Youth Sports: Participation over competition

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:00 am

“Our future leaders of tomorrow will be faced with many competitive obstacles over their lifetime, so there is no rush to place that burden on them now. They may not make the game winning shot today, but they will get another day and another opportunity to shine in the spotlight and deliver.”

According to Christopher Williams, Beulaville, North Carolina, native, Youth Sports manager and team leader, participation supercedes competition when it comes to youth sports aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River. Instead, the sports provide a means to build confidence, camaraderie and community, among other things.

“Youth sports help in molding a community that shares similar interests and values through their participation,” said Williams. “It also allows participants to spread the word in promoting health, fitness and activities for children as well as (inviting) more program volunteers to join the youth sports family.”

With eight different sports spanning over all four seasons, Youth Sports has something for everyone including soccer, flag football, cheerleading and baseball, to name a few.

“Youth Sports programs are important for everyone, as participation provides an opportunity both in an introductory capacity for first-timers new to a sport, as well as for participants who continually return based on their interest in the sport,” said Williams. “Continuous participation is the recipe for continued skill development. Youth Sports recreational programming can be a valuable tool and springboard for scholastic sports participation, but certainly not the most valuable asset.”

A growing body of research suggests in addition to improved physical health, sports plays a primarily positive role in youth development, including improved academic achievement, higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems and better social skills, according to True Sport, a division of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that seeks to ensure a positive youth sport experience by imparting the lessons of clean competition and sportsmanship. Many studies focus on the effects of sports on competence, confidence, connections, character, and caring—which are considered critical components of positive youth development, according to the Journal of Early Adolescence. It has long been thought that the many facets of playing sports —the discipline of training, learning teamwork, following the leadership of coaches and captains and learning to lose—provide lifelong skills for athletes.

“Youth sports provides the backdrop in developing social skills, and interacting with peers outside of the academic setting,” said Williams. “It also provides physical activity to enhance wellness and develop active traits and ethics they will hopefully continue throughout their lives.”

It’s also a lot of fun.

“Soccer is always the topic of discussion around our dinner table,” said Cindy Walser, Elmsford, New York, native and youth sports parent. “Both of my (children) participate in youth sports and I can honestly say it’s been nothing but good. They always have a great time and they’ve both really grown when it comes to their skills … It’s great for family bonding and it gives us something to focus on when their dad’s a way.”

According to Williams, the 2014 Youth Sports season has been a great one thus far, with many highlights and memories.

“It’s the look on their faces after they made the key block springing their running back to the end zone, made a key save in the net when the soccer game was on the line, and stuck the landing on the cartwheel after the cheer routine. That’s what it’s always about, and that’s how it should forever remain,” he added.

Youth Sports is currently in soccer playoff season. Tonight, teams Fever and Fury will battle it out for a chance to compete in the playoff game at the Lejeune Intramural Field aboard Camp Lejeune at 6 p.m. Teams Premier and Whitecaps will also take to the Division II field aboard New River in hopes of securing their place in the playoff matchup tonight, at 6 p.m. The final playoff game of the season will be held at the Field 2 on Stone Street aboard Camp Lejeune, Nov. 1 at 9 a.m.

For more information about Youth Sports visit



Nelson, Desiree. “Youth Sports: Participation over Competition.” Camp Lejeune Globe. N.p., 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

States Seek to Ensure Student-Athlete Safety in High Heat

July 26 marks the one-year anniversary of what Douglas Casa, a leading expert on exertional heat illness, called “the worst week in the last 35 years in terms of athlete deaths.”

July 26 marks the one-year anniversary of what Douglas Casa, a leading expert on exertional heat illness, called “the worst week in the last 35 years in terms of athlete deaths.” Temperatures approaching or surpassing triple digits were blamed for five heat-related high school football deaths in an eight-day span from July 26 to Aug. 2, 2011: A 16-year-old senior in Florida collapsed during a workout and died on July 26; the same thing happened to a 14-year-old freshman in South Carolina four days later. A 55-year-old assistant coach in Texas died on Aug. 1, and two players from Georgia succumbed to the heat on Aug. 2. (Additionally, four Arkansas players were hospitalized on Aug. 3 as the thermometer peaked at 114 degrees.)

Today, almost 12 months later, Casa – a physician and chief operating officer of the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute, as well as author of the book Preventing Sudden Death in Sports and Physical Activity – is much more upbeat. “These past 11 months have probably been the most important 11 months we have ever had in terms of changing policy in our country,” he says.

A major victory in the high school athlete’s battle against heat actually came more than a year ago, in May 2011. That’s when the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association became the first state organization to adopt heat-acclimatization guidelines established (in 2009) by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Those guidelines include seven recommendations for a 14-day acclimatization period that places limits on practice times and use of heavy protective equipment, while stressing the importance of having certified athletic trainers on site during practices.

The University Interscholastic League in Texas followed suit in October, banning two-a-days – a tradition as ingrained in that state’s high school football culture as Friday night lights themselves – for the first four days of training camp and on consecutive days thereafter.

State high school activity associations in Connecticut, North Carolina and Georgia took action next, and KSI is working with several other states to develop or improve their own heat-acclimatization polices. It’s a trend Casa doesn’t expect to cool down anytime soon – especially considering that the National Federation of State High School Associations in April released a position statement encouraging all state associations and member schools to adhere to detailed guidelines and take a new online course, “A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention,” available at (The NFHS document is based in part on previous research and recommendations by NATA and the American Academy of Pediatrics.)

“In every state, climate and resources are different,” says Bob Colgate, an assistant NFHS director. “But we know that heat illness is one of the next big issues, and – given the experience we’ve had with concussion guidelines – education is going to be a key element.”

“That National Federation document changes things,” Casa says. “Now, if a high school is doing nothing about exertional heat illness, it’s going to have a problem explaining why it wasn’t addressing any of the things the federation recommends. A year from now, we could be up to 15 or 20 states that will have adopted guidelines for heat acclimatization. Those are big changes.”

Georgia – a state that suffered more heat-related deaths among high school and college football players between 1994 and 2009 than any other, according to a recent University of Georgia study – has emerged as ground zero for those changes. The Georgia High School Association’s new heat-acclimatization policy, adopted in March, requires all football players to build up tolerance to high temperatures by working out in shorts and helmets for five days before donning full pads. Three-a-day practices are banned, and two-a-day practices cannot take place on consecutive days or exceed five hours in a single day; a three-hour rest period is mandatory between the two sessions, and single practice sessions may last no longer than three hours. To demonstrate how serious the organization is about this issue, schools found in violation of the new mandates face fines of up to $1,000.

“We want to make sure that all the kids are out in the sun with moderate levels of practices without the heavy equipment, so they get used to [the] outdoors,” GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Research has shown there are times when players are most vulnerable.” Those times are usually during morning practices in August, especially in the eastern half of the United States, according to Andrew Grundstein, the climatologist who oversaw the retrospective UGA study. Despite cooler temperatures prevailing during morning hours, high humidity during that time can increase heat stress on players.

The GHSA’s previous policy, like those currently employed in several other states, allowed schools to monitor their own environments, but there were no guidelines regarding practice duration, the number of practice sessions, the amount or type of equipment worn or the type of device used to measure weather conditions. Coaches and athletic directors in Georgia are now expected to utilize the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index – not the heat index – when assessing whether practice conditions are safe. The WBGT index, the most widely used and accepted way to assess heat stress in the United States, is a composite temperature used to estimate the effect of actual temperature, humidity, wind speed and radiant heat on players. It is measured using a mathematical formula involving three different types of commercially available thermometers or, more easily, with a single instrument that sells for as little as $50 on

There is an increase in the number of exertional heat injuries when the WBGT index reaches 82 degrees, according to Bud Cooper, associate head of the University of Georgia’s Department of Kinesiology, who is co-directing a separate UGA study tracking the rate of exertional heat illness in football players at 25 Georgia high schools. “The WBGT number is a much lower number than the heat index number, but it’s a more comprehensive number,” says Cooper, also a certified athletic trainer who acknowledges that getting coaches to move away from their reliance on the heat index is a challenge. “It’s making a shift into a direction that people are not used to, but I would be shocked if we see the level of football go down as a result of putting some of these policies and procedures in place to protect athletes. You’re still going to have good football out there.”

Quincy (Ill.) Public School District 172 officials have decided they won’t wait until the Illinois High School Association takes a statewide stance on this issue. By month’s end, the school board hopes to have a policy in place that would not only provide solid guidelines for detecting and preventing heat stroke in student-athletes, but also give coaches the authority to delay or cancel practices (and even games) in high-temperature circumstances.

“Our coaches have a pretty good understanding of what’s safe and what’s not,” superintendent Lonny Lemon says. “The board just felt coaches would be more comfortable if we could give them more guidance. There’s a lot of pressure on coaches – and band directors, too – and we want to have something in place that will take the burden off them when making the call to cancel.”

The policy, based on those in other states, has gone through several drafts since a local cardiologist who is also a school board member suggested the district take action last fall. Lemon says nailing down logistics has been tough – especially because Quincy officials are unaware of other schools in their conference with official heat-acclimatization policies. “What if we go on the road and think it’s too hot at game time? Will we let our kids play if the home team doesn’t have a policy?” he asks.

Casa applauds Quincy’s efforts. “That’s proactive, that’s good to see,” he says. “Any individual high school could always be more aggressive than any of the state policies, because it wants to further protect student-athletes.”

“Our goal is to take care of our kids,” says Lemon, who refers to Quincy’s efforts in Illinois as “pioneering.” “It’s the right thing to do.”


Popke, Michael. “States Seek to Ensure Student-Athlete Safety in High Heat – Athletic Business.” States Seek to Ensure Student-Athlete Safety in High Heat – Athletic Business. N.p., 12 July 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

Beat Dehydration


There are many things which mark women out as different to men – childbirth, period pain and the horrors of waxing spring to mind. But now there’s a new one to add to the list, because apparently women tend to get dehydrated more than men. As well as meaning hangovers are kicked up a gear, this can cause more headaches and tiredness.

It might not sound like a huge problem, but Clinics in Sports Medicine suggests that even being dehydrated by four per cent can cut the effectiveness of your gym workout by 20 per cent or more.

“It’s because of lowered blood volume,” Dr Stacy Sims, who is exercise physiologist at Stanford University, told Women’s Health magazine.

“When your oestrogen and progesterone levels are high you lose around eight per cent of plasma volume – that’s the watery part of blood.”

High progesterone levels can make your body warmer which makes you feel sleepy, plus they play havoc with sodium levels (sodium is what tries to get water into your blood).

All of this means it’s important to think about what you’re ingesting. Obviously alcohol is going to wreak havoc with your hydration levels, which is why the age old advice of alternating drinks with glasses of water is still one to stick to.

Potassium works alongside sodium to shift water into blood, so it’s a good idea to seek out foods which boast both of these. However, don’t go too far. Eating too much sodium can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke so you need to ensure you have a balance. For example, vegetables are a good option if you are eating sodium-rich foods like cured meats and table salt because they are rich in potassium but low in sodium. Try leafy greens like spinach, plus orange vegetables such as sweet potato and squash, dried beans and citrus fruits like oranges.

Another reason why fruits and vegetables are great at fighting the dehydration problem is their high water content. Watermelon for example is 90 per cent water, while vegetables have water and other nutrients too. Oatmeal, soup and smoothies also have hidden water in them, so think about varying your diet to ensure your body is quenched too.


“Beat Dehydration.” Sunday World Site. Sunday World, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

2014 Excellence in Youth Sports Award Winner: MCAS Miramar Youth Sports Program

The U.S. Marine base MCAS Miramar Youth Sports Program in San Diego, Calif., provides the children and families of its community with a place to learn fundamental and advanced skills in a variety of sports, and a place to stay healthy and active while meeting new friends.

These goals are great components for creating happy childhoods with memories, but for military families, they serve an additional purpose. According to an Army study conducted by research professor Leonard Wong of the U.S. Army War College, the main factor mitigating deployment stress was a child’s participation in activities, such as youth sports, followed by a strong family foundation. He cites that activities like youth sports serve as a distraction to the negative feelings associated with a deployment.

Through youth sports, military families are able to connect with others who are going through the same experience and build a support system while members of their families are away, says Jones. “Our youth sports program strives to provide a variety of sports in a fun atmosphere so that families can enjoy themselves and participate in heal

“Our staff takes great pride in serving military families,” says Sheron Jones, youth sports director at MCAS Miramar Youth Sports Program. “This motivates us to provide world class customer service to our families and take initiative to assist them, especially during a parent’s deployment.”

Miramar Youth Sports offers a variety of activities for children from ages three to 17, such as basketball, soccer, flag football, baseball, t-ball, coach pitch baseball, tennis, First Tee Golf, Start Smart sports for soccer and baseball, as well as various camps and special events to help players further develop their skills.thy activities.”

When a child ages out of the youth sports program, or no longer wants to play recreational sports, they can still stay involved through Miramar Youth Sports’ junior coach program. These former participants become a viable pool of volunteers to help keep participation levels high on base. Jones estimates that they are able to keep at least 10 percent of their former participants active in the program through the junior coach program.

As part of the program, teens between the ages of 16 and 18 are paired with an experienced adult coach who mentors them in aspects of being a coach. Junior coaches may help to run practices, develop and implement drills or assist the coach in creating a plan for upcoming games, positioning players and team objectives.

Junior coaches have the same requisites as adult coaches, including training through the National Youth Sports Coaches Association, and completing the additional NYSCA trainings for bullying, concussion and child abuse prevention. NYSCA training, offered by the National Alliance for Youth Sports, was designed to sensitize volunteer coaches to their responsibilities and hold them accountable to a strict Code of Conduct defined by the NYSCA Coaches’ Code of Ethics Pledge.

“By volunteering as a junior coach, these teens learn responsibility and accountability, which helps them become a leader in their community,” Jones says. “They also serve as peer mentors to the players on the team given their close proximity in age.”

Miramar Youth Sports strives to ensure everyone has a place in its program. The base offers Kids in Developmental Sports (KIDS) to fulfill the need of children with special needs, such as autism, deafness and Asperger’s Syndrome, who want to participate and benefit from playing sports.

Families were hesitant to sign their child up for traditional sports programs because of the inclusion concerns and the coach being able to meet their needs. KIDS was designed so that parents could be at ease with their child participating in sports while building a bond, not only with their child but also with other families that share the same struggles and obstacles.

Coaches go through an additional training to prepare them for working with children with special needs, says Jones. “The special needs training allows the coaches to have a better understanding of children with special needs and to ensure the children are learning sports skills within their abilities in a fun environment. The training on special needs assists coaches in understanding different behaviors of children and why the child is acting a certain way, and gives the coaches knowledge to assist the children in an appropriate manner.”

In addition to a wealth of resources for coach education, Miramar Youth Sports also supports their coaches through the team parent program. Volunteer parents step up to fill this role and lead the team’s administrative duties, like acting as a communications liaison between the coach and other parents, creating and setting up team spirit activities, developing the snack schedule, coordinating details for team photos and – most importantly – promoting and ensuring good sportsmanship during games and practices.

“Team parents are a very important part of our program,” Jones says. “By the team parent taking on these responsibilities, it allows for the coach to focus on the coaching aspect of the sport and ensuring the children’s needs are met.”

MCAS Miramar Youth Sports Program is one of five youth sports programs to be named the 2014 Excellence in Youth Sports award winners. The program also received this prestigious designation in 2010.

“Being a two-time Excellence Award winner is a great honor for our Child, Youth and Teen Center and our community,” Jones says. “It is very humbling. This award reassures our staff that what we are doing truly matters and we are making an impact every day on the families and children we serve.”

Developed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports and Athletic Business magazine, the award recognizes programs that are doing superior jobs of conducting diverse activities with a focus on providing safe and positive experiences for all participants, including children, parents and coaches.

Developed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports and Athletic Business magazine, the award recognizes programs that are doing superior jobs of conducting diverse activities with a focus on providing safe and positive experiences for all participants, including children, parents and coaches.The five winners of the 2014 Excellence in Youth Sports Award are being announced in this space over the next five days. The awards will be presented to program administrators at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in Orlando on Friday, Nov. 14.

“2014 Excellence in Youth Sports Award Winner6.” 2014 Excellence in Youth Sports Award Winner: MCAS Miramar Youth Sports Program – Athletic Business. N.p., 6 Nov. 2014. Web. 06 Nov. 2014.

Dehydration and its effects on your health

DR. WAYNE FITCHER/Natural Spine Solutions

Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough fluids to perform its normal functions. Your body loses more water and other fluids than it takes in, leading to a potentially serious medical condition. Excessive sweating, the use of diuretics, excessive alcohol use, serious diarrhea, fever and vomiting can cause dehydration. Failure to drink fluids during exercise or in hot weather also can cause dehydration.

While dehydration can happen to anyone, children, the elderly and people with serious illnesses are at special risk for dehydration. Fluids should be replaced in the body before dehydration occurs. Your body provides several warning signs when it becomes dehydrated; thirst, mouth dryness, headache and muscle weakness are just a few.

When even a small percentage of water in the body is lost, every bodily function suffers. Symptoms of chronic dehydration will begin to appear when the body loses as little as two to three percent of total body water. Similar to planet Earth, the human body is, on average, about 75 percent water. When dehydrated, the body will begin to ration water.

The average adult loses about 10 cups water every day, simply by breathing, sweating, urinating and eliminating waste, according to the Mayo Clinic. Researchers also estimate that 50 to 75 percent of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration and don’t realize it. This is partly because the symptoms of chronic dehydration are often mistaken for illness.

According to Dr. Dave Carpenter, author of Change Your Water, Change Your Life, the following are 12 of the more common symptoms of chronic dehydration: fatigue, constipation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid-alkaline imbalance, digestive disorders, asthma and allergies, weight gain, skin disorders, joint pain or stiffness, bladder or kidney problems, and premature aging.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? Here’s an easy formula to follow: take your body weight, divide it by two, and that is how many ounces of water you need per day. Now if you’re doing any strenuous activity, you will need to increase your water intake.

Dr. Wayne Fichter, D.C., is the lead doctor at Natural Spine Solutions, with more than 15 years of experience treating families. He also has been the lead doctor in handling serious neck and back problems through non-surgical spinal decompression. Call (208) 966-4425 for all of your spinal and wellness needs.


FITCHER, WAYNE. “Dehydration and Its Effects on Your Health.” Coeur D’Alene Press. N.p., 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 05 Nov. 2014.

Athletic training grant enhances player safety at 12 area schools

Twelve area high schools will benefit from the establishment of an athletic trainer grant that will provide athletic training coverage at home and away varsity high school football games in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

In September 2014, the NFL Foundation matched a $25,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation to the Western New York Amateur Football Alliance to provide athletic trainers for high school football games at select schools that would otherwise not have had the coverage. UBMD Orthopedics & Sports Medicine facilitates the athletic training services, supervision and administration of the program and participating trainers.

“The Athletic Training Outreach Program has added much needed game day medical coverage to those schools that do not employ full-time athletic trainers,” said Bud Carpenter, Bills Head Certified Athletic Trainer. “A Certified Athletic Trainer is trained to treat on field injuries and to recognize and manage suspected mild traumatic brain injuries (concussions). The mere presence of these medical professionals lends to a safer playing environment for the student athletes playing football.”

Studies have shown that the presence of athletic trainers can have a significant positive impact on student-athlete health, including lower injury rates, improved diagnosis and better return-to-play decisions.

The following twelve high school varsity football programs were the benefactors of athletic training services as part of the Buffalo Bills Athletic Trainer Program: Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Sherman/Clymer, Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake, Westfield/Brocton, Dunkirk, Fredonia, Gowanda, Panama, Ellicottville/Franklinville, Silver Creek/Forestville, and Southwestern.

“As the Team Doctors for the Buffalo Bills players, we are happy to partner with the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation and NFL Foundation to provide the same type of care to student athletes as we provide to the pros,” said Dr. Leslie Bisson, Buffalo Bills team physician and orthopedic physician with UBMD Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. “This wouldn’t have happened without the leadership of those two organizations, and we’re pleased to contribute.”

“It is a comfort to know that there is someone on the sidelines whose number one focus and sole concern is taking care of the health and wellbeing of our student athletes,” said Kim Schon, Gowanda High School Athletic Director. “Having a certified athletic trainer available to work with our athletes has been such a valued and appreciated service that only benefits the overall athletic experience for kids. Having their presence significantly reduces the anxiety of parents, coaches, and players when it comes to injuries and game time return-to-play decisions.”

The intent of the program is to not only keep young athletes safe in the short term, but also to advocate for an inclusion of athletic training services into the school budgets of participating high schools. Meetings will be held in November to plan expansion and improvement of the pilot program, with hopes to extend the coverage for years to come.

High School Football Players Aren’t Well-Educated About Concussion


SATURDAY, Nov. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Despite recent efforts to create awareness about concussion among young athletes, a new study found that high school football players still don’t know enough about the symptoms and consequences of this type of head injury.

More than 300,000 people are treated in emergency rooms every year for brain injuries related to sports, the researchers reported. And, it’s estimated that up to 3.8 million concussions are sustained annually during sporting and recreational events. Half of these injuries involved football, according to the University of Florida researchers.

Yet, fewer than 50 percent of high school athletes are likely to report a concussion, the researchers noted. What’s worse is that around one-quarter of college football players with symptoms of a concussion play anyway, the researchers said.

“Our results showed that high school football players did not have appropriate knowledge of concussion. Even with parents or guardians signing a consent form indicating they discussed concussion awareness with their child, nearly half of the athletes suggested they had not,” study co-author Brady Tripp, from the University of Florida, said in a National Athletic Trainers’ Association news release.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Athletic Training.

The findings are especially worrisome because young athletes are more vulnerable to the effects of a concussion, including post-concussion syndrome (persistent symptoms after a concussion) and second impact syndrome (when the brain swells rapidly and seriously after a repeat concussion), the researchers said.

To address some of these safety issues, the youth sports safety concussion bill was passed in 2012. As a result, the Florida High School Athletic Association implemented a new mandatory concussion consent form that all parents and student athletes are required to sign before participating in a sport. Athletes are also required to report any symptoms of a concussion to an athletic trainer, coach or parent, the researchers explained.

That same year, the researchers surveyed 334 varsity players from 11 Florida high schools. The athletes involved in the study were an average age of roughly 16 and had played about two years of high school football.

The high school football players completed a written questionnaire. They were asked about their knowledge of the symptoms and consequences of concussion. They were also asked how they learned about these injuries.

Most students knew that headache, dizziness and confusion were signs of a concussion. But, many didn’t know that nausea, vomiting, neck pain, grogginess, difficulty concentrating and personality or behavioral changes were also symptoms, the study found.

The researchers noted that only a few of the athletes knew that a concussion could lead to brain hemorrhage, coma and death, if not properly treated.

Many students learned about concussion from their parents, at school or online, the researchers found. But, 25 percent of the athletes said they had no education about concussion at all, according to the study.

The researchers suggested that meetings, instructional videos and online programs could all help educate student athletes. However, the study’s authors added that no matter how much education students receive, athletic directors must not assume students will always self-report if they experience concussion symptoms after sustaining a head injury.

“Athletic trainers and others that make up a school’s sports medicine team should not assume programs available to coaches, parents and athletes will ensure education,” Tripp said. “We recommend they work closely with athletes to reinforce this important information and potentially reduce the incidence of concussion and the acute, chronic or potentially fatal circumstances that can occur.”

Source: Dallas, Mary. “High School Football Players Aren’t Well-Educated About Concussion.” Physicians News. N.p., 2 Nov. 2014. Web. 2 Nov. 2014.