Sunday, August 29, 2010

Affects of youth sports on children and parents

This should be an interesting series of articles by the Columbus Dispatch this upcoming week. I do plan to follow this report and see what they found in their research. I anticipate that this report will try and gain a perspective on the drive to have kids participate on travel teams that cross the country to play in the most competitive tournaments at great financial costs and, occasionally, with significant injury.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why ATCs are an important part of any school's athletic program

Over the last few months, there have been a staggering amount of publications that argue very strongly for the need to place Certified Athletic Trainers at every high school. The argument has even been made that if you can't afford an athletic trainer, then you can't afford sports like football, wrestling, hockey, and lacrosse. I have never thought about this problem too much since the majority of the schools that I have consistent contact with have an athletic trainer on site. However, after having started out as a part time ATC for a local school, I do appreciate how difficult that can be. I have only recently begun to think more about why it is so important for the schools to have full time athletic trainers as most of the current articles call for. I have to admit, they are right. With the attention being focused so heavily on TBIs and heat illnesses today, there is no good excuse for a school system to not have a full time ATC for their program. It is simply a demonstration of fiscal responsibility to make sure that your school has a full time athletic trainer. The athletic trainer does so much in prevention and treatment that they usually end up paying for themselves.

Addendum 8/28/10: Scripps News has a series of articles that discusses this problem in depth.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The correct kind of sports bra?

OK, so aside from all the jokes that can be made (and probably already have,) this is an aspect to sports medicine that has often been swept under the rug and ignored. The people who are conducting the research are often laughed at and given over to ridicule for looking at this subject. However, as this article points out, this is a much more serious subject than previously thought. Having the right kind of sports bra can make a big difference in the rate of injury in other areas of the body if the findings from this research turn out to be reliable and valid.

The obvious question is does size matter in this case? The research and article suggest that it does matter, a lot. Individuals with larger cup sizes tend to distribute weight differently during exercise than those with smaller cup sizes. Because of the increased stress on the inside of the legs during running, this can possibly lead to a greater incidence of shin splints and stress fractures. This then discourages women from exercising regularly and creates a whole litany of issues. Yes, this topic does matter and needs to be treated seriously and researched more. I, however, will gladly let others do the research so that I can't be accused of having other motives for wanting to conduct the research.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Repeated TBI and Lou Gehrig's Disease?

Researchers will publish an article tomorrow in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology that links repeated head injuries to Lou Gehrig's disease, according to Alan Schwarz of the New York Times. In Mr. Schwarz's article he describes that Lou Gehrig's disease may not be the same as A.L.S. as it has been thought for the last 70 years. In fact, the researchers hypothesize that it is an entirely new condition that presents like A.L.S. The researchers site different protein strains are at work in the brain for Lou Gehrig's disease that aren't found with A.L.S.

Mr. Schwarz also does an exceptional job recounting the number of reported injuries that Lou Gehrig suffered during his career in his article. With the details that he gives, it makes me shudder to think that he was allowed to RTP. Of course, that was a different era of sports medicine that didn't recognize the risks involved with letting him RTP. I will look forward to reading the research tomorrow and see what their findings are.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A look at gender and rate of injuries in high school

At Ohio State, there has been an injury tracking system in place for a few years now that assembles information about the rates of high school injury in various contexts. In this article, it compares the rate of injury between genders. Of no surprise is that more boys are injured, but that is greatly influenced by football and wrestling. (Two sports with minimal participation by girls.) However, girls are getting injured at higher rates in basketball, soccer, and softball when compared to the boys' comparable sports. As of yet, there is minimal explanation as to why, only hypotheses.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Looks like metal bats will stay, for now.

It looks like a deal has been struck in California to avoid a state legislature writing a new law banning metal bats from youth baseball. The agreement looks like the fielders will be required to wear a piece of protective headgear. I am unsure from this article as to which fielders will be required to wear the headgear, or even if this will affect any athletes outside of California. It is natural to assume that the pitcher would be required to wear them. The debate would rage over the infielders, particularly the shortstop and the second baseman. I don't see the need for any of the outfielders to wear the head gear.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Weigh-in Charts for Football Using a Simple Spreadsheet

For a number of years, I have had a problem with the weigh-in and weigh-out procedure with football. The problem I have had is that the scale and charts are often set up in a locker room where the coaches often don't go to look at the charts, much less do the tedious calculations that are needed. Without doing the calculations, the weight chart are simply ineffective and a waste of time for the team to perform.

Therefore, in October of 2002, I had an article published in the NATA News that offered a simple additional step that created an easier method for making the calculations. In this article I offered a chart that displayed the greater than 97%, 97%, 96%, and 95% values for every possible weight from 100 lbs up to 330 lbs. This was color coded green, yellow, orange, and red for each level of weight loss. The athlete was to then use either a matching highlighter on his weigh out value or use an appropriate colored pencil to record it. This system worked as long as you could keep the pencil tips sharp or the highlighters from drying out. (The kids frequently lost the caps for the highlighters.)

Eventually, I got tired of replacing highlighters and pencils and decided to relocate the scale into the athletic training room. This was one of the best ideas I ever had. I continued using the paper and pencil method for another year, but I still found that I was looking for the caps far too often. So I decided that i needed to design a simple spreadsheet on Microsoft Excel and add the file to an outdated laptop computer that I can left in my office for the kids to record their weights on.

In this file, I was able to let the program do the calculations for me and appropriately color the cells using the conditional formatting function. The cells are either white, yellow, orange, or red depending on the amount of weight lost from time of weigh in to weigh out. Furthermore, I was also able to set a conditional format that allowed me to compare weigh in values between each day. Currently, the cell will remain pink in color (to differentiate it from the red) if the athlete weighs in at less than 99% of his weight from the previous day. This is an added feature and was a function that would have been far too confusing to add to the paper and pencil route. The best part is that it is done automatically for me in the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is currently designed so for a Monday start to two-a-days and assumes practices Monday through Saturday with a day off on Sunday. Changing this is not difficult to anyone who knows how to operate the formulas in the cells. If needed, this document can also be printed out. The only maintenance that I have had to perform with this file was to weights to the correct columns since they were entered incorrectly and making sure I save the file to the hard drive each day. I can even go so far as to copy it to a flash drive or network the computer wirelessly to backup the file automatically.

To access the files directly, the links are:

Old Weight Chart -

Spreadsheet -

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Respecting an Athletic Trainer's Decision Regarding RTP

This article reminded me of a coach that I have worked with in the past. At the time, I was working as a part-time athletic trianer for a local high school. This meant that often, I would tell an athlete that I was going to hold him or her from practice until I had a chance to see them again in a day or two (depending on what day of the week it was.) Most of the coaches I worked with in this school had no problems with this since I also gave them a phone number to contact me if anything changed in the meantime (for better or for worse.) Unfortunately, I had one coach who would accept my opinion if I was telling the student athlete that he or she could continue to practice or play. However, if I chose to hold a kid out of participation, (or even allow them to participate with restrictions,) this coach would flatly tell me that the athlete needed to get a second opinion. This coach even so far as to tell one athlete that they needed a second doctor's opinion even when the first doctor agreed with my findings to the letter. Eventually, the parents became wise to this coach's games and were able to remove him from his position using this complaint along with several complaints.

The part that really stuns me about this as I look back now is that it should have been more obvious to me what the coach was doing and trying to take advantage of the fact that I was recently graduated from college and working in my first two years out of school. When I look back on that situation now, I find that I would have a much stronger reaction to a coach who consistently questioned my decisions when it went against his wishes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Threats to High School Athletics

Do you ever wonder why high school coaches are being required to have more and more training? This radio interview of a representative of the National Federation of High School Associations explains why there are so many new programs being developed to teach coaches "how to coach."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

PYFL fundraiser

For all those that attended the PYFL fundraiser last night, thank you. I trust you had as much fun as I did. I hope that more people would turn out for next year's fundraiser and help suuport our children.