Sam Phillips is raising awareness of the dangers of testicular cancer. | Instagram

Gymnast Sam Phillips stands on a mat shirtless and clad only in some workout shorts. At one point he points down to his crotch and starts talking about balls.

“In men’s gymnastics we don’t use balls. Even our foam blocks are square,” Phillips said in a video. “The only balls we have are [points to crotch] the ones you and I have. So if you want to stay healthy as a college athlete you should make sure to check your balls.

“Why is that? Well, because testicular cancer affects men ages 18 to 33 the most. That’s us right now. So let’s work together to keep the only balls we have in our sports and the most important balls we have in our life.”

Phillips’ video is part of a promotion from Movember (the men’s health campaign best known for getting men to grow mustaches in November), which featured athletes in April for Testicular Cancer Awareness Month (coincidentally, we have also written about a gay soccer referee’s involvement with the issue).

Phillips reached out to Opendorse, a portal that connect college athletes with Name, Image and Likeness deals, to become part of the Movember campaign that uses the hashtag #knowthynuts.

“I saw that as a perfect opportunity to break into the space of men’s health,” Phillips, an All-American gymnast at the University of Nebraska, told Outsports. “On their campaign description, they wanted something fun and lighthearted, so I was like, why not?

“I had a lot of fun and also learned some information myself. My uncle also had testicular cancer, but he was able to catch it early and I thought … let’s spread some awareness and help some people alleviate a potential hardship.”

Phillips, who is one of the few out male gymnasts, said being gay had no special meaning for the campaign for the obvious reason that “every cisgender man has testicles, gay or not.”

Aside from admiring the strategy of using his platform to raise awareness of a serious health issue that affects young men, it’s also a story of how NIL deals have allowed college athletes to legitimately profit from their sport, something that used to be reserved mainly for coaches and the media-collegiate industrial complex.

Among the companies Phillips has NIL deals with are Adobe, Clearcover Car Insurance, Movember, Adidas, Jewlr and Steve Madden. And given his most recent news, Phillips will have more time to pursue NIL deals.

Last week, Phillips announced he was transferring to the University of Illinois to compete on its men’s gymnastics team for his final year of collegiate eligibility. It was somewhat big news in the gymnastics community since there are only 12 men’s NCAA Division I teams and transferring is rare.

It came down to Nebraska no longer having a roster spot, so Phillips worked with the coaches there to find a landing spot at Illinois. He made his decision in January and kept it quiet until after the season ended.

“I’m so excited for a great change and a breath of fresh air,” Phillips told Outsports. “I’m ready for a new perspective and to be able to have the relief and weight lifted off me so i can focus purely on gymnastics, school and NIL.”