Entries in Athletics (6)


Girls Can Hang Athletically with the Boys, Says Study

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Who said girls can’t hang with the boys?  At least according to one study, young ladies can perform just as well in certain sports as their male counterparts.

Researchers from Indiana University examined data from USA Swimming-registered boys and girls ages 6 to 19.  The total data included 1.9 million swims between 2005 and 2010.

The research showed no difference in swim performances among girls and boys younger than eight.  The study also found little difference in 11- and 12-year-olds.  It was only when children started hitting puberty, around 13 years old, that boys started beating girls.

It is a commonly held belief that girls and boys cannot compete equally due to differences in physique and skill, Joel Stager, professor in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Indiana University at Bloomington and lead author of the study, wrote in an email to ABC News.

“Our data would seem to argue that this is not always the case,” he said.  “Due to differences in developmental pace it seems to be true that at least in some sports there are periods of time during which girls and boys might be athletic equals.”

The increased muscle mass found in boys compared to girls does not happen until puberty, said Dr. David Rubin, assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

“As a result, the finding that boys and girls aged 8 and under perform the same in a task driven by muscle mass and function makes sense,” said Rubin.  “The 11 to 12 year old group is interesting, in that the girls overall are likely taller, and more of them would be in puberty compared to the boys.

The relatively fewer boys that are in puberty in this group, however, are likely developing more muscle mass and increasing performance,” Rubin continued.  “Overall, the groups again even out.”

After everyone hits puberty full swing, results begin to mirror what is expected in adults.  Boys, due to their increased muscle mass, will often outperform in tasks specifically related to muscle mass.

“It’s important to remember, however, that sports often rely on more than just muscle,” said Rubin.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


High School Wrestler Does Not Let Cerebral Palsy Get in the Way of His Dreams

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(KEARNEY, Neb.) -- Andrew Dubowsky may be still looking for his first high school wrestling match victory, but that’s not to say the freshman hasn’t had success. Andrew was born with cerebral palsy, severely limiting the use of his legs. Despite suffering from a debilitating disease, Andrew’s strong desire to compete on an athletic team enabled him to overcome the odds and participate on the wrestling team at Kearney High School in Kearney, Nebraska.

“He’s an avid sports person. He always wanted to play football. Of course, that wasn’t possible. This sport [wrestling] offers a lot of things and I think that Andrew was just trying to do something with himself,” Andrew’s mother Melissa Dubowsky explains to ABC Kearney affiliate KHGI.

Andrew’s determination and strength has gained many admirers, and he has earned high praise from teammates, competitors, and opposing coaches alike.

"The Seward coach came up to me after my first competition and told me that I inspire his kids because of the way I wrestle,” Andrew told KHGI. He also explained his bigger dreams: “I want to try to be a state champion.”

Andrew has shown that with dedication, drive and willpower, anything is possible.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UAB Psychologist Warns Fans of 'Football Addiction'

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- A psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says there is a fine line between a dedicated fan and a football addict when it comes to following one of America's most popular sports.

With the football season in full swing, researchers at the UAB School of Public Health say fans need to be careful of crossing the fine line between fandom and obsession. In a university news release, Dr. Josh Klapow warns that football obsession can threaten people's relationships and quality of life.

"It's not how much time you spend watching football that matters, it's whether or not that is causing negative behaviors in your life. Whether it's 10 hours per week or 40, the issue is its effect on your real-life obligations," said Klapow.

Klapow outlined several indicators that can help fans identify a potential problem. According to Klapow, behaviors such as thinking about football while doing other things, becoming irritated when a game is interrupted, missing important family or other events to watch a game, and becoming depressed, angry or violent when a certain team loses are all signs that someone has become addicted.

Klapow encourages fans to keep a weekly log of time spent watching or following sports to monitor whether or not one is becoming addicted to that sport.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Student Athletes Encouraged to Take Heat Safety Precautions 

Comstock/Thinkstock(MAYWOOD, Ill.) -- Just because summer vacation winds down, doesn’t necessarily mean the heat does, too.

HealthDay reports that athletic health officials are encouraging high school sports players to take heat safety precautions as they begin their fall training.

Loyola University Health System athletic trainer Jennifer Janczak urged players and coaches to take “common-sense precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke," she said in a university news release.

The release cited that four high school football players died in 2010 due to heat stroke.

The following tips are offered for high school athletes:

• Drink water before practice and during breaks, even if you're not thirsty.
• Don't drink beverages with caffeine.
• Monitor your urine. If it's dark, you're not drinking enough water.
• Alert your coach or athletic trainer if you experience signs of heat exhaustion, which include dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, headache or heavy sweating. Rest in an air-conditioned room or in the shade.
• Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to potentially deadly heat stroke, which requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat stroke include skin that feels hot but not sweaty, shortness of breath, confusion, vomiting and loss of consciousness.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Tips for Keeping Student-Athletes Safe from Heat Illnesses

BananaStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The grueling summer heat wave is taking a toll on people, crops and livestock as it blankets the center of the country, and perhaps nobody is exposed to the ravaging heat more than student athletes training for the fall season, practicing hours a day in triple digit temperatures.

"The youngsters and the elderly are the two populations most affected by the heat," said Dr. Wally Ghurabi, the medical director of the UCLA Emergency Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

"In the case of the youngsters, their systems are not as well developed, and the mechanism that the body uses to lower the temperature is hindered by the environmental factors such as the extreme heat, humidity and exercise."

The first level of heat-related illness is heat cramps, during which muscles begin cramping. Next on the continuum would be heat exhaustion, in which the athlete begins to feel fatigued, dizzy and nauseous with potential vomiting. Finally, the mother of all heat related illnesses is heat stroke, in which a person becomes unconscious or delirious and has seizures.

"At this point, the core body temperature is above 106 degrees," said Dr. Ghurabi. "The temperature lowering medication will not work anymore because the thalamus, the part of the brain that controls the body temperature, is malfunctioning."

The normal core body temperature is 98.6 degrees.

With a month of triple digit temperatures forecast in many areas, Rebecca Stearns, the Director of Education for the Korey Stringer Institute, offers advice for student athletes, coaches and parents to keep players safe.

The institute, founded in memory of Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer, who died from exertional heat stroke in 2001 is dedicated to preventing heat-related illnesses through communication prevention and treatment techniques.

Tips for avoiding heat-related incidents:

  • Ensure athletes have extra rest breaks and longer breaks.
  • Ensure athletes are acclimatized to the heat. "When the environment is different from what you are used to exercising in, that is when you have to be careful," said Stearns. Extra caution is especially important during the first 3 to 5 days of practice in the heat or preseason, when most incidents will occur.
  • Reduce the intensity of exercise until your body is used to the heat.
  • Arrive at each practice hydrated, and drink when you can.
  • Educate coaches and athletes about heat-related illness and proper hydration.
  • Reduce the amount of equipment and clothing worn by the athlete.
  • Back off on your intensity if you can.
  • Have practice in the coolest part of the day.
  • Speak up if you do not feel well. If you feel that your body is trying to tell you something, let someone know immediately. If a player or another athlete is struggling more than usual, don't be afraid to say something to ask them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teens: Growing Pains or Stress Fracture? 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) - Some researchers worry that your teenager's doctor could be dismissing stress fractures from athletics as simple growing pains, reports WebMD.

Research suggests that such fractures are under-reported in teens, with a majority of the injuries occurring in those who participate in track, cross country, basketball, soccer and football.

''Parents should be aware, this is a problem, and it's a greater problem than people necessarily think," Andrew Goodwillie, chief resident at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told WebMD.

According to Goodwillie, stress fractures occur when an overworked muscle transfers stress to the bone, resulting in small cracks or fractures. The problem is more common in girls than boys.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio