Monday, April 28, 2014

Amy McKay Speaks...

Amy McKay Speaks…

about the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America 
By: Rachel Cinquepalmi

Did you know that more than 400,000 people in the United States have Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? MS is a chronic and often disabling disease which involves an immune system attack against the central nervous system. It affects the individual’s brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Some symptoms for multiple sclerosis include numbness, impairment of speech or coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue.
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is a group of passionate individuals who aim to better the lives of those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Amy McKay, Kinesiology Professor at Tarleton State University who has been an active member of the association for the past five years says, “The importance of this society is to enhance the quality of life in addition to providing technology and funding for individuals with MS.” A friend of McKay’s granted her the opportunity to join the organization in 2008 and since then she has served as an avid speaker to MS groups about the role of nutrition and wellness in “treating” the disease. McKay believes that until a cure is found for MS, it is important for these individuals to aim to live healthy lifestyles.

While the origin of MS has not been distinctively identified, scientists currently theorize that the disease may stem from a number of different factors. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, some believe that the environment and temperature climates may have an effect on a person’s risk to the disease. Statistics show that different populations and ethnic groups have a considerably different prevalence of MS. Others believe that MS may be associated with genetics. These individuals believe that MS may be inherited and that siblings of a person with MS may have a risk of attributing MS. While genetics or the environment may or may not be the reason for one’s MS, there are other potential factors such as viruses or hormone levels.
McKay also works to treat MS through the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

This form of treatment is used in conjunction with the medical treatments and includes everything from diet and exercise, lifestyle changes, and acupuncture. Since there is no cure, medications are used to help modify the disease activity and progression, and rehabilitation sources help MS patients to maintain their ability to perform effectively at home or work. These sources may include cognitive rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, or vocational therapy. Until a cure is found, the work of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and individuals like Amy McKay is vital to the quality of life of persons with MS.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Average Lifespan: Athletes vs. The General Population

Being an athlete can bring great advantages in life. One big advantage is increased lifespan. Physical
activity performed at a moderate intensity, meaning 50 to 70 percent of their personal maximal heart rate, over the course of a lifetime is proven to be associated with the reduced risk of several causes of death in the general population. This includes but is not limited to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity.

In a study conducted by Bungumb & Teramotoa (2009), they examined the lifespan of professional athletes from 4 different categories: endurance, power, mixed sports, and all sports athletes. Endurance athletes were mainly skiers and long distance runners. Power athletes were comprised of baseball, football, soccer, and rugby players. Finally the mixed-sports athletes were hockey, basketball, and track & field athletes.

The endurance athletes lived an average of 5.7 years longer. Power athletes had a mortality rate of 12.9% compared to 3.1% among the age-matched general male population. Mixed-sports saw an average of 4.0 years of extra life when compared to the general population as shown on the chart on page 413(Bungumb & Teramotoa, 2009).

While we were not given specific number of years in reference to the exact age of the general population, we do know that the general population, as defined by this study, is a population of people who lived in the same general area and endured the same conditions of the environment as the athletes that were studied.

In conclusion, the elite endurance athletes and mixed-sports athletes seem to live longer than the general population due to their lower cardiovascular disease death rate. Therefore, long-term vigorous exercise training is associated with increased survival rates of these athletes (Pg. 414 Bungumb & Teramotoa, 2009).

Bungumb, T., & Teramotoa, M. (2009). Mortality and longevity of elite athletes. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2010(13), 410-416. Retrieved from

Physical Education Class Should Dodge, Dodge Ball

Physical Education class is a time for kids to have fun while exercising. Numerous activities are available that accomplish these two things. However, some activities exist that PE teachers should avoid at all costs no matter how bad the kids want to participate in them. 2Neil Williams has categorized a select list of PE games as the PE Hall of Shame. PE class should be a fun, enjoyable environment for all and if a game or activity does not fit these standards, then chances are it belongs to the Hall of Shame.

The main game to avoid is dodge ball. Hardly any good comes from this game and the times that I have seen it played there is almost always an argument to settle. The game is too violent for a general PE class. Some children love the game while others are scared to death of the game because they do not want to get hit. This does not qualify as a fun, enjoyable environment for everyone; therefore, it should be avoided. Only a select few ever get much exercise from this game while some of the main ones that really need the exercise end up towards the back hiding and doing nothing. Moreover, the balls that are typically used are very light and can actually put a lot of strain on the arm if over thrown. 1 These negative experiences are what cause PE to be considered for elimination in public schools.

This game is just not for physical education class. Find activities that improve a child’s health rather than  activities that can potentially be harmful or ineffective.  


1Barney, D., & Deutsch, J. (2009). Elementary Classroom Teachers Attitudes and Perspectives of Elementary Physical Education. Physical Educator, 66(3).

2 Williams, N. F. (1992). The physical education hall of shame. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 63(6), 57-60.

Post-Operative Accelerated Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair Rehabilitation Protocols (3-6 Months)

Post-operative(post-op) accelerated Anterior Cruciate ligament repair rehabilitation protocols (Weeks 5-8) blog continued to 2-6 months.1 While progressing towards the third month of post-op, the athlete should continue to increase the amount of weight, from 3lbs to 5lbs, sets, and repetitions, from 3 sets of 8-10 to 3 sets of 15-20 for strengthening exercises. 1 At the beginning of the third month, the athlete should move towards plyometric exercises and jogging activities. 1 Some plyometric exercises that can be done are low intensity place jumps, to work on the athlete’s amortization phase, the amount of time it takes an athlete to switch from an eccentric to a concentric contraction, and two-foot ankle pops, which are jumps using only the ankles. 1.
During the third leading to the fourth month, the athlete should be progressed to:
·         running/sprinting
·         aggressive plyometric exercises
o   stair runs
o   progressive jumps
§  cone jumps
§  long jumps. 1
The athlete should continue strengthening exercises as long as they have full flexion.2 During the fourth month if the strength is at 80% of the bilateral knee, static and dynamic balance activities, such as single leg balance (SLB), single leg jumps (SLJ), and single leg line jumps can be attempted. 1 
For the final 2 months of post-op (months 5 and 6), the rehabilitation program should continue with strengthening and flexibility exercises. The athlete should also progress towards more functional activities to prepare for return to play. 1 Progress to the sport specific activities, such as court shuffles for basketball and volleyball or approach jumping, in the final month then to return to play. 1 Continue with ultrasound, cryotherapy, and electrical stimulation (E-stim) for pain control. 1

1 Houglum, P. (2010). Therapeutic exercise for musculoskeletal injuries. (3 ed., pp. 276-283, 890-891). Greensboro: Human Kinetics.
2Shelbourne, D., & Klotz, C. (2006). What i have learned about the acl: utilizing a progressive rehabilitation scheme to achieve total knee symmetry after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Journal of Orthopedic Science, 11, 318-325. doi: DOI 10.1007/s00776-006-1007-z

How athletes can benefit by placing a media coach in sports programs

Sports are a billion dollar industry that attracts a lot of attention. The attention attracted from being an athlete can be negative or positive. Look at Johnny Manziel and the media. They have essentially taken away from his ability to be himself without scrutiny. Chen, Z., & Berger, J. (2013) said, “Controversy should increase the likelihood of discussion (e.g., “controversy sparks conversation” and “if something is controversial, it is bound to be talked about”). This is what the media looks for! Should all athletic programs include media training for their athletes?

When an athlete reaches the collegiate level of athletics they have to be ready to take on the media.  Draskovic, Caic, Kustrak (2013) said, “social media encourages contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested.” The wrong word, comment, or just appearance can bring a variety of attention that the athlete must be ready for. It is imperative for the coaches to help develop their student-athletes not just for their sport, but to tackle the new wave of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram all are being closely watched by the athlete’s fans. It can be positive in the sense of being able to help bring in attention to get the athlete to the next level social media has become a huge subject of interest in 2014. With social media, it is ten times faster to get information out to the general public through twitter, Facebook, and other social media favorites. Having student athletes being themselves is necessary, but protecting their career is also important. Social media is a very positive tool that can be used in a great way. Athletic Programs should start early in developing this craft on tackling the media.



Draskovic, N., Caic, M., & Kustrak, A. (2013). Croatian perspective(s) on the lecturer-student interaction through social media. International Journal Of Management Cases, 15(4), 331-339.

Chen, Z., & Berger, J. (2013). When, Why, and How Controversy Causes Conversation. Journal Of Consumer Research, 40(3), 580-593.

Professional Resume: How to Catch the Eye of an Employer

     More and more college graduates earn a degree and are unable to even receive an interview, much less a job. Without career experience, the value of a resume as a first impression to a future employer must not be undermined.  It takes job recruiters a matter of a few seconds to make an initial decision about bringing in a prospect for an interview. A well-crafted, functional resume describing work experience, education, achievement, and objectives must catch the attention of an employer through the initial selection process. Apkan and Notar suggest two types of resumes for recent graduates: functional and electronic formats. A functional resume emphasizes the applicant’s skills rather than work experience, while the new-age electronic form requires material to be typed in a simple paragraph format to communicate skills, experience, and abilities.1 Writing an eye-catching resume takes some time in order to reveal your accomplishments both in life and in your academic career.
     Another key to a professional resume focuses on the applicant’s strongest qualifications being in direct correlation with the requirements of the desired position. This requires intensive homework on the organization in search of relevant knowledge and skills to catch the attention of the resume reader. Haseltine records in his job search basics that the most effective resumes are written with a target audience in mind. Resume writers must decide what to include and to what level of detail to emphasize to the reader because a resume is a strategic, self-marketing document.2 A resume reader needs to receive the notion that the applicant knows as much as or more than the present employees of the company. This replicated knowledge, in addition to adequate skills, will set a resume apart from the rest on a professional level. The power of a good resume cannot be overstated in today’s job market.
1Akpan, Joseph, & Notar, Charles. (2012). How to Write a Professional Knockout Resume to                Differentiate Yourself. College Student Journal, 46:4, 880-891.
2Haseltine, Derek. (2012). Job-Search Basics: How to Convert a CV into a Resume. Nature
Immunology, 14:1, 6-9.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Helping Student Athletes in the Recruiting Process: Involvement of Coaches

Helping Student Athletes in the Recruiting Process: Involvement of Coaches

As student athletes enter their senior year of high school, it can be one of the worst or best years of the prospect’s life. Whether the athlete is highly or moderately recruited, problems can arise in the recruiting process. Potential problems can include NCAA violations and major disruptions in the prospect’s life. Nearly all recruiting violations are preventable, and by having high school and travel ball coaches aware of their student athletes academically and athletically can help the ensuing process be done by the books.2 Besides the more visible recruiting problems that occasionally result in an athlete losing all or part of his or her NCAA eligibility, some prospects suffer through a poor recruiting process.

In order to prevent some of the violations that may occur during this process, a few steps can be taken by the high school or travel ball coaches to ensure that the student athlete is in good standing. First, coaches should prepare the prospect academically.1 Coaches need to sit down with each of their athletes to discuss what courses they need to take to complete their core curriculum and also what score they need to have on their ACT or SAT.

Second, coaches should develop a specific set of recruiting guidelines.1 These guidelines should include contacts made with college coaches, emails, a list of games for coaches to attend, and requested information to be provided on unofficial and official visits. With this information student athletes can be aware of what all they have done or what needs to be done in the next step in their recruiting process.

The last step that high school and travel ball coaches should take is to monitor activities in the recruitment.1 Yes, it is the prospect’s business on what they choose to do, but how many student athletes actually keep up with rules that need to be followed? As a result high school and travel ball coaches should step in and monitor their student athletes as a service to them.

Regardless of the relationship that high school and travel ball coaches have with their athletes, coaches should play a role in the recruiting process. This assistance will not only help the college coaches, but will also help the prospect with any problems that may occur.


1Hewitt, P. M. (2009). The Recruiting Process. College Student-Athletes: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Implications, 37-52


2Paule, A. L. (2008). The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Examining Intercollegiate Athletic Recruiting.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Improvisation in the Dance Classroom

Improvisation exercises are very common in the practice of teaching and learning choreography. Both are a way to allow students to explore movements and to find material that they will later consider for developing choreography.1 Improvisation helps develop ideas and aids in the creative process. The creative process of developing their own choreography is just as important for students to learn as it is for them to learn how to dance someone else’s chorography.

In order for students to be comfortable, the teacher has to create a friendly and relaxed environment where learners can express themselves without embarrassment.1 Once the student is comfortable, they will be able to start to play around in movement. This is important for the student to do in order to develop a personal movement style. Personal movement style often develops when the student regularly improvises with choreography.2

Improvisation can be incorporated in the classroom in many different ways. The most common way is to relate it back to the technique they are learning in class. Once the students have learned a new technique, allow them to play around and make the new steps their own. Introducing improvisation into the technique class provides opportunities for students to connect with the learned material. Another way for the students to connect with technique and learned material is to encourage improvisation away from the mirror. Moving away from the mirror invites students to interact with each other, creating an inclusive community in which a diverse student group can further experiment with class material.2

Improvisation is a useful tool when developing students’ ability to choreograph and personal movement style. A comfortable setting creates a relaxed environment for students to try new and different movements. In the classroom it is important to utilize improvisation techniques.

1 Biasutti, M. (2013). Improvisation in dance education: teacher views. Research In Dance Education, 14(2), 120-140. doi:10.1080/14647893.2012.761193
2 Rimmer, R. (2013). Improvising with Material in the Higher Education Dance Technique Class: Exploration and Ownership. Journal Of Dance Education, 13(4), 143-146. doi:10.1080/15290824.2013.819978

Buring Body Fat Off

Close up of bare chested man holding scissors and squeezing stomach
Photo Credit: Corbis Images.
The discussion for last week’s blog post detailed what body fat is. Now that we know what body fat is comprised of and how our body stores the extra fat, we can manipulate our body into using that extra body fat.

The first thing that we need to remember is that body fat is energy. Therefore we need to create an environment that our body needs to use that energy. The most common method of using this energy is to start a cardiovascular training routine.
Cardiovascular Routine:
• 150 minutes a week
• 65-80% intensity

The 150 minutes per week are the beginning recommendations for many people. If more results are desired, then more time can be added during the week. Another way to increase the results would be to increase the intensity closer to 80% of your predicted maximum heart rate.(Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2008).

Strength Training:
 • 3 workouts a week
• Major muscle groups
 • 3 sets of 8 repetitions

Strength training will build more lean muscle tissue, having more lean muscle tissue will require more energy to maintain. Muscle tissue requires 10kcal/kg per day(Wolfe,2006). To put this simply, the higher percentage of lean tissue a person has the more energy their body needs. This increases their resting metabolic rate, making it easier to maintain a healthy lower body fat percentage.

When an individual adds the two of these methods they are able to lose on average 1.63kg. When the methods are combined individuals gained almost 1kg. The main benefits of combining the two methods are fat metabolism and hypertrophy. Fat metabolism is the breakdown of body fat into energy. Hypertrophy is the creation of new muscle tissue(Kollias). Being able to maintain a healthy weight and size is a continual routine that needs to be kept to maintain their results. If you need any additional information on any of these topics, look over the past weeks blogs.

2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2008, January 1). Center for Disease Control and                   Prevention. Retrieved from

Kollias, H. (n.d.). Cardio vs. weights: Which is Really Better for Fat Loss?. Precision Nutrition. Retrieved ,        from

Wolfe, R. The Underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease. American Journal of Clinical               Nutrition.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O.J. Simpson: The Turning Point

Before there was Aaron Hernandez—cloaked in a white t-shirt and gang tattoos, being escorted by the police—there was O.J. Simpson, the infamous white Bronco, and those gloves. Dubiously, “the Juice” could be considered the original poster child of high-profile accused criminals affiliated with the NFL.
On the evening of June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered and discovered in the early hours of June 13. The man once known for juking defenders on the football field was chased down Los Angeles freeways in a white Ford Bronco and arrested June 17. The 1968 Heisman Trophy-winning halfback was charged with the double homicide, and the trial mesmerized the nation in the months to follow. On October 3, 1995, Simpson was acquitted in a jury decision that polarized Americans and took TV airwaves hostage.

Photo courtesy of

The details of the O.J. Simpson case are solidified, if not by public acceptance at least by time and the relative shock value of crimes since committed by NFL talents. Like previously-mentioned Rae Carruth and Jovan Belcher, Simpson lacked a lengthy criminal past. However, he is said to have been involved in a San Francisco gang as a teenager.
O.J. Simpson represents something very different from the men mentioned prior to him in this series. He precedes them. He symbolizes the crushed esteem of sports fans who previously maintained the fa├žade that professional athletes at least shied away from trouble. Like Watergate for politicians or Columbine for school safety, the accusations, the chase, the attention-hogging trial, and the famous verdict cracked the shell of a world in which our professional athletes were susceptible to the snags of being human.
Prior to the Juice, criminal mischief done by ne’er-do-well athletes was low-profile. June 1994 changed that, acquittal or not. The beloved halfback, Buffalo Bill, commercial personality, and actor became the face of cold-blooded murder, whether he committed it or only appeared to have. Prosecutors Marcia Clark and her team ripped back the curtain on an all-too-common truth now well-known across the world of professional football: the guys on Sunday are human, and many are big and violent.
Check out my first blog:  The Guys on Sunday: Big and Violent

Knee Injury Prevention: Neruomuscular Training

With the number of knee injuries on the rise, many studies have been conducted to provide an answer to this problem. Neuromuscular training has been the focus of many studies, trying to determine whether or not it does benefit athletes.
Hewett, Lidenfield, Riccobene, & Noyes conducted a study to see how effective neuromuscular training was on knee injury prevention.  First, the focus was strictly on technique. Each athlete was shown the proper technique of jumping and made to practice it for the first two weeks1. Exercises included wall jumps, tuck jumps, squat jumps, bounding techniques, and 180 degree jumps. During the first two weeks, the amount of time spent on each exercise was increased. Athletes went from an average of 20 seconds per exercise to 25 seconds of the exercise1.
Weeks three and four, the focus shifted to building the fundamentals of each jumping exercise. Here they began to incorporate “building a base of strength, power, and agility”1.  Exercise time was increased to 30 seconds per exercise. Only two new jump training exercises were added, because the importance was making sure the athlete used the correct technique for each exercise1.
The final two weeks the athletes were coached on how to maximize their jumping ability. Throughout each of their exercises, athletes were encouraged to do their absolute best and push themselves to their max in order to improve1.  After the six weeks of training, the next sport season was monitored. Out of the 1,263 athletes that had partaken in the study, only 14 serious knee injuries were reported1. Of those injuries, only two female athletes sustained a season ending ACL injury. Even with females’ susceptibility to knee injuries, Hewett et. al, were able to show that the proper jump training can in fact be beneficial for improving the strength of an athlete’s knee.
Years later in 2003, Myklebust, Braekken, Skjolberg, Olsen, & Bar conducted a similar study on neuromuscular training to help prevent knee injury. While their exercise techniques varied (they used balance balls), their results yielded the same conclusion and found that the more hours spent on neuromuscular training, the lower the chance of injury2.
Both of these studies come to show the importance of neuromuscular training in an athletic program. Coaches must do all they can to incorporate these techniques and give their athletes a fighting chance against injuries.

1Hewett, T. E., Lindenfield, T. N., Riccobene, J. V., & Noyes, F. R. (1999). The effect of neuromuscular traning on the incidene of knee injury in female athletes: a prospective study. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 27,6, 699-706.

2Myklebust, G., Engebretsen, L., Braekken, I. H., Skjolberg, A., Olsen, O. E., & Bahr, R. (2003). Prevention of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female team handball players: a prospective intervention study over three seasons. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 13,2, 71-78.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stress & Overtraining Syndrome

     The body needs adequate recovery time from exercise, as well as the stress that occurs from other life events. An effect of worrying triggers the release of hormones that causes the heart rate to increase. This process uses energy for the body to recover from the damage caused by the stress1. This stress, combined with the stress from exercise, has a cumulative effect that can contribute to overtraining syndrome. A way to track progress from exercise and identify any changes within an individual’s performance is through a long-term workout program with a detailed record of each workout.

     Trainers and coaches should design workout programs using linear periodization or nonlinear periodization2. Periodization involves predesigned workout plans that detail all of the increases in the workload and rest intervals over a specified time frame. While the trainer or coach may have an appropriate workout program designed for an individual, they must also consider events in the individual’s life that are causing stress2.  A benefit to periodization is that the individual’s performance can be tracked over a long period of time. Increases are on a set progression to ensure the individual is using a proper workload. Tracking workouts overtime can ensure that the client is continuing to improve and not experiencing a decrease in strength associated with overtraining.

      Stress outside of exercise must be considered because it can contribute to overtraining syndrome3. In the event of tragedy, demanding situations, or a particularly busy schedule at school or work, the workouts may need to be modified to ensure the individual is achieving adequate recovery2. If an individual is getting an adequate amount of rest but still feels worn out, it may be a sign that they should cut back on the workout volume.  Doing so can decrease and/or prevent declines in performance, injury, sickness, as well as other symptoms of overtraining syndrome.

1Fuqua, J.S., & Rogol, A.D. (2013). Neuroendocrine alterations in the exercising human: Implications for energy        homeostasis. Metabolism, 62 (7), 911-21.

2Hoolihan, Charlie. (2014). Recovery: The rest of the story. IDEA Fitness Journal. 11(4), 32-39.

 3American Council on Exercise. (2010). Cardiorespiratory Training: Programming and Progressions. (4 ed.), Ace personal trainer     manual (p. 400). San Diego: American Council on Exercise.