WSJ Writes about Soccer Injuries

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about soccer injuries.  It really focuses on the different types of injuries that boys and girls get.

From the article:

More boys tend to hurt their ankles, while girls tend to hurt their knees. Studies have found that adolescent girls are four to six times more likely to tear their anterior cruciate ligament, found in the back of the knee, than boys of the same age, according to the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Scientists are not sure why, but believe estrogen makes girls’ ligaments looser, and lower levels of testosterone make it harder for girls than boys to build muscle. Also, because girls’ muscles are different sizes and proportions compared to boys, Dr. Kirkendall says girls tend to stay more erect when they land, which absorbs less shock and can cause their knees to buckle.

Another interesting thing from the article:

Girls are also more susceptible to heat illness, according to a 10-year study of participants in the Schwan’s USA Cup, the largest youth soccer tournament in the Western hemisphere. In the two years when the heat index topped 84 degrees, girls were 1.7 times more likely to suffer heat illness—exhaustion, hyperventilation or cramping—than their male counterparts. (Both years officials shortened playing time, required water breaks and allowed unlimited player substitutions.)

The article is worth reading.

The Dangers of Heat

This weekend is the annual FPYC Father’s Day All Star Soccer Tournament.  It is a great event.  But it also tends to be a hot event.  Right now, the forecast is for 90 degrees on Saturday and 92 degrees on Sunday.

With that in mind, i just wanted to post  a reminder that heat is an issue for athletes – young athletes in particular.

This from US Youth Soccer:

Here are physiological/psychological reasons placing children at risk [from heat]:
1) Children absorb more heat from a hot environment because they have a greater surface area to body-mass ratio than adults. The smaller the child, the faster they absorb heat.
2) Children and adolescents may have a reduced ability to lose heat through sweating.
3) During prolonged exercise, children and adolescents frequently do not have the physiological drive to drink enough fluids to replenish sweat losses.
4) Youth athletes may be more easily distracted when they should be resting and rehydrating.
5) Some youth athletes may be under intense pressure to make a competitive squad and may not want to report feelings of heat distress or take the appropriate amount of time to rehydrate.

You can read more about heat issues here on this blog.

Fields on Buildings Coming to Tysons…

UPDATED:  I spoke to Pete Murphy (Chairman and Springfield member of the Planning Commission) and he told me that they have inserted language about putting fields on top of buildings in three different parts of the plan.  This is a HUGE step forward for youth and adult sports in Fairfax County.

I received a note today that the final plan for the new Tysons Corner long term development plan includes language I had suggested about putting sports fields on the top of new structures.  If this is the case, it is a real step forward for Fairfax County.  This is the kind of forward thinking that we need as we look to bring more space online in the county.

You can read more about the concept here.  You can also review my prepared remarks to the planning commission here.  (It’s a PDF file.)

Hoops for Youth Foundation

I just learned about the Hoops for Youth Foundation.  It looks like they do a lot of good work for the community.

Created in 1999, Hoops For Youth Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports at-risk kids in our communities.  HYF provides the most basic tools that young people need to help them play team sports and face the many challenges of growing up in communities plagued by poverty and crime.

Their mission:

  • Provide leadership to at risk kids
  • Provide financial support to at risk kids
  • Provide mentoring to at risk kids
  • Provide educational opportunities to at risk kids
  • Empower at risk kids to become leaders
  • Provide at risk kids with a chance

We're #1! We're #1! We're #1

Parents of youth athletes often focus on winning.  Their child has to be number 1.  Their child has to be on the best team, has to have the best hook shot, or be the best pitcher.  Simply put: Their child has to be the best.

But now we know that the parents of youth athletes in the United States are themselves number 1 in the world.  I missed this the first time around, but a survey released in early April found that “those residing in the United States (60%) are the most likely to have witnessed abusive behaviour by parents at children’s sporting events followed by those in India (59%), Italy (55%), Argentina (54%), Canada (53%) and Australia (50%).”

I am sure this is not a list we want to be on the top of.  Frankly,the fact that the low scores were 16%, 24%, 25% and 26% isn’t anything to brag about.  While I give props to Hungary for their 16%, I think the Czech Republic’s 24% next lowest number is too high.  Certainly the United States’ 60% is unacceptable.

There are a number of resources out their.  I am most familiar with the Positive Coaching Alliance.  They have some ideas for parents.  We all need to make a commitment to helping change the youth sports culture that allows this kind of behavior.

Teen Center Soccer Program

Sports can have a huge positive impact on kids.  But lots of kids never get the chance to play on an organized team.

Fairfax County’s Community and Recreation Services is a great organization.  Among other things, they offer many kids a chance to play team sports that otherwise would otherwise never get a chance.  One such program is the Teen Center Soccer program.  Games are at Patriot Park on Saturday nights from 7 pm to 9 pm.

Burke Athletic Club has been supporting the program.  We’ve helped with pinnies for the kids, game balls, corner flags and that kind of stuff.  I’ve been there each evening.

This past weekend, a good friend of mine who is a professional photographer came and took pictures of the kids.  Kristina Hernandez donated her time and all of the pictures.   You can see all of them here.

See Amy Run!

This is very cool.  Amy Palmiero-Winters was a high school track star but lost her leg below the knee in a motorcycle accident in 1994.  Many people would give up.  Most would give up running.  Almost every one of them would never try and continue to compete in track.

But not Amy.

Amy won the ARR Run to the Future 24 hour race.  Yes, that’s right – she won a 24 hour long race where athletes run as far as they can.  In her case, she ran 130.04 miles in 24 hours.  Anything over 130 miles is considered “world class.”  Amy is the fifth US woman to ever break the world class barrier.  She finished almost 14 miles ahead of the first man.

Amy has now qualified for the US national team to the 2010 World 24-Hour Run Championship.  This is an event typically for able bodied athletes.

Way to go Amy!!!

Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports

The Centers for Disease Control has partnered with several youth sports groups to roll out the Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports program.  This is a program designed to help protect and educate athletes, parents and coaches.

They have a lot of resources on the site.  They have fact sheets, quizzes, posters, etc. that everyone can use.

For example, True or False: A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems.  TRUE.