed a niche as a sports performance and life performance school, 'SPOGA', -- Sports Yoga -- this is like imprinted into the DNA of what we do," Steriti said. "Now, I'm in the process of filming and creating my online training program called SPOGA-X, so, now, through online, the goal is for the guru to be in the pocket of the athlete globally between meditations, breathing techniques, sport-minded movements, training in the elements, hills, beach, water, grass, turf, all these variations I will have professionally filmed, it will be on my website s3.guru through my online program and it is in the process of becoming, eventually, an app in the app store."

The goal is much more than that, it'll be something that'll change you forever.

"My goal is to pass that knowledge on to the athlete that was void for me when my career ended, there wasn't sport minded individual who played at a high level which was putting something in my face to help my mental health as an athlete and as a person, it wasn't there," Steriti said. "Now, having gone through what I've gone through as an athlete and post career (with) mental health -- I got hospitalized for mental health, I did 3-months outpatient for mental health five-days a week -- these are worlds young Nico never knew, these are worlds high school/college Nico would have laughed at, but these are worlds that the adult Nico had to go through."

Before he go to S3, his journey after football took him to write and later, traveling and learning all that he not only teaches to athletes but is now at the very core of who he is.

(Photo Credit: Hollie Santo)
(Photo Credit: Hollie Santo)
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"I studied with a yogee for 13-days in his home in the Himalayas, I didn't just go to a yoga studio and get a certificate, I'm not downgrading it, but, when I was on my path and I was curious about 'what is this yoga thing', I was attracted to India, I was attracted to Nepal, there was some energy out there that wasn't here, and in the understanding of the formalization of yoga," Steriti said. "Out here, it's like the telephone line, there's a telephone line from the eastern world to the western world, and in that telephone line, it becomes commercialized, it becomes profitable."

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For Nico, there is more than just being a physical presence as an athlete, it's who you are as a person and what you're willing to do to become better inside and out, it's realizing the quality of what you do, taking the time to properly stretch, to focus on the real important things of breathing, relaxing, taking care of yourself before, during, and after a game which in turn will make you better on the field.

"It is not a method, it's a message, it is not a cure, it's medicine, and, in medicine, is healing, and, in healing is where you find yourself, and that's kind of what's occurred for me," Steriti said.

You can listen to the entire interview conversation with Nico Steriti, owner of S3 Steriti Sports School, on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave', right here.

Part One:

Part Two:

KEEP READING: NJ Athletes Who Played Games In NFL

KEEP READING: NJ Athletes Who Played/Coached in NBA and MLB

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