4 hot topics presented at the NATA Convention


June 26, 2019

Presentations are being made in virtually every area of operations related to athletic training during this week's NATA Convention in Las Vegas.  Some topics don't receive the attention they deserve. Here's a look at four hot topics that were presented during the convention that you may not have heard about.

1. Children in low-income communities tend to be less physically competent.

Children in low-resourced communities demonstrate lower competency in fundamental movement skills, which is a component of physical literacy (competency, confidence and desire to be active) than those in high-resourced communities, according to a study of 245 students ages 5 to 14. Low-resourced communities are those whose schools provide free or reduced lunch to mGirl middle-school athletes more likely to suffer ankle injuries than boys Ankle injuries are more common among middle school girls than boys – as is the case in high school – according to a study of 4,081 middle school athletes.

youth athletes soccerResearchers identified 256 ankle injuries over two years, with the highest rates occurring in girls track and field, girls soccer and girls basketball. In sexcomparable sports, rates of girls’ injuries were nearly twice as high as boys’: 2.69 injuries per 1,000 exposures (one exposure equals one game or practice) for girls vs. 1.18 per 1,000 exposures for boys. The most common ankle injuries were sprains, swelling and soreness. The researchers note middle school athletes should work with athletic trainers on sport- and sex-specific injury prevention.

Abstract: 19F08FOIN The Epidemiology of Ankle Injuries in Middle School Sports, 2015/16-2016/17 Academic Yearsore than half of students. Using the PLAYfun assessment tool with a scale of 0 (not competent) to 100 (proficient), the researchers determined students from low-resourced communities overall scored about 10 points lower in locomotor skills (such as skipping), about 12 points lower in balance (such as walking heel-to-toe) and about 20 points lower for lower-body object control (such as kicking a soccer ball), which may increase their risk of being injured compared to those from high-resourced communities. The researchers say the lower competency might be due to fewer opportunities for skill development and note athletic trainers can provide interventions for these communities.

Abstract: 19203MOBI A Comparison of Physical Literacy and Landing Strategies Between Low-Resourced and High-Resourced Communities

Lindsay DiStefano, PhD, ATC, University of Connecticut, Storrs 

2. Girl middle-school athletes more likely to suffer ankle injuries than boys.

Ankle injuries are more common among middle school girls than boys – as is the case in high school – according to a study of 4,081 middle school athletes. Researchers identified 256 ankle injuries over two years, with the highest rates occurring in girls track and field, girls soccer and girls basketball. In sexcomparable sports, rates of girls’ injuries were nearly twice as high as boys’: 2.69 injuries per 1,000 exposures (one exposure equals one game or practice) for girls vs. 1.18 per 1,000 exposures for boys. The most common ankle injuries were sprains, swelling and soreness. The researchers note middle school athletes should work with athletic trainers on sport- and sex-specific injury prevention.

Abstract: 19F08FOIN The Epidemiology of Ankle Injuries in Middle School Sports, 2015/16-2016/17 Academic Years

Shane V. Caswell PhD, ATC, George Mason University, Manassas VA

3. High school athletes have more vision problems after concussion.

High school athletes may suffer more vision problems than college athletes after a concussion, leading to greater increases in symptoms, according to one of the first studies to look at vision tasks during the early stages of recovery from concussion. In the study of 73 athletes (27 high school and 46 college), researchers found two differences when testing athletes within 72 hours of their suffering a concussion: • High school athletes had worse outcomes than college athletes on near point convergence (NPC), which tests the ability of the eyes to move in unison with each other to focus on something near (e.g. reading, looking at a cell phone): increased symptom rate of 2.19 for high school athletes vs. .82 for collegiate athletes. • They also fared worse on vestibular ocular reflex (VOR), which tests the ability to move the eyes in the opposite direction of the head to maintain focus (e.g. reading while moving the head): increased symptom rate of 2.96 for high school athletes vs. 1.5 for collegiate athletes. While concussions are dangerous for everyone, parents, coaches and teachers need to be aware that certain activities are more likely to increase symptoms in younger athletes. For example, they may find it more difficult to navigate the hallway at school during busy passing periods, or to focus on reading a book or looking at a cell phone.

Abstract: 19S57DOSP Age-related vestibular and ocular motor symptom outcomes following sport-related concussion

4. Young athletes who specialize in one sport much more likely to be injured.

An analysis of five studies of about 5,000 young athletes (7-18) found that those who focus on one sport and play it more than eight months of the year were 80% more likely to be injured than those who are less specialized, such as by playing several sports. The researchers also determined female athletes were more likely to specialize in a sport than males. They note the injuries aren’t only detrimental physically, but often may have social and psychological ramifications for athletes. Athletic trainers can work with parents to help them understand the potential benefits of their child playing multiple sports.

Abstract: 19400UOIN Early sport specialization is associated with increased chance of injury

Jennifer Medina McKeon, PhD, ATC, CSCS, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

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