Participation in high school athletics carries an intrinsic risk of injury, but that doesn’t mean that certain types of injuries can’t be decreased. There has been a proliferation of injury prevention programs and their ability to improve performance and decrease risk of sustaining certain injuries (especially ACL injuries and ankle sprains). While this information is readily available there has been some hesitancy to adopt these and similar programs.
In a survey conducted in Oregon on high school soccer and basketball coaches, many of the coaches were aware that programs existed, but they were not adopting those programs for their own teams (1). Some of the reasons included the belief that what they currently did was similar to the program, that their program was superior to the researched program or that they were not aware of how much actual sport performance gains occurred as a result of these programs. Those concerns have validity and merit further discussion.
Many injury programs have similar features that are easy to adopt and implement such as squatting, jumping, cutting and using a balance apparatus. The key with any of these exercises is to focus on form and ensure that they athletes are appropriately performing the required the task and not going through the motions. Some of the programs are definitely more involved and time consuming than others and may cut into the limited time available for training. However, before changing or eliminating exercises, it is important to understand the mechanics and rationale behind those exercises and why they were included in the first place. Arbitrarily eliminating exercises can invalidate the program resulting in a failure to achieve the intended prevention outcomes.
A relatively new option for reducing injury risk, improving fitness and performance is to adopt a training program in Physical Education classes (2). This exercise vehicle may be a great way to teach fundamental movement skills to adolescents that carry on to their chosen sport. In a study out of Canada, researchers compared a typical PE class with a specific training PE class geared toward the improvement in movement and reduction in injury and had significantly fewer injuries than the control group. The exercises regimen that they chose was similar to the FIFA 11+ and included squats, jumps, lunges, planks and running drills. The inclusion of this, or a similar program, in middle and high school may help to decrease on field injury rates during athletic participation.
The potential for injury will always be a part of athletics, but accepting that there is nothing to do about it is not accurate. At this point there are many options to keep players healthy and participating safely. Knowing the common injuries in your chosen sport and available resources are essential to successful participation in athletic endeavors.
1. Norcross, M.F., et. al. (2016). Factors influencing high school coaches’ adoption of injury prevention programs. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 19: 299-304.
2. Richmond, S.A., et. al. (2016). A school based injury prevention program to reduce sport injury risk and improve healthy outcomes in youth: A pilot cluster randomized controlled trial. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 26(4): 291-298.
As research continues to improve and advance, it is important to stay abreast of current trends. One of those trends is the development of yoga as a therapeutic intervention. While yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, its popularity for fitness has increased worldwide. In conjunction with this increase in practice comes an increase of research evaluating the therapeutic effectiveness of yoga on different diseases and populations.
There have been some recent literature reviews that evaluate the state of the current research and can help practitioners gain an understanding of alternative and complementary forms of treatments. Yoga has been routinely associated with breathing, movement and mindfulness that can improve stress levels. Indeed, one of the benefits of yoga is the ability to decrease stress. This reduction in stress has additional health benefits including the regulation of breathing, decreasing hypertension and potential to modulate PTSD, anxiety and depression. It has also been shown to be an adjunctive therapy for asthma.
The focus of the breath with yoga helps to regulate breathing and improve lunge capacity. Recently, a study looked to see if this improvement in breathing ability transferred to actual physical performance. A small sample of matched female participants were measured for cycling performance before, during and after being in a yoga group or a control. The practice group showed improvements in lung regulation and capacity at rest, but no improvement in cycling performance or VO2 max. So, while yoga may help with regulating breathing, it is still important to undergo training modalities to achieve physiological adaptation.
Another common reason to perform yoga is to improve balance and flexibility and both of these outcomes are achieved with routine practice of yoga. Athletes have even seen improvements in these areas compared to those that did not practice yoga. Unfortunately, no study has evaluated the on field transfer, prevention or rehabilitation potential of yoga on injury risk and performance measures. It still remains to be seen if yoga is a viable standalone prevention or rehab strategy.
An area of rehabilitation that does show promise is chronic low back pain. One of the main reasons for participants to choose yoga relates to low back pain (20%). Yoga practice has demonstrated effectiveness in decreasing the pain and dysfunction associated with chronic low back pain. Yoga also improves the symptoms and function of those suffering from knee arthritis. Yoga can help to decrease the pain, swelling and stiffness associated with OA.
While the use of yoga is showing promise as a therapy, there are definite opportunities to learn more and it is important to note a few things regarding its effectiveness as a therapeutic modality; the overall number of different yoga styles and instructors makes it very difficult to standardize yoga therapies, and thus, hard to compare outcomes to traditional therapies. The differences of the styles, instructor, location, class level and overall vigor of practice all have an effect on how a client will respond to the intervention. As studies regarding yoga become more robust we can make better recommendations to athletes and clients regarding its use, but currently our knowledge is limited to a few areas.
Beutler, E., et. al. (2016). Effect of regular yoga practice on respiratory regulation and exercise performance. Plos One, 11(4).
Chang, D., et. al. (2016). Yoga as a treatment for chronic low back pain: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Orthopedic Rheumatology, 3(1), 1-8.
Field, T. (2016). Yoga research review. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 24, 145-161.
Jeter, P., et. al. (2015). Yoga as a therapeutic intervention: A bibliometric analysis of published research studies from 1967-2013. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(10): 586-592.
Park, C., Braun, T., & Siegel, T. (2015). Who practices yoga? A systematic review of demographic, health related and psychosocial factors related to yoga practice. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 460-471.
Woodyard, C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International Journal of Yoga, 4(2), 49-54.
Even though sports continue to be an important part of high school life, school budgets continue to suffer. Participation in athletics contributes to the development of important real-world skills including self-confidence and self-esteem, dedication, time management, fitness and even improved performance in school. As schools try to balance the budget with the global needs of the school district, it is easy to pull finances from the athletics department. In order to maintain programs and participation, it may be time for high schools to look at alternative methods of generating revenue, including sponsorships.
Sponsorship of events is a common marketing strategy for many institutions of higher learning, community based programs and professional sports. The same concepts that garner support and revenue for those programs can be done at the high school level. Recent research out of Indiana can help programs identify and cultivate potential sponsors.
At the high school level, sponsorship of athletics occurs across all domains: large and small schools, urban and rural communities and by local and non-local businesses. There are many varieties for potential sponsorships, as well. Possibilities include banners on the walls, scoreboard and press area, along with logos and ads in the programs, ticket stubs, concession stand and venue identification. While these offer a variety of opportunity, they are not exhaustive.
The type, and amount, of sponsorships may vary, but what they all have in common is the desire to partner with the schools. Local businesses are interested in forming partnerships to generate community good will, while larger businesses are looking to attract new business. For both cases, the school is the winner. The school has a readily available gold mine for potential sponsorship at its fingers that it can use to create relationships with the businesses in the community and the broader geographic area. The two industries with the highest level of total sponsorship are professional organizations (physician practices, insurance companies, hospitals, lawyers, etc) and food and beverage companies (restaurants, fast food, beverage distributers, etc). Other businesses are also interested in available sponsorship opportunities, so school administrators are encouraged to reach out to many different businesses to gauge their interest.
At higher levels of sponsorship, the most prominent forms are facility and field naming rights. Not every school is willing to enter into naming rights deals with their community, but other options exist including game sponsorships, field sponsorships, tournament sponsorship and department sponsorships.
As school budgets continue to struggle and athletics budgets are continuously analyzed under a microscope, there is hope that additional funding is available if a school makes a priority of developing additional revenue streams. The identification of businesses willing to sponsor the school provides additional funding to the athletics programs and enhanced good will and business visibility in a win-win relationship.
Pierce, D. and Petersen, J. (2011). Corporate sponsorship activation analysis in interscholastic athletics. Journal of Sponsorship 4(3), 272-286.
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*This site is for educational purposes only, it is not meant to diagnose, treat or replace medical advice. Before starting an exercise program always make sure that you are healthy and able to do so safely.*