Practice Under the Lights

I apologize that I haven’t written about Wednesday’s Athletic Council meeting yet.  I was waiting for the electronic version of the presentations but I am not sure when I will receive them.

My evening with the Athletic Council started with a meeting of the Practice Under the Lights Committee.

This committee started its work a while ago (long before I joined the Council).  The focus of the effort is getting the Park Authority to change Policy 402.  (Click here to see an earlier post about Policy 402)

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Mark Hyman's Until It Hurts Is Worth Reading

I just finished Mark Hyman’s Until It Hurts. It is a quick although sometimes disturbing read.  Almost 150 pages, the book takes a hard look at youth sports and the adults who often manage to screw it up.

While the whole book it worth reading, here are some interesting points:

Just 5.8 percent of high school football players, one in seventeen, will suit up for a college squad.  The odds are bleaker for men’s soccer (5.7 percent), baseball (5.6%), women’s basketball (3.1 percent) and men’s basketball (2.9percent).

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Policy 402 – Little Known Policy Has Major Impact

Policy 402 is one of those things that has a huge impact on athletic organizations and most people don’t know anything about it.  Here’s a copy you can view:  Policy 402

I first learned about Policy 402 when I objected to the fact that football teams could practice on grass fields under the lights and no other sports could.  This seemed very unfair to me.  So when I asked about the reasons that football teams were given this privilege, I was referred to Policy 402.

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Comprehensive Study on Benefits of Sports for Girls

The Women’s Sports Foundation published there report Her Life Depends on It II in December, 2009.  It is a great resource.  This from the Executive Summary:

The research compiled in our updated report strongly suggests that sport and physical activity provide conditions that help to ensure girls’ health and well-being. Some findings identified in this report relate to:

Breast Cancer Risk:  Based on the findings from 23 studies examining the effect of moderate and vigorous physical activity during adolescence on cancer risk, those who had the highest physical activity during adolescence and young adulthood were 20% less likely to get breast cancer later in life (Lagerros et al., 2004).

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Study on Sport and Teen Pregnany

The 1998 study Sport and Teen Pregnancy from the Women’s Sports Foundation found that girls who participated in sports experienced a number of benefits.  Among them:

1. Female Athletes Were Less Likely to Get Pregnant
Female athletes in the nationwide survey were less than half as likely to get pregnant as female non-athletes (5% and 11%, respectively). Moreover, significantly reduced rates of pregnancy were found for the subsamples of African-American, Caucasian, and Latina/Hispanic female athletes.
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NYT: Sports Pay Dividends for Girls

The New York Times published this story on February 15, 2010, about the life long benefits of sports, especially team sports, to girls.

From the story:

Now, separate studies from two economists offer some answers, providing the strongest evidence yet that team sports can result in lifelong improvements to educational, work and health prospects.

As Girls Become Women, Sports Pay Dividends

By TARA PARKER-POPE

Stuart Bradford

Almost four decades after the federal education law called Title IX opened the door for girls to participate in high school and college athletics, a crucial question has remained unanswered: Do sports make a long-term difference in a woman’s life?

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Great Story: 'Dumb Jock' Just a Myth

This is a great story from Reuters:

‘Dumb Jock’ Just a Myth: Physically Fit Students Do Better Academically

Friday , February 26, 2010

NEW YORK —

Getting students to exercise more might not just address obesity issues but also improve their grades with a U.S. study finding physically fit students tend to score higher in tests than their less fit peers.

Test scores dropped more than one point for each extra minute it took middle and high school students to complete a one mile run/walk fitness test, according to Dr. William J. McCarthy and colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Schools and parents seeking to optimize their students’ academic performance should take heed, McCarthy noted in an email to Reuters Health.

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New Study Finds Limited Risk in Youth Soccer

An article in the February, 2010 issue of Pediatrics (the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) has reach some important conclusions about youth soccer.  Among them, there is no evidence that heading the ball leads to concussions.  You can read the whole report here: Injuries in Youth Soccer

First, soccer can provide a valuable component of fitness and physical activity strategies for young people.

Second, knee-injury risk-reduction programs seem promising, particularly for adolescent and collegiate female players. Research-validated programs are easily accessible at no cost on referenced Web sites.

Third, to reduce soccer-related fatalities, goalposts should be secured in a manner consistent with guidelines developed by the manufacturers and the CPSC.

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What a Cool Program!

Homelessness is a problem in the United States that a lot of people don’t want to talk about or deal with.  One of the groups that has stepped up to help homeless adults and teenagers is Street Soccer USA.

This organization is dedicated helping the homeless through sports.  Here’s what they say:

“We take the best from the world of sports and we combine in with the best of social services and we get amazing results. 75% of the homeless teens and adults we work with connect to jobs, education, and housing within a year of joining our programs.”

This is an awesome idea.  Watch this video and get involved!