Category Archives for Wellness

Football cut at Jacksonville Univ, a D1 program

The team was around for 22 years and was a part of the Pioneer Football Conference. 

The treatment of its existing staff and scholarship student-athletes seems to be good. Bravo to that. 

Jacksonville University Cutting Football Program

by Brock Fritz, December 2019

Jacksonville University announced Tuesday that it will no longer have a football program.

The private university in Jacksonville, Fla. is immediately disbanding the program after a 22-year run, citing a desire to invest elsewhere.

"As a University, we are investing and innovating to match our offerings to the 21st century marketplace and to support the diverse demands and interests of our students," Jacksonville University President Tim Cost said in Tuesday’s press release. "This investment profile requires careful analysis, realistic planning and – occasionally – difficult decisions to help drive us forward to excellence."

The decision was announced 10 days after Jacksonville wrapped up a 3-9 season with a 47-28 home loss to San Diego. The Dolphins also went 2-8 in 2018, the lowest win total in program history and their first losing season since going 5-6 in 2013.

"This was a difficult decision," Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert said. "Our student-athletes and coaches in the football program are talented, tenacious and hard working. We respect them immensely. Reinvesting these resources into our other Division I programs better positions us to enhance the experience for all 450 student-athletes.

“All options were on the table through this process and we made a commitment to hold off on any premature conclusions until we had a complete picture. Ultimately, one option stood out as the best path forward for Jacksonville Athletics as a whole. When you consider all that we commit to coaching, recruiting, advising, facilities, conditioning, nutrition, and academic counseling, it's clear the resources required to support our football program outweigh the benefits to the overall Athletics Department and the University."

The Jacksonville football team compiled a 118-115 record in 22 years. The Dolphins began as a Division I-AA Independent in 1998 before joining the Pioneer Football League – a Division I FCS conference – in 2001.

ESPN writer Adam Rittenberg reported that 13 Jacksonville players had entered the transfer portal as of Tuesday morning. University officials expressed their commitment to the players and coaches, offering full tuition scholarships until graduation for every player who chooses to stay at Jacksonville University. The school is also honoring the employment agreements for all football coaches, including head coach Ian Shields, while offering to assist in job searches.

"Our commitment to each football player and coach will continue beyond today." said Ricker-Gilbert. "We understand some of these student-athletes will look for opportunities to play football at other schools, and we respect that decision. If our students choose to stay here – and we hope many of them do – they will receive full tuition scholarships."

Thorny issue of women and girls sports and the inclusion of trans athletes

Noel Plum's video insights

The debate over women's sport and the complex and thorny issues of what place trans-women and those with intersex conditions have within sport has been heating in some circles. Comments by celebrated athletes such as Martina Navratilova, Sharron Davies, Dame Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe have shown considerable push.

In this video, Noel covers some recent events and tries to explain the present problem, thought to be completely unsolvable. The present labels of "men's" and "women's" sports events look need an alternative model moving into the future. Expect to see many efforts in the future on how to work to and to discuss various models.

Video hopes to deal with objections.

Abandon the model of dividing sport into "men's" and "women's" categories by

  • Re-label the "women's" category explicitly as the "female" category. 
  • Disband the "men's" category. 
  • Create an "open" category for anyone: male, female, man, woman or non-gender binary.

Bill Price posted on Facebook and calls this a meta issue

The topic is sure to affect all in sports, regardless of the level and age groups. He contends that the solutions presented so far by the IOC, NCAA, USA Swimming, and the IAAF (to name just a few) don't address the real scope of the problem. He posted that coaches "need to develop a deeper understanding of why this issue is causing such a ruckus, and why some are concerned about the future of sport."

Plenty of discussions swirl about on the YouTube page as well.

Other Links to research:
  • Caster Semenya takes gender rule challenge to sports court 
  • LGBT group severs links with Navratilova over transgender comments
  • Sharron Davies: Former British swimmer says transgender athletes should not compete in women's sport
  • Sports stars weigh in on row over transgender athletes
  • Why calls for athletes to compete as a homogenized group should be resisted

National Youth Sports Strategy, a better place to begin

Definition of sports from the NYSS:

Sports are a form of physical activity that, through recreational or competitive participation, aims to develop or maintain skills, fitness, mental well-being and social-emotional health.

Definition of sports from Kevin DeForrest:

Sports are games of time, space and relationship. 

Youth Sports Participation Framework

Framework for understanding youth sports participation from the National Youth Sports Strategy from USA's HHS

Read about the National Youth Sports Strategy

The USA's National Youth Sports Strategy is an essential resource for policymakers and key decision-makers in youth sports. It aims to unite U.S. youth sports culture around a shared vision: that one day, all young people will have the opportunity, motivation, and access to play sports — regardless of their race, ethnicity, sex, ability, or ZIP code.

Based on research and best practices from the scientific community and successful youth sports programs across the United States, it offers actionable strategies for parents, coaches, organizations, communities, and policymakers to support youth sports participation for all.

Brain Scans and treatment plans

Great presentation!

He developed a passion for medical imaging. 
As our professors used to say: "How do you know, unless you look?"
Here's a scan of a 15-year-old boy who felt down a flight of stairs at the age of three. Even though he was unconscious for only a few minutes, there was nothing mild about the enduring effect that injury had on this boy's life.
When I met him at the age of 15, he had just been kicked out of his third residential treatment program for violence. He needed a brain rehabilitation program, not just more medication thrown at him in the dark, or behavioral therapy which, if you think about it, is really cruel.
To put him on a behavioral therapy program when behavior is really an expression of the problem, it's not the problem.
Researchers have found that undiagnosed brain injuries are a major cause of homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, panic attacks, ADHD, and suicide.
We are in for a pending disaster with the hundreds and thousands of soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afganistan, and virtually no one is looking at the function of their brain.
Our work taught us that people who do bad things often have troubled brains. That was not a surprise. But what did surprise us was that many of these brains could be rehabilitated.
So here's a radical idea. What if we evaluated and treated troubled brains rather than simply warehousing them in toxic, stressful environments?
In my experience, we could save tremendous amounts of money by making these people more functional, so when they left prison, they could work, support their families and pay taxes.
So after 22 years and 83,000 scans, the single most important lesson my colleagues and I have learned is that you can literally change people's brains. And when you do, you change their life.
You are not stuck with the brain you have, you can make it better, and we can prove it.
My colleagues and I performed the first and largest study on active and retired NFL players, showing high levels of damage in these players at the time when the NFL said they didn't know if playing football caused long-term brain damage. The fact was they didn't want to know. That was not a surprise.
I think, if you get the most thoughtful 9-year-olds together, and you talk about the brain is soft, about the consistency of soft butter, it's housed in a really hard skull that has many sharp, bony ridges, you know, 28 out of 30 nine-year-olds would go: "Probably a bad idea for your life."
But what really got us excited was the second part of the study where we put players on a brain-smart program and demonstrated that 80% of them could improve in the areas of blood flow, memory, and mood, that you are not stuck with the brain you have, you can make it better on a brain-smart program.
Reversing brain damage is a very exciting new frontier, but the implications are really much wider.

Fantastic rehab news. However, let's step up the preventative measures.

Rather than working so hard on the back end, so as to fix a traumatic brain injury, let's change the course of life and better realize how to prevent injuries.

Let's play healthy games where head injuries are far less common.

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