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Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts.

From College Athlete to NFL Strength and Conditioning Coach: Zane Fakes

A lifelong athlete, Zane Fakes played high school and college football and knows the importance of injury prevention and strength and conditioning in sports. While in high school, he played football in his hometown of Plainfield, Indiana. As an undergraduate student at Ball State University, he majored in exercise science and played as a tight end on the university’s football team. After earning his undergraduate degree, Zane returned to Ball State for his master’s degree in sports administration. During that time he also worked as a graduate assistant in strength and conditioning with the university’s football team.

In 2018, Zane became an intern for the Indianapolis Colts in strength and conditioning and then was hired full-time. With the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement requiring head strength and conditioning coaches to have a master’s degree in exercise science or a related field, Zane realized the importance of furthering his education. That’s when he found Logan University and began work on his Master of Science in Strength and Conditioning (MS-SC) degree. This one-year online program was the perfect fit for his career.

“This program provided me with the education I need in one year and allows me to balance working full time and completing the coursework,” he said. “I started the program in August of 2023 and the schedule has been so convenient, especially as we travel for games. I plan to complete it in September of 2024.”

Zane adds that the high quality of the instructors has also been beneficial, as they provide many perspectives from working with different populations. “The class I took in sports psychology has been one of my favorites, as it provided me with a better lens to deal with player situations,” he said. “It was incredible to apply what I was learning from the course in real-time during the football season.”

As assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Colts, he works on a team that takes care of all player needs, including exercising, running, agility training, lifting, plyometrics, nutrition and hydration.

“The team usually has anywhere from 70 to 90 players, so it is a big undertaking to keep them all in great shape,” said Zane.


Photo Credit: Indianapolis Colts