May 18, 2018
By Beth Hiller
Beth Miller, MS, RD, is Director of Sports Nutrition for UCLA athletics.

When it comes to sports nutrition here at UCLA, we are constantly experimenting with strategies to get through to athletes. Some approaches work better than others, and we are always on the lookout for new ideas.

One strategy we recently implemented was using a nutrition app, which we call "Fueling Bruins." The app offers many resources for athletes, one being quick and healthy recipes. 

I have received great feedback on the Individual Baked Oatmeal Cups recipe in the “Dining In” section of the UCLA Fueling Bruins app. The cups provide a delicious on-the-go breakfast or snack for athletes who live in apartments. They are easy to prepare and store well.

Here’s how to make them:

Individual Baked Oatmeal Cups

Yield: 6


• 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats

• ½ teaspoon cinnamon

• A pinch of salt

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 2 tablespoons chia seeds

• ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or chopped nuts

• 1 cup raisins or other dried fruits

• 1 large egg

• 2 tablespoons of nut butter

• ¾ cup milk


• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease six muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners.

• Combine the oats, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and nut butter until smooth, and then slowly mix in the milk. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir well.

• Divide the oatmeal mixture among the muffin cups, filling each one up to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until slightly risen and dry on top. Run a knife around each muffin and turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

• Muffins can be kept in an airtight container on the counter for up to five days. Any extra muffins can be frozen. To defrost, leave muffins out overnight at room temperature.


May 18, 2018

Like their counterparts at other schools across the country, Simpson College football players begin a rigorous offseason training regimen each January. Unlike most of their peers, however, they are met with an unusual protocol—50-rep sets.

Pete Traynor, CSCS, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and Assistant Football Coach at Simpson, borrowed the idea from one of his college strength coaches. For the past two years, it’s been the centerpiece for the first three weeks of the team’s winter strength workouts.

Traynor says the benefits of the 50-rep sets are twofold—they confuse the body and aid in recovery. “During the rest of the year, we use the typical three-, five-, or eight-rep sets, and the body gets used to them,” he explains. “The 50-rep sets are kind of like hitting reset on a computer. The body learns to recover differently, which seems to help the athletes recover more quickly down the road.”

The exercises used for the 50-rep sets are squats, bench presses, and dead lifts. Loads for the squat are set at 45 percent of athletes’ three-rep max for the first week, moving up to 50 percent the second week and 55 percent for the third. The loads for the bench press and dead lift are set a little lower, starting at 40 percent of three-rep max and increasing to 45, then 50.

To complete the 50-rep sets, players are split into groups of three or four to a rack. The athlete completing the lift is allowed as much time as he needs to get to 50 reps and can take unlimited breaks of up to 60 seconds. The caveat is he must maintain contact with the bar at all times, even when resting. The other players at the rack spot him.

Some athletes pound out as many reps as they can in a row and take a breather only when they can’t go any longer. Others take a more strategic approach, pacing themselves by doing a predetermined number of reps before taking a short rest, even if they could easily continue on.

“I leave it up to each guy to do it the way he wants,” Traynor says. “They know the weight, and they know they have to do 50 reps—the rest is up to them.”

The team lifts four days a week during this initial part of winter offseason training. The first three days feature a 50-rep set that rotates through the squat, bench press, and dead lift. On the fourth day, the squad switches to full-body lifts, posterior chain work, core exercises, or auxiliary training using more traditional sets of three to eight reps each.

To ensure athletes maintain proper form during the marathon sets, Traynor enlists the help of assistant strength coaches, as well as the players themselves. “In addition to myself, we have a second certified strength coach and six undergraduate assistants checking the players’ form. Anytime someone is compromising his technique or not doing a lift correctly, he has to stop,” Traynor says. “We also teach our athletes to hold each other accountable. If a spotter tells someone he’s not going deep enough in his squats or he has to rack the bar for safety reasons, he knows that what the spotter says, goes.”

The training is a team effort in other ways, too. “Anytime you go through something challenging as a group, it helps build bonds between the players,” Traynor says. “They push each other and cheer on their teammates during the 50-rep sets, so it’s a shared experience that brings them closer together.

“The players love to hate the 50-set reps because they can’t stand doing them,” he continues. “But later in the season, they’ll tell each other, ‘Look, things may be hard now, but it’s not as hard as doing 50 squats. If we can get through that, we can get through anything.’”

May 18, 2018
By Dr. David Hoch
David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach. In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association’s Athletic Director of the Year. Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country. He welcomes comments and questions and can be reached at:

As a high school coach, your number one objective is the growth and development of young people. You want players to learn values, and one you probably stress the most is teamwork. But how are you doing when it comes to your own teamwork?

Regardless of which sport you coach, there are several other teams in your school’s athletic program. It is important that the coaches of all these teams work with each other for the benefit of the student-athletes and the athletic program. Are you a good teammate with the other coaches in your school?

It is normal for coaches to be engrossed in teaching and guiding their own team. You need good focus and a singular approach. It is important, however, to look around and realize that there are other sports as well in your school’s athletic program, and they are equally important to their coaches, athletes, parents, and the community. While you should be an advocate for your sport and believe that it is important, you are only one of many.

What if your sport is one that generates revenue through its gate receipts or gets the majority of the space on the local sports page? These two factors do not make your sports more important than any other. Good athletic administrators understand this and treat all sports in the program fairly based on this premise, and it is important that coaches respect and support each other too, regardless of their sport.

Review the following ideas and see whether you are operating as a team player. Coaches who see themselves as part of their athletic department team do the following:

Share resources. Do you work to make sure every program has access to practice areas, equipment, and especially athletes? There is no such thing as “my field” or “my athletes.” The correct possessive pronoun is always “our” within an athletic program.

Assist when possible. Coaches who are good at teamwork reach out and try to help other coaches. This can be as simple as answering a question or sharing ideas. While skills may be different, most sports share some universal aspects and your insight may be helpful to another coach. If you make a regular practice of helping other coaches, you might even be considered a mentor. Mentors within an athletic department are a valuable asset.

Show up. Do you attend games and events for other sports when possible? Obviously, this may be easier in your off-season. Your attendance will not go unnoticed and will be appreciated, even if you can’t stay for the entire contest. As a side benefit, athletes and coaches may return the effort and stop by your games. This simple act can create a better appreciation of other coaches and their teams.

Problem solve carefully. When a difficulty arises between coaches, team players sit down, calmly discuss the issue, and look for reasonable solutions. It is important to remember that you are colleagues and you both have a common goal of doing what is best for young people. If you listen to the other coach’s point of view and maintain an open mind, an equitable outcome can usually be attained.

Show public support. Always speak positively about fellow coaches when talking with parents, players, and the community. If you disagree with another coach’s philosophy or actions, do so in private. Outwardly criticizing another coach within your athletic program is never acceptable and does not create good working relationship.

Do your part. Team-oriented coaches take an active part in all department activities and initiatives. This would include, for example, orientation programs at middle schools, fund raising efforts, and community service projects.






May 18, 2018

Social media use is prevalent and even may be considered part of your job. But it can lead to problems if coaches are not careful.

In his article on, Bryan Mann, PhD, CSCS, Professor and Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Missouri, relays advice about avoiding common pitfalls with social media. In general, ill-thought posts fall into three categories that avoid responsibility.

First, many social media users fall into the trap of posting about how another person is “an idiot.” Along with the potential lost contacts and allies is that information is often taken out of context in this scenario, due to what will likely be a short-lived time in the spotlight.

“Maybe it’s true that you have some insight into an area that they didn’t or don’t have,” Mann writes. “Maybe you are completely mistaken about what they tried to say in 140 characters. Maybe you are taking a tweet that someone else is quoting them on completely out of context. How many times have we seen someone come along and do this only to disappear shortly after? They often made a grandstanding gesture to get their 15 minutes of fame and then were never heard of again. If you’re trying to be famous for 15 minutes, go for it. You’ll be a twitter sensation for a short time and then never heard of again.”

Similarly, it can be easy to criticize your boss and decisions he or she makes. Often, we don’t know what influenced that decision—whether it’s past experience or other factors. Either way, venting about a boss on social media is rarely a good idea.

“Your boss has friends and contacts on social media even if he isn’t on it,” Mann writes. “If your boss’s friends see what you wrote after you went around bragging about how you’re working at their school and now you’re whining about them, do you think your boss’s friends might not send them a screenshot of what you said? Or is it possible that the other staff members might see it and pass it on? While this sounds stupid, I can tell you it has happened many times.”

The third trap that many athletic trainers and coaches may fall into is complaining about their student athletes. This is especially problematic when it is framed as them being the problem, rather than you as their coach.

“If you say something like this about your athletes, then guess what? They will quit on you. I don’t blame them at all for this. This is human nature, and you as a coach failed them. If you did do this, there is only one solution: own up to it, apologize, and try to make things right between you and them. As much as I love exercise science, we have to remember that coaching is a human endeavor. If the athletes don’t trust you, they won’t work for you. If you have violated that trust, it is hard to get back. I don’t envy your situation,” Mann writes.

Along with paying attention to what you say on social media, you may benefit by asking others to read your posts before they are published. This allows you to get unemotional feedback from colleagues as well as time for you to go back and re-read what you have written.

“Social media can be a very powerful tool to enhance your learning and your network, but you have to use it with some responsibility,” Mann writes. “I could go on and on, but something that just popped into my head was the one rule for our track team under Dr. Rick McGuire: always do the right thing. This entire article and rant could simply boil down to this. Always do the right thing. If you are doubting if you should do something or questioning how it might be perceived, don’t do it.”

Head to Head

May 18, 2018

A study from researchers at Indiana University in the journal NeuroImage: Clinical has found differences in the brains of athletes who participate in contact sports compared to those who participate in noncontact sports.

The differences were observed as both groups were given a simple visual task. The results could suggest that a history of minor but repeated blows to the head can result in compensatory changes to the brain as it relates to eye movement function. Or it could show how the hundreds of hours that contact sport players spend on eye-hand coordination skills leads to a reorganization of the brain in the areas dedicated to eye movements.

While more research is needed, senior author Nicholas Port said the findings contribute important information to research on subconcussive blows -- or "microconcussions" -- that are common in sports such as football, soccer, ice hockey, snowboarding and skiing. Interest in subconcussions has grown significantly in recent years as the long- and short-term risks of concussions -- or mild traumatic brain injury -- have become more widely known and understood.

"The verdict is still out on the seriousness of subconcussions, but we've got to learn more since we're seeing a real difference between people who participate in sports with higher risk for these impacts," said Port, an associate professor in the IU School of Optometry. "It's imperative to learn whether these impacts have an actual effect on cognitive function -- as well as how much exposure is too much."

To conduct the study, Port and researchers in the IU Bloomington Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences scanned the brains of 21 football players and 19 cross-country runners using fMRI technology.

The researchers focused on these sports because football is a physical game in which small but repeated blows to the head are common, whereas cross-country is extremely low risk for such impacts. The contact sport players did not have a history of concussion, but these sports are known to lead to repeat subconcussive blows.

The researchers also scanned the brains of 11 non-college-level athletes from socioeconomic backgrounds similar to the football players to ensure their scan results were not rooted in factors unrelated to their sport.

The differences in football players' versus cross-country runners' brains were specifically seen in regions of the brain responsible for visual processing. These regions were much more active in football players versus cross-country runners or volunteers who did not play college sports.

"We focused on these brain regions because physicians and trainers regularly encounter large deficits in players' ability to smoothly track a moving point with their eyes after suffering an acute concussion," Port said.

Although there were clear differences between the brains of the football players and the cross-country runners, Port said interpretation of the study's results is challenging.

"Everyone from musicians to taxi drivers has differences in brain activity related to their specific skills," he said. "The differences in this study may reflect a lifetime exposure of subconcussive blows to the head, or they could simply be the result of playing a visually demanding sport where you're constantly using your hands and tracking the ball."

The ideal way to find the root cause of these differences would be a similar analysis using only football players, he said. The next generation of wearable accelerometers to measure physical impact during play will greatly enhance researchers' ability to confidently sort players of the same sport into groups based on exposure to subconcussions.

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May 17, 2018
By Eric Laudano

Eric Laudano, MHS, ATC, has been the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Health, Sports Performance, and Campus Recreation at the University of Delaware since October 2016. In this role, he oversees athletic training, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, sports psychology, equipment operations, and campus recreation. Previously, Laudano spent eight years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as Head Athletic Trainer and Associate Director of Athletics for Sports Performance before adding the role of Chief Health and Wellness Officer. He can be reached at:

Inspiring greatness together.

Not only is this the mission statement of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services at the University of Delaware, but it is also what fuels the collaborative relationship between our varsity athletics and campus recreation departments.

Unlike many schools that categorize recreation within the Division of Student Life, we place it under the same umbrella as athletics. This dynamic elicits myriad benefits—from sharing facilities to increasing efficiencies to promoting communication among area experts—but the main draw harkens back to our mission statement: We want to bring people together. Because recreation services operates as the hub of campus wellness, our model truly offers something for everyone and creates a broader presence for athletics on campus. Instead of solely impacting our 600 varsity student-athletes, we can reach the entire campus community—students, staff, and faculty.

In recent years, our partnership between athletics and recreation has grown even stronger and more influential as we’ve continued to refine our approach. This has required a defined organizational structure, a willingness to share resources, and open communication.


The success of our partnership starts with how we structure our senior leadership positions. We have created strategic overlap in these roles to allow for efficiency of operations and alignment of health and wellness goals between the two groups.

There’s an athletic training room in our recreation center, and it is staffed by a certified graduate assistant athletic trainer from the athletics department ... Having this sports medicine facility in our recreation center provides a high level of service for our club sport athletes and creates a peer-to-peer interactive environment.

At the forefront of the model is Delaware’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services, Chrissi Rawak. She values the overall experience of our student body, faculty, and staff, and she understands the integral role recreation plays within the campus community. Her work with the department to establish our mission has been unwavering, and recreation has been an equal partner in all of her efforts.

My job consists of senior-level oversight of recreation services, athletic training, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, sports psychology, and equipment operations. The position entails leading each area; providing my direct reports and their departments with personal and professional growth opportunities; listening to area heads to offer feedback and support their needs; ensuring policy and procedures are developed, reviewed, and communicated appropriately; budget oversight; and hiring of personnel.

For recreation services specifically, I am responsible for the overall operations of programming, personnel, and facility operations. I spend two days per week within recreation services meeting with personnel, walking the facilities, interacting with student participants, and participating in staff meetings.

In addition, I meet multiple times per week with Karen Freed, our Associate Athletic Director/Director of Recreation Services. She is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the department and personnel, with a direct reporting line to me. At times, our meetings will include other members of the recreation staff in order to brainstorm, educate each other, and make decisions as a group.

Another departmental senior leadership position that has overlap with recreation is our Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities and Operations. This role directly supervises facilities and operations within athletics, as well as the ice rinks and outdoor aquatics center. Although direct oversight of recreation services does not fit within this portfolio per se, there is a dotted line on our organizational chart between this position and the facility personnel within our recreation center to create operational efficiencies between both groups.

Beyond our leadership team, the rest of our model entails a recreation staff of 16 that works closely with the athletics department. They are involved in all department-wide meetings, personnel hiring processes, facility and event operations, and campus collaborative working groups.

This organizational structure allows for alignment and consistency across all operations during events. When an athletic contest occurs, recreation is part of it. For instance, during home football games, recreation facility personnel assist our athletics facility staff.

Likewise, athletics personnel help with event logistics during large events at the recreation center, such as welcome-back gatherings, blood drives, and other campus programming. Our Homecoming 5K race is a great example of this collaboration. Delaware’s Employee Health and Well-being Department partners with recreation services to plan, market, and staff the event, as well as collaborate on pre- and post-race activities. The race takes place within our athletic facility footprint, ending with participants running through the tunnel onto our football field at Delaware Stadium. From race planning to event setup to breakdown and debriefing afterward, both recreation and athletics engage in the effort to ensure the 5K is a success.


To keep our partnership running smoothly, we must share resources and ensure collaboration between our staffs. This applies to facilities and services offered to both our athletics and recreation populations.

When it comes to facility use, we have developed a phenomenal working relationship between our departments. When one group requests a space, the two parties work together and consult a master calendar to see if it’s available. If both groups request the same space for the same time, our staffs take into account event size, type of event, and number of attendees and then look for ways to best accommodate both sides.

In day-to-day practice, this means that many of our intramural and club sports contests take place on our varsity fields and courts. For example, our intramural flag football championship games are hosted at Delaware Stadium. We feel it is important to offer these sites to our recreation students because we want to provide unique experiences for them.

On the flip side, varsity sport competitions and practices occasionally occur within our recreation center. In particular, varsity volleyball matches take place in one of our recreation gymnasiums a few times a year. Because the rec space serves as one of the hubs on campus, this allows us to bring our contests to a centralized location, ensuring integration among the student body, varsity athletes, staff, and faculty.

Our sharing of facilities also extends to strength and conditioning. During slow periods in the recreation calendar and over the summer, our varsity strength and conditioning coaches coordinate with our recreation facility personnel to schedule time for varsity teams to train in the campus fitness center. This building has multiple levels and several equipment areas that enable a team to work out without compromising the experience, space, and needs of our recreation members.

Similarly, our club sport athletes have access to our varsity weightrooms. However, they must do so under the supervision of their dedicated strength and conditioning coaches.

The shared use of these weightrooms provides increased visibility for both varsity and recreation athletes and allows them to use different workout tools. In addition, it brings together members of the student body that might not normally interact.

Beyond facilities, athletics and recreation share other services, too. Our recreation department provides wellness and performance opportunities—such as yoga, spin classes, and kickboxing—to our varsity sport teams to supplement their workouts. When scheduling these offerings, the recreation fitness staff coordinates with either the varsity sport coaches or strength and conditioning coaches. The athletes benefit by participating in workouts related to recovery, regeneration, energy system activation, and team bonding. Meanwhile, the fitness instructors develop relationships with varsity coaches and student-athletes.

There’s also collaboration when it comes to providing athletic training services to both varsity and club athletes. There’s an athletic training room in our recreation center, and it is staffed by a certified graduate assistant athletic trainer from the athletics department. The facility is open daily for the needs of club sport athletes. In addition, we provide an athletic trainer at the high-risk club sport games and tournaments. Having this sports medicine facility in our recreation center provides a high level of service for our club sport athletes and creates a peer-to-peer interactive environment.


The numerous benefits we’ve seen from combining athletics and recreation services would not have been possible without a few factors. First and foremost, we’ve had tremendous support from our administration.

Another key has been open communication. Proactive communication in event planning, event logistics, and setting department goals is necessary. We encourage the free sharing of ideas and information, and no thought is considered too out of the box.

To ensure athletics and recreation stay on the same page, we hold department-wide meetings once per month that include both groups of personnel. In addition, I try to bring all parties together to meet in person whenever there is a topic that has a cross-department impact. There is no harm in getting everyone’s views and expertise when making decisions. Face-to-face communication among staff helps develop stronger working relationships.

Finally, this collaboration would not have been successful without aligning our vision across all personnel. Besides involving everyone in department meetings, we include athletics and recreation on the same department announcement e-mails, recognize personnel for the work they do, incorporate administrative policies and procedures across both departments, and ensure everyone gets consistent messages from leadership.

For other schools looking to embark on a similar partnership between athletics and campus recreation, I have three pieces of advice. First, take your customers’ feedback into consideration. Surveying and speaking with students, faculty, and staff may provide insight that can affect positive change.

For example, each year, we survey and speak to our customers about their overall experience, look at what programming went well, and evaluate areas for improvement. Feedback is very important because we want to know how both recreation and athletics can engage more in the campus community.

Next, build relationships with campus partners. We are fortunate to have support from numerous departments at Delaware, such as our Division of Student Life. They partner with us on event advertising, space usage, programming, and co-sponsored activities, and we support their initiatives whenever possible.

For instance, within our recreation building, we dedicate space for Student Life’s “Healthy Hens” program, which falls under Student Health Services. This initiative conducts health screens for interested individuals. We give the program an office in the recreation center to conduct their screenings, and, in turn, Healthy Hens refers participants to recreation to help them meet their health goals.

Lastly, make the effort to learn how you can influence the greater good of your campus community to create exceptional experiences for students, athletes, staff, and faculty. The model you come up with might not be the same as ours, but by considering an integrated approach, you are sure to find what works best for you.

This article appeared in the April 2018 issue of Training & Conditioning.

May 17, 2018
By Susan Kundrat

Susan Kundrat, MS, RD, CSSD, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and the Nutritional Sciences Program Director at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She's also the co-founder of RK Team Nutrition.

Optimal hydration is the nutrition cornerstone for enhancing training and maximizing performance. As an athlete builds a “nutrition toolbox,” fluids should be the main tool, while pre-exercise nutrition, post-exercise nutrition, and overall sound eating help fine-tune the gears. Without proper hydration, it’s impossible for athletes to reach their potential, and they are at risk for heat-related problems like heat exhaustion.

Helping athletes understand how much fluid their bodies need and providing opportunities to hydrate before, during, and after workouts and competitions is critical. Setting up a hydration plan can make a major difference for athletes, especially at the end of a game or competition.

A person’s body is made up of about 60 percent fluids, so the first step in maximizing performance is maintaining a good balance of fluids in compared to fluids out. Although athletes don’t need to keep their weight stable to optimize performance, many studies have found that sports performance can be impaired if an athlete’s bodyweight changes by two percent or more during exercise.

For example, for a 150-pound athlete, losing three or more pounds during practice or a game could result in a drop in performance. Sweat rates in players can vary greatly, but it’s not difficult to lose a significant amount of fluid in a short amount of time, especially in hot, humid environments.

Potential consequences of dehydration include decreased endurance, decreased strength and power, a lesser ability to cool the body, less blood flow to the working muscles, lack of concentration, slowed recovery from workouts and competitions, increased risk of injury, and increased risk of heat cramping and other heat illnesses. Sweat losses greater than three percent of bodyweight have been noted to lead to heat illness, heat stroke, or worse: death from severe dehydration.

In some cases, fluid losses may exceed 10 liters a day, so knowing individual fluid losses for players is an important step in understanding specific needs. Typically, athletes lose between one-half to two liters per hour (or between two and eight cups per hour) of fluid during heavy training.

Athletes may not realize they are losing this much, as fluids are lost not only through sweat athletes can see, but also through evaporation, which is the main way a body dissipates heat and tries to cool itself. For example, evaporation can account for 80 percent or more of heat losses in warm, humid environments and over 95 percent in hot, dry environments.

It’s critical for athletes to replace not only fluids, but sodium as well. Typical sodium losses are estimated at 460 to 1,840 milligrams of sodium per liter of sweat lost, but athletes who are salty sweaters or high-volume sweaters can lose even more. These athletes often need to consume three to four times the recommended sodium compared to the general population.

Although some coaches and sports professionals continue to recommend bananas or high-potassium foods to ward off heat cramps, potassium losses are generally very small (160 to 390 milligrams of potassium per liter). That is only about three to eight percent of the recommended daily intake.

If athletes keep a few key points in mind before, during, and after training and competition, staying hydrated will come naturally. These keys include the following:

Stay well hydrated all day. It’s important for athletes to come to workouts and competitions hydrated—that’s why “pre-hydrating” is so important. Drinking fluids all day long can help ensure that an athlete is ready to practice. To do this, athletes can grab water, juice, milk, sports drinks, or other fluids first thing in the morning. Then, they should continue to drink fluids throughout the day, using water fountains, coolers, and cafeteria beverages as easy sources for drinking. Soup and some water-rich foods (like watermelon, grapes, and tomatoes) can also contribute to proper daily hydration.

Because athletes wake up dehydrated (their weight is often two to three pounds lower in the morning), athletes should to drink at least 32 ounces of fluid during the first two hours they are awake. This will help them rehydrate from the previous night.

Have a pre-game/training hydration plan. Athletes should aim for at least 16 ounces (two cups) of fluid two to three hours before practices and competitions. They should consume an additional eight ounces (one cup) 10 to 20 minutes prior to getting on the field.

Drink on a schedule during workouts and competitions. Perhaps one of the most important things sports professionals can do is set up a hydration schedule for athletes when they are training and competing. During activity, athletes should begin drinking early and at regular intervals to ensure they are getting enough fluids. Most athletes will not naturally take in enough fluid if left to their own devices, as thirst is not a good indicator of fluid needs. Athletes are distracted during workouts and competitions, and by the time they are thirsty, they are generally already dehydrated. When feasible, athletes should drink six to eight ounces of fluids (or as much as they can tolerate) every 15 to 20 minutes during hard exercise or competition to maximize hydration.

Sports drinks can help ward off dehydration and muscle cramps because they help replenish both fluid and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) lost through sweat. For workouts and competitions lasting an hour or longer, sports drinks containing six to eight percent carbohydrate can aid in rehydration and boost sodium intake. In addition, the sodium and flavoring in a sports drink can provide better taste over water, which may drive an athlete to drink more. Sports drinks with more than eight percent carbohydrate can be difficult to digest and slow down the rate at which carbohydrates reach the muscles to provide energy. In addition, they can cause gastrointestinal distress. 

Monitor hydration status. All athletes can monitor their own hydration status from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed by being in tune with their urine status. Are they going to the bathroom every couple of hours? Do they have ample urine? Is it relatively clear? If the answers are all “yes,” then the athlete is probably well hydrated. The three keys to proper hydration are going often, going enough, and having clear urine.

There are also clear signs if severe dehydration and heat illness start to occur. They include: headache, nausea, loss of coordination, dizziness, fainting, profuse sweating, persistent muscle cramps, diarrhea, stomach or intestinal cramps, vomiting, and increased heart rate. In cases of exertional heat stroke, additional signs may include: increased body temperature, inability to focus or communicate, confusion, altered consciousness, or seizures. 

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May 17, 2018
By Amber Giacomazzi

Amber Giacomazzi, MS, AT, ATC, CAT(C), is an Assistant Professor in the Health and Human Performance Department and Athletic Training Program at Concordia University Ann Arbor. She is one of only a handful of athletic trainers certified by the professional groups of two countries—NATA in the United States and the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association.

For the majority of individuals, a 40- to 50-hour workweek at one job is normal. However, 7.6 million American workers hold two or more jobs, and some athletic trainers fall into this category. Whether it is juggling several part-time jobs or a full-time athletic training job plus a part-time athletic training position, the challenges this scenario presents can be daunting. Waking up and experiencing an early commute, working late nights, long weekends, and juggling numerous responsibilities makes for a stressful lifestyle if you do not make your schedule and self-care a priority.

I was in this situation for eight years. After I finished graduate school, the economy fell. My dream of working at an NCAA Division I university did not materialize as I had hoped. I ended up working full time at a physical therapy clinic. However, I did not want to lose my skills or connections, nor did I plan to stay in that position long. So I also worked part time at a community college teaching a couple of classes, and I was an hourly athletic trainer at multiple colleges. In addition to this, I covered camps and tournaments on the weekends.

After eight years of juggling these three settings, I accepted a full-time position at Concordia University Ann Arbor (CUAA) as an Assistant Professor in Health and Human Performance and in the Athletic Training Program. In this role, I have been able to apply lessons learned from the three-job experience and impart those lessons to athletic training students at CUAA in order to help them understand the dynamics of the profession and prepare them to meet their obligations and responsibilities as an athletic trainer. To get through the challenge of juggling multiple jobs, I offer the reader who may be in a similar situation a few things I learned along the way.

Do what you love

I love athletic training and helping the profession grow. While I did experience burnout on several occasions, I really do enjoy my career. A benefit for me was that each setting was something different.

Even though working at a physical therapy clinic was not where I thought I would start my athletic training career, I looked at it as an opportunity to strengthen my rehabilitation skills. Being an hourly athletic trainer kept me on the field doing what I loved, which was caring for athletes. And teaching gave me the chance to pass on the knowledge and experience I have gained to the next generation. Managing these three settings over eight years would not have been possible if I didn’t enjoy going to my numerous settings on a daily basis.


Depending on the positions you are juggling, if you are not organized, it is very easy for unplanned events or deadlines to pop up. Just when you think you have one night to yourself, you remember you have to write an exam, you are called to cover a game for someone who is ill, or coach changes practice times on you. Take a few minutes to look at the schedule for the week and prioritize what is most important. This will help you get your work done efficiently and possibly leave you some free time to do something you enjoy.

Plan time for yourself

While it would be ideal to plan on one or two days off each week, it might not be possible with the schedule you have. Personally, I never had the opportunity, so I at least tried to give myself several hours where no work was involved. This allowed for my mind and body to relax. Instead of worrying about the work I just did or what I still needed to do, I was able to recharge my battery so I was effective in my next task.

If you are able to take a day off, try your best to disengage from work and attend to your self-care. This could be exercising, spending time with family or friends, or simply relaxing with a good book or movie.

Focus on the end goal

For the majority of athletic trainers juggling multiple jobs, the decision was not made because you had a lot of free time and were bored. It was made because you had to make ends meet, or a full-time position wasn’t available. Whatever the reason may be, just remember each step is one more toward your goal of single-position employment. It is important to focus on that end goal when you are nine hours into that volleyball tournament on a Sunday, after working seven days straight, and have to do it all again the following week.

Life and professional experience can present circumstances beyond our control. My advice to those juggling two or more positions in athletic training is to focus on being effective in the jobs you have and on the ultimate goal of single-position employment. Finally, don’t forget to also focus on yourself, as self-care is the one area you can control in order to maximize your experiences and ensure future success.



Serious hydration is available in a flavor

May 17, 2018
The Right Stuff™ is a NASA-developed electrolyte, liquid concentrate, drink additive for those who work and compete hard and sweat a lot. Although it's based in science, there are some things science can't also solve, such as which favor is best. So, for 2018, The Right Stuff has added grape to its list of flavors, joining berry blend, lemon lime, strawberry kiwi, orange tangerine, lemonade, and cherry lime.
Regardless of the flavor, The Right Stuff will help athletes recover faster. Its blend of electrolytes without sugar goes more rapidly into the bloodstream than any other tested sports drink. Originally designed to address the extreme hydration challenges faced by astronauts, The Right Stuff also protects athletes quickly from dehydration symptoms and protects them by preventing athlete headaches, improving core thermoregulation, lowering blood acidity, fighting muscle fatigue, averting cramps, and increasing endurance. 
It comes in single-serve pouches with tear-off top pouches that are designed to be squeezed into at least 16 ounces of water. Each batch is tested at independent, third-party facilities to ensure that the product does not contain any WADA-listed banned substances and that there are no contaminants. The Right Stuff participates in the NSF Certified for Sport testing program. It's used by professional, college, high school, and Olympic teams across the country, as well as industrial workers, firefighters, and military personnel.
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May 17, 2018

A soccer player and a gymnast at Oregon State University have created a campaign to bring awareness to student-athlete mental health. Officially launched in January, #DamWorthIt is using the sport platform to get people talking about the issue.

An article in the NCAA's Champion Magazine explains that the idea for the campaign came after two Oregon State student-athletes, Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci, both lost teammates to suicide.

“We don’t want this sort of thing to happen again on our campus or anywhere else,” Braaten says. “So we decided to do something about it.”

Braaten and Ricci received funding for the #DamWorthIt campaign through the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program. Along with the grant, Braaten and Ricci attended the three-day APPLE Institute event that trains athletics administrators, student-athletes, and others on health promotion and substance abuse prevention among student-athletes.

“The three main components of our campaign are the education piece, the resource piece and then the awareness and comfort piece,” Ricci said.

Other Oregon State student-athletes have joined the campaign, with six to eight volunteers typically stationed at an informational booth during sporting events. The group has also developed a promotional video that plays during events. In addition, Oregon State’s counseling and services outreach team often sets up a booth right next to #DamWorthIt to share information about mental health, as well as resources that are available locally and nationally.

“We really want every school to have something like the demo campaign, where they can encourage a culture of mental health,” Braaten said.

For university staff and faculty, encouraging student-athletes to ask for help and support is a good step. But according to Bonnie Hemrick, MPH, Mental Health Promotion Specialist at Oregon State, #DamWorthIt’s message has more clout with student-athletes because it comes from peers. Her role is to help the group share stories safely and keep an eye out for teammates who may be struggling.

“Nathan, Taylor and other student-athletes who have shared their voice for the campaign are openly and directly addressing mental health so that others can feel comfortable following their lead,” Hemrick said.

Image by Oregon State University.



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