Rock Bridge player eats to improve his football success

Thursday, October 16, 2008 | 10:13 p.m. CDT; updated 2:46 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 17, 2008
Rock Bridge junior running back Stuart Eiken has gained 45 pounds in the past two years.

7,000 calories a day for Stuart Eiken

      Three-egg sandwich with bacon and cheese
      Protein shake
      Foot-long sandwich from Subway
      Protein shake
      Cubed steak
      Mashed potatoes
      Protein shake

COLUMBIA — Stuart Eiken is trying to gain weight, but his 7,000-calorie-a-day diet isn’t working.

The Rock Bridge junior running back has actually lost a few pounds this fall, dropping to a svelte 165 pounds on his 5-foot-6 inch frame.

“I can go to Taco Bell and order everything off the menu,” Eiken said. “It won’t do anything. I got a fast metabolism.”

The Bruins visit the Liberty Blue Jays, the No. 5Class 6A team in Missouri, tonight at 7.

Eiken searched the Internet over the summer for foods that could help him add weight. He now drinks three protein shakes a day (3,600 calories total) and eats black olives, even though he doesn’t really like them.

He combined his increase in caloric intake with a weight-lifting regimen to become a better running back. Eiken has gained 45 pounds in two-plus years at Rock Bridge.

“I have pictures of myself on the computer from when I was younger,” Eiken said. “I thought I was a pretty big guy back then. But I was skin-ny.”

Considering some of the other players on the field, Eiken still is.

“Whenever I go against a guy who is 215 pounds, and I’m 165, a little more weight would help,” he said. “There’s a little bit of intimidation, but I can make them miss (tackling me).”

Eiken’s size is beneficial, according to the Bruins’ biggest player, Skylar Hinton, who is 10 inches taller (6 feet 4) and 125 pounds heavier (290). As a Bruins lineman, Hinton opened running lanes for Eiken before Hinton broke his left leg.

“He’s always been one of the smaller guys,” said Hinton, who has played with Eiken since they were in fifth grade. “The better ones (running backs) are smaller, shiftier guys. Stuart being as small as he is, he can make big plays.”

Eiken agrees.

“Quickness-wise, my size helps, because I’m short and don’t weigh very much,” he said. “I get lost behind the line because we got big linemen. I think the shortness is a good thing.”

The Bruins went without the elusive runner for a while after Eiken broke his leg and tore three ligaments in his ankle on Sept. 10 last year.

“I was playing safety and was at the bottom of a pile,” Eiken said. “I heard a pop and I thought that I broke my leg. I just hobbled over to the sideline.”

He had surgery four days later and then reached a snag during the rehab process.

“The normal rehabilitation process for this injury is three or four months,” said Greg Nagel, the Rock Bridge athletic trainer. “But not every single injury is the same. He needed surgery to take out some hardware (material put in by doctors to keep the fibula and ankle stable).”

Eiken’s second surgery came on the first day of summer, which caused him to miss Rock Bridge’s summer practice schedule and a camp at MU.

“I was a little nervous,” Eiken said about whether or not he thought he could return for this season. “(The doctors) told me I would be back for the season. I didn’t know how long it would take. I was still scared something would happen again.”

Eiken returned for Rock Bridge’s first game Aug. 29 and now rotates with senior Jaimonte Cooper at running back. Eiken has rushed for 312 yards this season, including 148 the last two weeks.

"It was frustrating," Nagel said of Eiken's second surgery. "When it's June, you get worried about the upcoming season. It's a testament to his work ethic (that he's back)."

With Cooper graduating next year, Eiken figures to receive more carries next season. He just hopes he doesn't need to eat even more to gain weight.

“If I hit that wall again, then I will have to go there,” Eiken said. “Hopefully not, though, because that’s a lot of food.”

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