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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Concussions in Sports


























In recent years, the number of concussion related injuries and visits to emergency treatment facilities, for head impact related events, have dramatically risen. Contact sports have always been known for their inherently higher risks to players. Concussion injuries are not a new occurrence, but the rapid rise in the amount of reported concussion injuries are fairly new. There are many theories and ideas concerning the rise of concussion injuries, in modern contact sports. Regardless as to why they are occurring in higher numbers, concussion related injuries are a serious medical issue in modern contact sports. Many agencies and organizations have taken actions and steps to mitigate this serious medical issue (Appenzeller, 2011).

Due to the increased media exposure, medical advancements, higher numbers of concussion injuries, related post-concussion medical complications and deaths, action had to be taken. Many organizations like the NFL, have initiated numerous actions to deal with the concussion issue. Research, equipment modifications, neurological testing, adjustment of game rules, education and other steps have been taken to mitigate the risk of concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries in contact sports. There are also treatment and return to play protocols that have been implemented, along with various rule changes, at the high school, college and professional level. The government has even gotten involved by approving legislation to implement guidelines and to provide funding to procure safety equipment to protect youth athletes (Appenzeller, 2011).

I do believe these organizations have a moral obligation to reduce risks and mitigate further concussion related injuries. Many players over the years, in a variety of sports, have had their lives ruined and in some cases, ended, because of these traumatic brain injuries. Many argue that it comes with the territory and contact sports will always have injuries. While this may be true to a point, there are many areas that can be adjusted to reduce an athlete’s chances of suffering a potentially lethal blow, on the field. It has been well known for over a decade, in the sports and medical industries, that concussion related injuries and many resulting after effects, are a serious and potentially life threatening problem. Did all of these organizations wait too long, to take action, concerning concussion injuries? Many think so and feel that many of the injuries, over the past decade, could have been avoided, if action was taken sooner (Ezell, 2013).

Today, there are many programs and actions being taken by a variety of sports organizations to deal with this issue. They should have been doing this long before they were essentially forced to act. This issue isn’t new and many of the older players suffered needlessly. If these organizations hadn’t taken measures to deal with this issue, there could have been major legal actions, higher costs, the potential shut down of many sports programs and a serious loss of revenue. And that doesn’t include an unknown number of additional casualties on the playing field. Taking care of people is a fundamental concept in any ethical or moral setting. As a civilized society, we must strive to keep sports as a safe and positive activity, instead of returning to the gladiator days of ancient Rome (McGrath, 2011).

References:

Appenzeller, H. (2011). Ethical behavior in sport. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press.

McGrath, B. (2011). Does Football Have a Future? The New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/01/31/does-football-have-a-future

Ezell, L. (2013). Timeline: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis. Frontline. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/league-of-denial/timeline-the-nfls-concussion-crisis/

Eric Dempsey
MS, Certified Training for Warriors Level 2 Coach

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

International Gender Equality in Sports

 


While the United States has seen massive progress towards the goal of gender equity in sports, largely due to the impact of the Title IX legislation; many other countries have no such gender equity laws. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the United States, with many issues yet to be resolved. But as a nation, we are leaps and bounds ahead of some other countries. The concept of orthodox gender ideology was and still is a large obstacle, in the gender equality battle, within the United States. Progress is being made but more work needs to be done (Coakley, 2015).

In some other countries, orthodox gender ideology is the law. While progress is being made in gender equality, on a global level, many countries are steadfast in their old ways. Organizations such as the UN Women are established in over seventy five countries. Great efforts are being made in gender equality, across all major topics. But as in the United States, despite amazing advances, obstacles still remain around the world (Puri, 2012).

Countries such as India are places where traditional sports are not emphasized in general, let alone for women. Bangladesh recently had a surge in interest, in women’s surfing, but their version of orthodox gender ideology has basically wiped it out. There, women are discouraged from water events, after age twelve (Puri, 2012).

While there are still many countries that are far behind the international advances, made in gender equality in sports; many countries have made great progress. An example of progress can be seen, in the once male dominated sport of soccer. There are now national women’s leagues in many countries and they even have a world cup for women’s soccer. While this is a great advancement, issues still exist, such as the huge difference in media coverage and promotions for the men’s and women’s world cup. Internationally, there are many similarities in the progress made and obstacles that remain, for gender equality in sports, between the United States and other nations abroad (Mertens, 2015).

Despite the lack of advancement in gender equality in sports, in many nations around the world, it is getting better, statistically. Some nations, such as certain, strict Arab countries, which have rigid rules about where a woman’s place is, may never get on board with the global equality movement. Many other nations are coming around slowly, with the help of various international organizations. Some nations are making great advancements, with work still to be done. It will never be perfect everywhere, but it is getting better by the day, in many places around the world. The world as a whole has improved over the last thirty years and progress is continuing to be made. While there will always be some nations that will not toe the line, on gender equality in sports; the amount of progress being made internationally, is enough to give hope that the world will continue to get better (Coakley, 2015).

References:

Coakley, J. (2015). Sports in society: Issues and controversies (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Puri, L. (2012). Women in the World of Sports. UN Women. Retrieved from http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2012/2/women-in-the-world-of-sports

Mertens, M. (2015). Women's Soccer Is a Feminist Issue. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/06/womens-soccer-is-a-feminist-issue/394865/

Eric Dempsey
MS, Certified Lv1 Underground Strength Coach 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Title IX and Women's Sports



















In the history of our nation, the battles against discrimination have been well documented. Discrimination based upon gender, religion, ethnic background, race and many other categories, have existed since the beginnings of man. In the United States, discrimination has been challenged and legal action has been taken, to try to eliminate or at least mitigate, its occurrences throughout the country. One area of discrimination that has seriously affected the rights and freedoms of our citizens is gender discrimination. For many years, even decades, discrimination against women ran wild. There was a time when women couldn’t vote, hold certain jobs, receive equal pay, play certain sports, or attend certain educational institutions. The era of the 1960’s and 1970’s saw people in America, take a stand against all discrimination. Many laws were passed, to reverse the damaging practices of discrimination, in order to provide equality for all people. One such law that was passed was called the Education Amendments Act of 1972. One very important part of this law is known as Title IX (Sommers, 2014).

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, in any federally funded education program or activity. The rules and regulations found within Title IX, apply to any local, state, or federal institution that uses financial aid benefits from the U.S. Department of Education. There are key areas where participating institutions have to comply with the guidelines set forth in Title IX. These areas include recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Institutions using Title IX, are prohibited from any form of retaliation, against any person who files a complaint or takes any actions, based upon alleged discrimination (OCR, 2015).

With the passing of Title IX, opportunities for women exploded in many categories. While Title IX covers many different areas, it is known for its relationship with women’s sports and sports in general. Before Title IX, there were very limited opportunities for women in sports. Women could not join men’s sports teams and there were no women’s teams or sports leagues. That situation quickly changed with the passing of Title IX. The past thirty years have seen the rapid growth of women’s sports. Women’s sports have even invaded the once male dominated, arena of combat sports. Today, women compete in mixed martial arts, Olympic sports, boxing and a long list of other sports. There are now women’s teams, leagues and individual participation in a very large number of sports ranging from alternative, individual sports to highly organized team sports. Women and girls have been allowed to play on formerly all-male teams and new teams for women have been created in sports that were previously male dominant (Appenzeller, 2011).

Title IX has been successful in many areas of women’s rights, especially in terms of sports participation. While there have been great advancements in women’s sports due to Title IX, problems have existed from its inception. With any new law that is passed, unforeseen details, omissions and errors are likely to exist. As women’s progress in sports evolved many smaller details have led to numerous litigation and court cases over a variety of related topics. Issues such as funding, facilities, equipment, administration, scholarships, training and coaching have seen the inside of many court rooms over the past thirty years. Many of these issues were simply due to the lack of women’s sports infrastructure prior to the implementation of Title IX. Many schools and institutions simply had never needed certain things because the women’s sports didn’t exist.

And there are the situations where the law, simply was not followed or complied with. Not everyone agreed with Title IX and many were very hesitant to comply with this new law. Many lawsuits corrected these situations one topic at a time. With each lawsuit, new precedence was set that contributed to the evolution of Title IX (Flanagan & Greenberg, 2012).

One of the big issues that arose after the implementation of Title IX was in regards to proportionality. Institutions and schools now had to ensure that athletic programs were proportional based upon the numbers of male and female students. This turned out to be a huge problem because the number of women in a school didn’t necessarily reflect the number of women interested in participating in the athletic programs. Schools were required to take actions based upon these numbers whether they were accurate or not. In many instances, new women’s teams were created to meet the number requirements at the cost of having to cut certain male teams and events. Some schools faced severe budget issues and potential litigation in the face of Title IX demands. Many of the men’s programs had to be cut from the budget in order to facilitate the women’s requirements. There were many more lawsuits that followed these types of actions (Sommers, 2014).

Another unintended consequence of the Title IX implementation concerned women’s health and safety. There have always been health and safety issues surrounding sports in general. Some say it goes with the territory. With the advent of numerous women’s scholarship opportunities, made readily available, the number of women who specialized in one sport, rose dramatically. With specialization in sports, the potential risk factors go way up and the likelihood of injury becomes great. This is true for both men and women. Now, with more women specializing in a sport, while seeking scholarship opportunities, injury rates climbed high. Overuse injuries are the most common, claiming over fifty percent of the reported sports injuries. Sports medicine doctors, surgeons, trainers and coaches have warned potential athletes for years, against specializing in one sport too early. But with scholarships on the line, young women choose to assume this risk in growing numbers, despite the warnings. Other health issues, that have become a growing problem for women in sports, include eating disorders, sexual abuse, ACL tears, concussions, and the female athlete triad syndrome (Flanagan & Greenberg, 2012).

Woman’s sport coaching and administration has been another area of contention. Even with the surge of women’s sports team and an increase in the number of coaching positions available, there has been a steady decline in the number of female coaches. Men dominate the coaching and administration roles in the majority of all sports teams. While the issue has been raised and is being looked into by various organizations, the numbers are still far from equitable (Sommers, 2014).

There are many topics and issues surrounding Title IX. There have been numerous lawsuits and litigation surrounding the complexities of this law. As a result, most institutions and universities now implement training programs, specifically targeted at Title IX compliance, awareness and implementation. These programs are mandatory in many places, for supervisors, employees, teachers, coaches, students and athletes. This increased education and awareness will hopefully curb the unintended negative consequences of a great law, which has done so much for women’s rights and equality.

While Title IX turned out to be far from perfect, the positive aspects and results have outweighed any of the negative problems that have arose. With increased education, oversight and awareness, Title IX should be able to evolve, and continue to ensure that women’s rights and equality remain protected, into the foreseeable future (Appenzeller, 2011).

References:

Appenzeller, H. (2011). Ethical behavior in sport. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press.

Sommers, C. (2014). Title lX: How a Good Law Went Terribly Wrong. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/2912420/titleix-anniversary/

Office for Civil Rights (OCR). (2015). Title IX and Sex Discrimination. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/tix_dis.html
Flanagan, L., & Greenberg, S. (2012). How Title IX Hurts Female Athletes. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/02/how-title-ix-hurts-female-athletes/253525/

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Performance Enhancing Drug Use in Sports

















      Performance enhancing drug (PED) use in sports is still a very controversial topic, with many valid arguments, that are both for and against its use. In today’s world of sports, winning is everything, especially at the professional levels. Many people think that PED use is a recent development. History shows that PED use has occurred long before organized sports were created. Some accounts of PED use date back to ancient Greek Olympic athletes. Athletes from all sports, have used and are using PEDs to enhance performance, to recover quicker, to relieve pain, for quality of life enhancement, and for many other reasons. Governing bodies, such as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have been established to regulate and control PED use in sports. The effectiveness of these agencies continues to be questioned. The various arguments for and against PED use is a raging debate, which will probably continue indefinitely. As long as there are competitive sports, with high stakes and stressors, there will be athletes looking for different ways to enhance their performance and ultimately, to win (Coakley, 2015).

    The ethical dilemmas surrounding PED use in sports are many. Some argue that PED use gives athletes an unfair advantage over other athletes who do not use PEDs. Because of this unfair advantage, many believe that PED use should be banned outright. Others argue that as organized sports evolved, sports nutrition has evolved alongside it.

    Many of the nutrition supplements and drugs that are common today did not exist fifty years ago or longer. Science has made great strides in analyzing the nutritional needs and requirements of modern athletes. Sports maybe generally the same as they were many years ago but a lot of variables have also changed. The demands on athletes today are far greater than they were in years past. Today, on average, athletes are bigger, stronger, faster and more powerful than the athletes of the past. The levels of performance and competition are far higher and the correlating stress levels are much greater. Sports nutrition has a higher level of importance as the demands on athletes are now so much greater than the past (Reardon & Creado, 2014).

Other ethical arguments surround the morals and values of PED use. Some say that PED use is cheating, it diminishes the accomplishments of clean athletes, it sends a negative message to youth, it creates unequal playing fields, it gives athletes unfair advantages and makes success far too easy to achieve. Counter arguments discuss the increased sports nutritional needs of today’s athletes and the remaining requirement for technical skill. Many argue that to throw, hit or catch a ball with professional level skill, it still requires thousands of hours of training and practice that PED use can never replicate. Another argument refers to athletes who use PEDs do not deserve credit for whatever they accomplish, in an enhanced state. Counter arguments discuss advances in equipment, training, technology and uniforms that also increase athlete’s performance but are not banned (Beck, 2013). Another interesting trend, noted by Beck (2013), points out that competitive swimmers now use specially designed swimsuits, developed with the assistance of NASA, which has been shown to undoubtedly increase performance. There is no requirement to use these swimsuits and they are allowed. Swimmers who do not use these swimsuits stand little chance of any equality with swimmers who do use them.

It is apparent that the ethical arguments for and against PED use are numerous and both sides have many valid points. Doping and PED use has been considered unethical since the ancient Greek Olympics. Beck (2013) points out that back then, when an athlete was found to be using PEDs, they were sold into slavery. The solution will not be a simple one. It will require some serious thought and application, to devise an answer that makes the playing fields as fair and equal as possible, in light of modern athletic demands (Coakley, 2015).

Another major argument against PED use in sports is the potential hazards and health issues. Many claim that the unregulated use of PEDs can cause all sorts of dangerous side effects and health problems for athletes. While many drugs and supplements have already been banned, many are still used today, by athletes from all sports. Each drug and supplement has its own list of risks and rewards. Some are more validated by science than others. The fall of the Berlin wall, gave the world its first look into eastern bloc, European PED use, which was highly suspect for many years. It is now known, that almost all Soviet bloc countries used government sponsored PED programs. Many Soviet and eastern European athletes suffered numerous side effects of PED use, especially with anabolic steroids. Several athletes died at an unusually early age. Science has now shown the disastrous effects of anabolic steroids and it has been banned in sports for many years now (Reardon & Creado, 2014).

Despite the known and potential health hazards of some PEDs, there are those who still argue for it to be legalized. Many people say that modern, professional sports are dangerous and full of risks anyway. Calling it a known, high risk event, somehow makes it easier for some people to want PEDs legalized. Some think that if PEDs were legalized, it would truly even the playing fields of professional sports. Sports medicine doctors could administer the drugs in a controlled setting, athletes could be monitored for health issues, the high cost of drug testing could be eliminated and the entertainment value of sporting events would be much greater. The drug testing procedures are not fool proof and many athletes learn how to slip through the cracks and avoid detection. Many other athletes are accused of PED use because of increased performance but manage to pass the drug tests. And there are still many athletes who are genetically gifted, train ridiculously hard and achieve record breaking performance, without the use of PEDs (Smith, 2012).

There are also many PEDs that are not on the banned list and are legal to use, such as caffeine and creatine. It is assumed that all modern athletes are taking some form of PEDs, whether it is banned or legal. And the simple question is, in light of advances in science and sports nutrition, if some are legal, why shouldn’t they use them? Some of the legal PEDs have been shown scientifically to be generally safe and of great value to athletes. These arguments go back and forth between those that are for and against PED use. Until a logical answer or middle ground is achieved, PED use will remain a controversial topic, for many years to come (Beck, 2013).

Who do I believe is the all-time home run leader in Major League Baseball, Bonds or Aaron? I would have to say it is not a simple answer. The fact is that regardless of PED use or not, Barry Bonds still hit 763. Did his PED use contribute to this number? I would say, of course it did. But he still had to have the technical skill to hit the ball. PEDs were banned and he knowingly broke the rules and the law, so I would have to give the title to Hank Aaron. But do we know for sure, that Hank Aaron wasn’t using some form of PED? There weren’t any formalized drug tests back in his day and there weren’t any governing agencies, with lists of banned PEDs. 

It can be said that comparing athletes from different eras, isn’t a valid comparison because of all of the changes and the evolution of modern sports. Does it even really matter? Some say it doesn’t. Others still argue that it does. There have been so many changes in sports over the years, such as baseball’s racial integration in the 1940s and the mound being lowered by five inches in 1969, that comparing athletes from different eras, doesn’t even seem logical. The one constant that has remained true throughout the centuries, is that athletes have an indomitable spirit and desire to win. They will always do whatever it takes, to try to excel and win, with PEDs or without (Smith, 2012).

References:

Coakley, J. (2015). Sports in society: Issues and controversies (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Beck, J. (2013). The Only Good Reason to Ban Steroids in Baseball: To Prevent an Arms Race. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/06/the-only-good-reason-to-ban-steroids-in-baseball-to-prevent-an-arms-race/276932/

Reardon, C., & Creado, S. (2014). Drug Abuse in Athletes. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140700/

Smith, C. (2012). Why it's Time to Legalize Steroids in Professional Sports. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2012/08/24/why-its-time-to-legalize-steroids-in-professional-sports/#16bb3ea1c0db

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer

Thursday, June 23, 2016

BioTrust 30% off SALE!!!!



























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This is a great time to save and stock up on high quality nutrition supplements.

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Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Core Stabilization Training


Hitting some core stabilization work on the stability ball, in between sets.

Simple plank on the ball right? No big deal- except that it is hard as f**k. If you haven't tried this lately, give it a shot.

If you laugh at stability balls, you never used one correctly. 

There are 1001 ways to kick your ass with this silly ball. Used correctly, it is a great asset in any gym. 

And you can get them pretty cheap these days now that nobody likes them anymore. 

Give your old stability ball some attention- your core will appreciate it.

Eric Dempsey 
MS, ISSA Master Trainer

Monday, June 20, 2016

Put down the 100 calorie snack packs


Put down the processed snack packs and have something healthy instead.

Cold fruit on a hot day hits the spot for me when the energy and blood sugar levels need a boost.

Here I have strawberries, red grapes, blueberries and apple slices.

I'll have this along with a good fat and protein source for a quick healthy meal. 

The fruits provide you with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and water. - and a dose of natural fructose. 

As long as you manage your carb & sugar intake, you can enjoy healthy foods with minimal worry about gaining fat.

The key is the management part!

Avoid the processed chemical laden foods and make healthy choices instead!

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Specialist in Fitness Nutrition 

Friday, June 10, 2016

High protein chocolate brownies


Homemade protein and fat chocolate brownies.

These came out really good.

I made the mix with BioTrust chocolate low carb protein, egg whites, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, ground flaxseed meal, filtered water and stevia.

Baked it at 350 degrees for 30 min and then put it in the fridge to cool and harden. 

Now I can have a couple brownies and some fruit and be good to go for awhile.

Give it a try.

Eric Dempsey
MS, Specialist in Fitness Nutrition 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Academic Integrity is still important



 Academic integrity is about being honest and truthful concerning all of a student’s academic affairs. It especially refers to a student completing all their assigned work and assignments by themselves, without cheating, or having someone else do their work for them. It also covers plagiarism or copying someone else’s material without properly citing or quoting the author. 

It is extremely important for a student to maintain high levels of academic integrity throughout their academic experience at a university or college. A student’s credibility is at stake and there are serious consequences that could be detrimental to the student’s academic and professional careers. The consequences of violating academic integrity range from failing a course, dismissal from a university, monetary fines and other legal penalties.

In today’s world of available technology, it is easy to copy and paste large volumes of data to complete an assignment or paper. People in today’s society yearn for things that are quick and easy. The work ethic has declined over the years and this has had an impact in the university settings. Colleges and universities have had to take measures to enforce strict academic integrity policies to deter students from being tempted to simply take credit for other people’s work (Blum, 2009).

Recent studies have found that more students violate academic integrity to some degree, than previously thought. Some think that the added academic challenge in today’s universities have made students more competitive and the need to do well is much higher. Students who struggle to pass courses have been expected to be the ones who chose a less than honest path to complete their work. Now, new information has revealed that successful students may feel compelled to violate their academic integrity, just to stay ahead (Bratek, 2012).

Most academic institutions now offer online degree programs. Academic integrity still applies in the online world. Some students think that they can get away with violations of academic integrity because of the online format. Also many classes have open book and take home exams, with a set of rules or guidelines for completion. Academic integrity policies have been created to cover these modern educational circumstances. However, even with academic integrity policies clearly in place, students still try to beat the system. Harvard University recently investigated over one hundred students, who may have violated academic integrity policies during an exam. These students, if found to be at fault, will face severe penalties, including dismissal from the university and possible legal action (Robbins, 2012).

The bottom line is that each student is responsible for his or her own work and is accountable for that work. There is no need to violate academic integrity policies of any institution. I believe that ethics, moral character and integrity need to be taught and reinforced by academic institutions. If a person cannot be an honest student, what type of professional will they be in their career field?

References:

Blum, S. (2009). Academic Integrity and Student Plagiarism: a Question of Education, Not Ethics. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Academic-IntegrityStud/32323/ 
Bratek, E. (2012). Moving From Cheating to Academic Honesty. Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/17/08bratek.h32.html 

Robbins, R. (2012). Harvard Investigates "Unprecedented" Academic Dishonesty Case. The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved from http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/8/30/academic-dishonesty-ad-board/

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer