Jan 29, 2015
Bulletin Board

Challenging the Media

When journalists attend a sports team’s practice, their job is usually to sit, observe, and take notes. But for one day last fall, media members covering the Indiana University men’s basketball team did none of those things. Instead, they ran, jumped, lifted, and sweat–a lot.

The event was the Cream and Crimson Survivor Media Challenge, developed by the team’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, Je’Ney Jackson, CSCS, SCCC, and IU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations, J.D. Campbell. The two were putting together a video about the players’ off-season conditioning program when they wondered what it would be like to give the media an up close look at a workout.

“We thought putting journalists through a workout would give them an idea of not only what a strength and conditioning coach does, but what players have to go through,” Campbell says. “We also have a new basketball practice facility, and this was a great way to give the media an opportunity to see it.”

Organizing the event was fairly simple. While Campbell found a day that worked well with the team’s schedule, Jackson created the workout regimen. “It was key for Je’Ney to put together a comprehensive program,” Campbell says. “We wanted the media to get an idea of the different aspects of the conditioning and training program and how many different parts of the body our players have to work.”

There was a great turnout, with participants ranging from local beat writers and television reporters to a journalist from the Big Ten Network and ESPN.com’s Pat Forde. The media members went through a typical day of strength and conditioning for the team, including a warmup, a plyometrics circuit, sprints, a tire roll, sled work, and a trip up the Memorial Stadium stairs carrying another person on their back.

“The media’s response was unbelievable,” Campbell says. “Everyone looked forward to it and had a great time doing it, although more than a few were sore the morning after.”

Jump Training For Prevention

A handful of ACL injury prevention programs that focus on jump training have proven successful in recent years, but a common criticism is that they take too long to complete. Now, a recent study shows promise that a shorter program–both in session length and number of weeks needed to complete–may be just as effective.

Published in the December issue of The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, the study followed 15 female basketball players who received coaching on appropriate landing technique for 15 minutes three times a week over a four-week period. The goal of the program was to decrease the athletes’ knee valgus angle when landing, which is thought to reduce the risk of knee injury.

The players had their knee valgus angles measured while performing a depth drop, a jump shot, and a crossover hop test. After the four weeks of instruction, each participant showed an improvement in valgus angle. In the jump shot test, the average improvement was 4.5 degrees in the left knee and 4.3 degrees in the right. While performing the depth jump, the athletes’ left knees improved by an average of 9.8 degrees and the right knees by an average of 12.3 degrees. On the crossover hop test, an average improvement of almost 75 percent indicated stronger and more stable knees.

Study author Lee Herrington, PhD, CSCS, Lecturer at the University of Salford in England, noted in the abstract of the study that the results are comparable to other jump training programs that require longer sessions over more weeks. While the research addressed only knee valgus angles and not ACL injury risk specifically, the results hold promise for reducing the chance of experiencing this season-ending injury.

To read the abstract of the study, “The Effects of 4 Weeks of Jump Training on Landing Knee Valgus and Crossover Hop Performance in Female Basketball Players,” go to: journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/pages/default.aspx, click on “Previous Issues,” select “2010” from the drop-down menu, and click on “Volume 24, December 2010.”

Banning Energy Drinks

In light of reports about unsafe levels of caffeine in energy drinks, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) has banned the consumption of such beverages at its member schools’ practices and games. The move was recommended by the VHSL’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and implemented in late September.

“The safety of the athletes was the overwhelming rationale for approval of the recommendation,” Tom Dolan, Co-Director of Athletics for the VHSL, told the Baltimore Sun. “We’ve been fortunate up to this point [that nothing has happened to our athletes], but is it prudent for us to wait to see if we have an issue before we do something about this? For me the answer is absolutely not.”

The new rule is meant to educate and protect Virginia high school athletes who may not understand the effects of caffeinated energy drinks. The SMAC told the executive committee that energy drinks are not intended for hydration purposes and should not be consumed by athletes who are dehydrated. It also said that with no regulatory control over the various brands of energy drinks, “their contents and purity cannot be ensured” and potentially harmful side effects could result. In addition, many athletes are unaware of the problems associated with consuming high levels of caffeine and sugar.

A violation of the rule results in an official warning issued by the VHSL, and stricter penalties could follow for repeat violations. “The warning carries multiple meanings in our organization,” Dolan told the Sun. “If a coach intentionally distributes energy drinks at this point, then I think we would put that particular team from that particular school on warning for a year, which means if it happened again during that year, they could be put on probation, which would keep them from going to the playoffs.”

Partners In Care

Most high schools would love to provide more athletic training coverage for their student-athletes, but tight budgets tend to get in the way. The Columbus (Ohio) City School District found a solution by partnering with Ohio State University Sports Medicine (OSUSM).

In December, the two groups signed a five-year contract providing Columbus’ 24 high schools with increased levels of sports medicine services for their student-athletes without any additional cost to the school district. The school system will pay OSUSM $240,773 in 2011, with an annual three-percent increase each of the following four years. Previously, Columbus City Schools employed five full-time athletic trainers and OSUSM provided two more for free. Salary increases for the athletic trainers would have eventually totaled more than the cost of the OSUSM contract.

“This is a win-win that allows Columbus City Schools to enhance the care of its student-athletes,” says Tom Caldwell, PT, SCS, ATC, Administrative Director of OSUSM. “At the same time, it’s a way for OSU Sports Medicine to pursue all three areas of our primary mission: patient care, education, and research. This agreement gives us the opportunity to grow together for the future of sports medicine in Columbus.”

Through the partnership, OSUSM provides team physicians and seven full-time athletic trainers, including three previously employed by the school district, to cover high school varsity games and help with injury prevention and rehabilitation. In addition, working for OSUSM allows the athletic trainers to branch out and work as researchers, physician extenders, or rehab specialists. They also have greater access to continuing education at OSU.

“We’re in the business of sports medicine, so we provide a wide range of opportunities for career development,” Caldwell says. “Instead of being a group of five athletic trainers, they’ve become part of a broader network of more than 20 athletic trainers working for OSU Sports Medicine. That gives them the unique opportunity to pursue work beyond the traditional high school setting, and I think they see a lot of value in that.”


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