The wisdom of Stephen Covey. PK
The wisdom of Stephen Covey. PK
Wisdom from a Legend – Bruce Lee PK
I want to drop a nutrition article in here that address’ a fundamental obstacle in developing strength/muscularity or for you women who prefer ‘tone’ (which is another way of saying hypertrophy). The issue at hand is failure to consume enough protein aka the nutritional building block(s) of building muscle tissue. Protein makes up 13% of an average Americans caloric intake which is woefully inadequate to build a strong, dense physique. To optimize strength training induced protein synthesis one must make protein 31% of their caloric intake. This is especially important for those interested in loosing fat, as protein is far more satiating than carbohydrates. PK
|THE ROLE OF POST-EXERCISE NUTRIENT ADMINISTRATION ON MUSCLE PROTEIN SYNTHESIS AND GLYCOGEN SYNTHESIS|
|by Chris Pool, Colin Wilborn, Lem Taylor and Chad Kerksick|
|Nutrient administration following an exercise bout vastly affects anabolic processes within the human body, irrespective of exercise mode. Of particular importance are protein and carbohydrates whereby these two macronutrients portray distinct functions as anabolic agents. It has been confirmed that protein and/or amino acid ingestion following resistance training is required to reach a positive protein/nitrogen balance, and carbohydrate intake during recovery is the most important consideration to replenish glycogen stores from an exhaustive exercise bout. Several factors play significant roles in determining the effectiveness of protein and carbohydrate supplementation on post-exercise protein and glycogen synthesis. Improper application of these factors can limit the body’s ability to reach an anabolic status. The provided evidence clearly denotes the importance these two macronutrients have in regards to post-exercise nutrition and anabolism. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to discuss the impact of dietary protein and carbohydrate intake during the recovery state on muscle protein synthesis and glycogen synthesis.Key words: Protein supplementation, carbohydrate supplementation, anabolism.
|In recent years, post-exercise nutrition has evolved as an imperative part of training regimens among athletic populations. Athletes of all ages, abilities, and skill levels are adopting some form of post-exercise nutrition to improve performance and enhance the body’s recovery processes following exercise. Athletes in particular are highly susceptible to the detriments of heavy training regimens, because they are constantly depleting their energy substrates and stressing skeletal muscle tissues simultaneously. The macronutrients that have drawn much attention, in reference to the recovery phase of exercise, are protein and carbohydrates. Protein and carbohydrates have their own distinct functions, yet both work to generate an anabolic state within the body when ingested after the completion of an exercise bout. It is necessary for individuals who seek to gain lean muscle mass to induce a positive protein turnover as often as possible. It has been confirmed that protein and/or amino acid ingestion is required to reach a positive protein/nitrogen balance (Borsheim et al., 2004a; Koopman et al., 2006; Tipton et al., 2004), and carbohydrate ingestion alone provides marginal benefits on protein synthesis rates (Roy, 1997). Carbohydrate intake during recovery has been shown to replenish depleted glycogen after intense or exhaustive exercise (Ivy et al., 2002; Ivy et al., 1988b; Reed et al., 1989). The addition of protein can further enhance this process (Ivy, et al., 2002), but only in situations when an inadequate amount of carbohydrate is made available in the diet (van Loon et al., 2000). A lack of glycogen stores in the muscle and liver will limit the performance capacities of the body during prolonged or higher intensity bouts of exercise (Coyle et al., 1986). The provided evidence clearly denotes the importance these two macronutrients have in regards to post-exercise nutrition and anabolism. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to discuss the impact of dietary protein and carbohydrate intake during the recovery state on muscle protein synthesis and glycogen synthesis.
Resistance training and protein turnover
Protein intake and resistance training
Up to this point, several conclusions can be determined from the previous studies: 1) Resistance training increases protein synthesis as well as protein degradation, 2) This increase in protein synthesis is overshadowed by a corresponding elevation in protein degradation, resulting in a net negative protein balance, 3) The intake of dietary protein and/or amino acids after completion of a resistance training bout augments a net positive protein balance, resulting in the potential for skeletal muscle hypertrophy over time (Cribb and Hayes, 2006; Cribb et al., 2007; Hayes and Cribb, 2008; Kerksick et al., 2006; Willoughby et al., 2007), and 4) The intake of dietary protein and/or amino acids immediately following resistance training is more effective in inducing hypertrophy than if nutrient intake is postponed. Figure 2 illustrates the information discussed up to this point regarding the possible nitrogen balance states.
Carbohydrate/protein intake and resistance training
Borsheim and colleagues (2004b) determined if an amino acid, protein, and carbohydrate solution elicited a greater anabolic response following resistance training than carbohydrates alone. Eight recreationally active subjects completed two trials of 10 sets X 8 repetitions of leg extensions, and ingested either a solution containing 77.4g carbohydrates, 17.5g of whey protein, and 4.9g of amino acids or 100g of carbohydrates for each trial, one hour upon cessation of exercise. Arterial phenylalanine concentration increased rapidly in the protein/amino acid/carbohydrate group and remained elevated until 210 minutes after the completion of exercise, causing a net positive muscle phenylalanine balance for a short period. Phenylalanine concentrations remained close to baseline levels in the carbohydrate group, inhibiting net muscle phenylalanine balance from reaching a positive state. Therefore, the addition of protein and amino acids to a carbohydrate solution increases net muscle protein synthesis to a higher degree than carbohydrates alone and shifted the overall balance of muscle protein metabolism to a positive state. A more recent study (Tang et al., 2007) elicited similar results to the Borsheim investigation after eight resistance trained males completed two unilateral trials in random order and ingested either a whey mixture (10g of whey and 21g of fructose) or carbohydrate mixture (21g of fructose and 10g of maltodextrin) following the completion of each trial. In both nutritional conditions, muscle protein synthesis after the exercise bout was elevated in the exercised leg when compared to their respective resting legs. Moreover, fractional synthesis rates were significantly higher when whey protein was ingested when contrasted with only carbohydrate ingestion. These studies provide solid evidence that carbohydrates only have a minimal effect on protein synthesis in the absence of protein ingestion, but can be depended upon as a nutrition source to minimize protein breakdown when ingested alone. With this being said, a small amount of whey protein in addition to carbohydrate consumption in the recovery phase of exercise is a more sufficient means of increasing protein synthesis. Koopman and colleagues (2007) found supporting evidence, as they examined the effects of ingesting differing amount of carbohydrates with adequate protein intake on post-exercise protein synthesis. Healthy volunteers completed three resistance training bouts, separated by one week of rest, and consumed protein (3 g·kg-1·hour-1) with 0, 0.15, or 0.6 grams of carbohydrate/kg/hour respectively for each trial during a six hour time period following exercise. Protein synthesis, protein degradation, and net muscle protein synthesis values were constant across all groups. This suggests that carbohydrates, when supplemented with adequate quantities of dietary protein, do not heighten the anabolic response when consumed during the post-exercise period. The interested reader is encouraged to read these additional studies pertaining to the effects of combining protein with carbohydrates following resistance training on muscle protein synthesis (Koopman et al., 2005; Rasmussen et al., 2000; Tipton et al., 2001).
This group of studies has given insight on several important components related to anabolism in the post-exercise state. Carbohydrates alone seem to have a minimal effect on the net protein balance following exercise. Whether they marginally reduce protein degradation or slightly increase protein synthesis, carbohydrates unaccompanied by protein are unable to generate a positive protein balance and stimulate skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Different forms, sources and/or quantities of protein supplemented with carbohydrates can interact to create a greater anabolic environment in the post-exercise state by elevating protein synthesis levels far greater than carbohydrates alone could initiate. If a positive protein balance and subsequently muscle hypertrophy is desired, protein must be added to carbohydrate supplementation in order to fuel these processes. The combined effects of carbohydrate and amino acid/protein supplementation on protein synthesis are equivalent to their independent effects (Miller et al., 2003).
Timing of nutrient intake
Type and form of nutrient intake
Other research (Keizer et al., 1987; Reed, et al., 1989) has focused on the effects of ingesting a solid or liquid meal following exercise on the rate of glycogen synthesis. Both of these inquires reached similar conclusions by determining that carbohydrates in liquid and solid form are equally effective in replenishing glycogen stores after exhaustive bouts on a cycle ergometer and that gastric emptying does not impede the process of glycogen synthesis following exercise.
Amount of nutrient ingestion
Intervention of protein
|The purpose of this review was to discuss the impact of dietary protein and carbohydrate intake during the recovery state on anabolic markers such as muscle protein synthesis and glycogen synthesis. The anabolic processes of muscle protein synthesis and glycogen synthesis are affected by many different variables. Resistance training alone is not potent enough to stimulate a positive protein balance where protein synthesis exceeds protein degradation. The supplementation of protein and/or amino acids following a resistance training bout results in a net positive protein balance that enables skeletal muscle hypertrophy to take place. Carbohydrates play a limited role in protein synthesis, and thus are probably not necessary to prompt hypertrophy training effects. However, carbohydrates are vital to replenish glycogen stores diminished from prolonged or high intensity exercise. Past research has clearly defined that timing of ingestion, GI value of the food, amount ingested, and nutrient composition of the food are all important factors in determining the effectiveness of glycogen synthesis rates. Future research is needed to elucidate the equivocal findings surrounding the combination of protein and carbohydrate supplementation in reference to glycogen synthesis after exercise.
Applied Biochemistry and Molecular Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, OK, USA, Human Performance Lab, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, TX, US
This is a MUST READ for those interested in football, popular american culture, brain injury, politics, ethics, billion dollar business, money, greed and politics. It will help explain the complexity of the greatest issue facing the biggest sport in history. PK
“NFL players don’t have guaranteed contracts, and they’re paid less than you think. Chris Johnson is the best running back in the NFL, and he makes just $2 million. That sounds like a lot, but the best shooting guard in basketball makes $20 million. But NFL players are quite literally spare parts in a much bigger machine. Teams invest as little as possible in them, use them until they break, and then they get a new one. Fans root for their favorite player until he gets cut to create cap space, and then they get a new one. Most of the players lack the education necessary to manage their money, leaving them with little to show for after it’s all over. Oh yeah, and the shelf life for pro football players gets shorter every year, all while ticket prices skyrocket and the NFL signs billion dollar TV contracts, and franchises appreciate by the hundreds of millions. When you look up close, it’s not pretty.”
By Andrew Sharp – Editor
After a number of brutal head injuries this weekend—including the vicious hit that knocked Desean Jackson and Dunta Robinson out of the game—the NFL has announced it may start suspending players for “devastating hits.” But what if the problem isn’t football players? Maybe it’s football.
Oct 19, 2010 – The National Football League is the most popular sport in American history.*
We know this anecdotally and statistically. What does the majority of America do on Sundays? From my experience, they watch football. The ratings bare this out. This week, a terrible Monday Night Football game outdrew a New York Yankees playoff game. But the league’s greatest asset is also its achilles’ heel.
The NFL’s influence is so massive and all-encompassing that when something polarizing happens—good or bad—it’s pretty easy to just skip the portion of the discussion where we talk about exactly what happened. Because whatever it was, with all the highlights and halftime shows and news alerts, you know that everybody saw it themselves. So we take the event for granted, skipping ahead to what it means for the future, how it compares to the past, or what effect it has on the present. Everything gets analyzed within a much larger framework.
That’s sort of what we all did on Monday. In Monday’s Designed Rush, Mike Tunison talked about the Great And Unavoidable Helmet-to-Helmet Freakout:
With a spate of helmet-to-helmet shots and resulting concussions seen on Sunday, the full-on hue and cry about the dangers of head injuries in professional football is back at full pitch for the first time in probably… days? Weeks? It’s going to be a regular discussion for a while. Every time this happens, the debate will start anew. This is at once predictable, completely understandable and also incredibly frustrating because no one really has a sound idea about how to fix the matter.
It’s not a bad thing, but as we prepare to dig in and discuss what can be done here, we should remember what prompted the discussion in the first place. So, here are three separate stories from this past Sunday that made me feel guilty for loving football.
1. Todd Heap Laying Motionless on the Field. The Ravens-Patriots game was pretty much perfect for a football fan. Two well-coached teams going back-and-forth, battling to a tie after 60 minutes, with New England prevailing in OT. Even a victory for evil-Bill Belichick couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm; that was just a kickass game.
But toward the end of the first half, it looked like Todd Heap was dead on the field. It came just a few minutes after Patriots’ Brandon Merriwether had barely missed on a head-first spearing attempt that would have A) Broken up a Ravens touchdown and B) Risked serious injury to both players. Fast-forward a few minutes, and there he was again, leading with the head. But this time he connected.
After a few harrowing minutes with Heap splayed out motionless on the turf, he left the field, and we could all breathe a sigh of relief. When he came back later in the game, we could even take it as a reassuring sign: He’s back. He must be okay. It wasn’t as bad as it looked.
But how do we know how bad it was, and whether he should have been out there?
2. Dunta Robinson and DeSean Jackson and War. Here’s a perfect example of something that’s prompted a much bigger discussion, obscuring a more basic problem: Robinson’s hit wasn’t that special.
Kevin Kolb hung DeSean Jackson out to dry over the middle, and Dunta Robinson did what a defensive back should. Light. Him. UP. Like they say on NFL Countdown, “BOOM!” Football players are taught to do it, and football fans are taught to love it. Last night on Monday Night Football, they ran a highlight reel of Chuck Cecil hammering opponents during his career, and Jon Gruden waxed poetic, football style: “He would KNOCK. YOU. OUT. Chuck Cecil was a tone setter. There was fire and brimstone in that body.” For better or worse, brutal hitting is woven into how we understand the game.
And Cecil’s hits were awesome. But Sunday’s hit knocked both players out of the game.
The officials later ruled that DeSean Jackson was defenseless, but that’s not a reflection on Dunta Robinson. Or it shouldn’t be. He was a defensive player trying to do his job, with a split second to make a decision. Look at Dunta Robinson’s eyes in this picture, while Jackson sits dazed in the background. With this stuff, even the villains are victims.
A lot of people like to use war analogies to glorify the “battle” that takes place on the football field each Sunday. But here we had mutually assured destruction in a literal sense. Not a “war in the trenches” with NFL Films music playing in the background, but two spectacular, impossibly graceful athletes staggering off the field bleary-eyed and beaten. A lot closer to real war than the war analogies, no?
3. Aaron Rodgers played. A week after suffering a concussion against the Redskins, Aaron Rodgers was out there in Green Bay, starting for the Packers. He’s on my fantasy team, and had 22 points this week. He gave the Packers a chance to win. But in a year when the whole NFL’s supposedly getting serious about concussions, it makes you wonder.
Is there an exception when it’s a star player that’s essential to victory, or did Aaron Rodgers just happen to recover faster than all the other quarterbacks that have been sidelined with concussions this year? That’s not a snarky rhetorical question. It’s genuine, with genuinely unknowable answers.
And it’s a microcosm of what’s hanging over the NFL right now. Are players risking their own well-being by playing football? We really don’t know the answer, but more and more, the answer looks like, “Probably.” And you can’t blame us if pictures like this scare us into fearing the worst.
Even though each incident gave me pause as a fan, they’re remarkable not for the concussions or some glaring lack of precaution, but because ultimately, none of it is that remarkable. That’s just the game.
The defensive players that laid people out this weekend may have been leading with their head, and Desean Jackson may have been hung out to dry by Kevin Kolb, and Aaron Rodgers may have been toughing it out for his team. But the problem isn’t football players, football equipment, and maybe not even football’s rules. The problem is that those guys were risking injury by playingfootball.
It’s not a bunch of demonic defensive backs out there wreaking havoc on these poor “defenseless receivers.” On the whole, NFL players get hurt because there are certain physical realities that come into play when you put a bunch of gigantic, high-speed athletes on the field at once. When everyone runs a 4.5, everyone’s stronger than ever, and they’re all wearing helmets, helmet-to-helmet hits will happen, and they will do serious damage.
The NFL can fine and suspend players for vicious hits, but suspensions won’t change how big and fast the players are, and it won’t change the culture that compels players to return to the field earlier than they should, or fans to clamor for bigger hits and more games. This is football.
On Monday I took a break from thinking about concussions and the 1-4 Cowboys and Brett Favre’s penis to talk to a friend that’s not a sports fan. We were debating the merits of a program in Great Britain that was offering drug addicts about $320 to be sterilized, ensuring that they won’t have kids and then raise those children in a broken home, ultimately creating more problems for society.
Depending on your perspective, it’s either pragmatism at its best or cynicism at its worst. You can make convincing arguments for both sides. And it’s more analogous to the NFL than you’d think. As football continues its evolution in the 21st century, the moral gray area typically reserved for debates like “addict sterilization” has begun to creep into football, one arena we could always count on for an escape. These days, the NFL makes us feel just as uncomfortable as the real-life dilemmas we want to escape.
For instance, NFL players don’t have guaranteed contracts, and they’re paid less than you think. Chris Johnson is the best running back in the NFL, and he makes just $2 million. That sounds like a lot, but the best shooting guard in basketball makes $20 million. But NFL players are quite literally spare parts in a much bigger machine. Teams invest as little as possible in them, use them until they break, and then they get a new one. Fans root for their favorite player until he gets cut to create cap space, and then they get a new one. Most of the players lack the education necessary to manage their money, leaving them with little to show for after it’s all over. Oh yeah, and the shelf life for pro football players gets shorter every year, all while ticket prices skyrocket and the NFL signs billion dollar TV contracts, and franchises appreciate by the hundreds of millions. When you look up close, it’s not pretty.
And that’s all before we talk about the head injuries that prompted an ex-player to explain:
The headaches come in the morning. Tylenol, half a pot of coffee, and then hope they subside by lunch. Standard procedure for most NFL veterans who have had concussions. The price of admission, really, when you play on Sundays.
Even five years ago, I would have heard the NFL’s proposed 18-game schedule and said, “More football! What could possibly be bad about that?” But today, we know too much. The danger’s obvious to anyone that saw the Desean Jackson hit on Sunday. On some level, football ensures destruction for the people that play it. And now we’re going to play more? As Colts President Bill Polian explained the 18-game schedule:
I think that the owners, and principally the commissioner, have decided that it’s the way to go, and so the debate, such as it was, is over.
“I think it’s a win-win all around,” said Patriots owner Bob Kraft. Indeed, NFL ratings are higher than ever, and America wants more. So an 18-game regular season looks like the next logical step. The debate, such as it should be, doesn’t seem to be happening.
Literally and figuratively, football’s only getting bigger. The players, the popularity, and the money that mitigates everyone’s reservations. But then, with the league getting more exposure every year, the evidence becomes harder and harder to ignore. Football isn’t just dangerous. It’s potentially life-altering for the players. So as the NFL’s growth continues, what happens?
Do we trust a billion dollar corporation to look out for the best interests of its employees? If not, does Congress step in and change the rules? Do we need a fleet of independent doctors to oversee the care of NFL players? Whose jurisdiction is it to tell millionaire players how to take care of themselves? Are we worshiping a bunch of players that are ultimately disposable?
And right now, are we paying NFL players to sterilize their brains, rendering them useless for future generations, but priceless for as long as they can make the Pro Bowl?
The answers aren’t clear, but these questions aren’t going away. The scale will only grow. The money will only get harder to resist. For players afraid of losing their jobs, for owners seeking an extra two games, for networks reluctant to focus to much energy dwelling on the ugliness of the most popular sport in American History.*
All the while, the game gets bigger. But so does the text accompanying that asterisk.
The bigger the NFL gets—bigger and faster players, more highlights, 18 games—the more unforgivable that asterisk becomes. The NFL’s greatest asset is its greatest enemy here. We all see the hits, we all see the famous, punched-out veterans losing sanity in retirement. If it’s not Ted Johnson, it’s Junior Seau. And for now, we can look past it all. Desean Jackson’s severe concussion will subside, and he’ll be back soon. In the meantime, we’ll watch Jeremy Maclin.
But what happens when someday, somebody dies playing the most popular sport in American history?
This is a considerable play by the NFL in the ongoing chess match were former players health is involved. PK
Two months ago, Boston Universityresearchers found that some deceased athletes who had been found to have A.L.S. in fact had a different disease that, the doctors said, caused similar degeneration of the central nervous system. That discovery, bolstered by data that suggested that N.F.L. players had been found to have A.L.S. at rates about eight times higher than normal, led the researchers to link the players’ condition with athletic brain trauma.
The N.F.L. and the players union said in a release that players with A.L.S., similar to those with dementia, do not “need to demonstrate that the condition was caused by their participation in the NFL.”
Asked whether the program implies a connection between football and the conditions, the league spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail: “It does not address the issue.”
The 88 Plan has awarded $9.7 million toward the care of 132 former N.F.L. players, according to the release. One year ago, a union lawyer’s analysis of the ages of 88 Plan recipients indicated that the prevalence of dementia among N.F.L. retirees was several times that of the national population.
Chris Nowinski, a member of the Boston University research group, said that the inclusion of players found to have A.L.S. into a plan run by the N.F.L. and its players union sent an important message.
“I think it’s an acknowledgment that there is strong evidence that the reason N.F.L. players get A.L.S. much more often than the general population is the trauma they endured in sports,” Nowinski said. “We still have a lot more to learn.”
Several studies have identified members of the United States military — particularly combat soldiers — at heightened risk for A.L.S. The disease is considered related to military service in the determination of veterans’ benefits.
The NFL is feeling pressure from the media – which is good news for player safety. PK
NFL players might soon be suspended for dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits, vice president of football operations Ray Anderson told the Associated Press on Monday.
Sunday’s games provided several possible reasons why Anderson might be talking about the subject. Here’s one, Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson getting drilled by Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson during the Eagles’ 31-17 victory over the Falcons:
Here are two more, both provided by Pittsburgh’s James Harrison, who knocked Cleveland’s Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi out of the game in the Steelers’ 28-10 victory over the Browns:
“There’s strong testimonial for looking readily at evaluating discipline, especially in the areas of egregious and elevated dangerous hits,” said Anderson, who added that the changes could come quickly, after approval from Commissioner Roger Goodell and consultation with the players union.
“Going forward there are certain hits that occurred that will be more susceptible to suspension. There are some that could bring suspensions for what are flagrant and egregious situations.”
The latest on youth hockey and concussion. PK
From the N.H.L.’s top goalie to the parent of a 12-year-old who sustained head and spinal concussions from a body check, calls are proliferating for changes to the culture of a sport that many see as too accepting of reckless body contact and serious injury.
The movement for change in hockey comes before a medical conference on Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where representatives from the N.H.L. down to youth leagues will meet to discuss recommendations aimed to reduce the occurrence of concussions and other serious injuries, primarily in youth hockey.
Prompted by statistics indicating a high rate of serious injury among players ages 11 to 14, the measures are expected to include pushing back the age at which body checking is introduced in the United States and some Canadian provinces to 13 from 11.
Another measure would encourage the establishment of nonchecking recreational leagues for youth players. Such leagues are virtually nonexistent in areas of the United States where hockey is popular.
Among the recent findings from medical studies to be presented at the Mayo Clinic conference is this statistic from Alberta, where body checking is allowed for 11- and 12-year-olds: among the 9,000 players of that age in the province, an estimated 700 concussions occur each season.
The findings come from a study conducted by Dr. Carolyn Emery of the University of Calgary of 2,000 11- and 12-year-olds in Alberta and Quebec. It showed that Alberta players sustained four times as many concussions as the Quebec players and three times as many serious injuries, those that sidelined a player for a week or more. Quebec does not allow body checking until 13. It further found that if body checking in Alberta were pushed back to age 13, the annual number of serious injuries among 11- and 12-year-olds there would fall by an estimated 1,000, and concussions would fall by an estimated 400.
“Why are we insisting that our boys play the game in a way that we ourselves as adults would not, because we don’t want to get hurt?” said Dan Pinti, a Buffalo parent whose son, Zach, sustained head and spinal concussions after being checked into the boards as a 12-year-old four years ago. Pinti called the play “a perfectly reasonable, legal, bang-bang play.”
Pinti said his son missed almost a week of school and the rest of the hockey season. The next season, when the Pintis could not find a nonchecking youth league in western New York, Zach gave up the sport.
“You can’t play recreational, noncontact hockey in the Buffalo area until you’re 18,” said Stephen Sementilli, a USA Hockey-certified coach in the city. Jeff Hughes, another Buffalo-area coach who has been involved in efforts to establish noncontact house leagues, said they had been voted down because of a shortage of available ice and because of a belief that delivering and receiving hits at a young age builds character and makes for better hockey players.
Dr. Michael J. Stuart, an organizer of the two-day conference at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, said that the meeting was the latest in a series of similar conferences in North America and Europe prompted by a steady rise in reported concussions in hockey in the last decade.
“The whole sportsmanship and mutual respect thing is in every facet of the game,” said Stuart, a professor of orthopedic surgery at Mayo and the chief medical officer for USA Hockey. Stuart supports a ban on body checking until 13, when players are more physically mature, have been taught better balance and body control and, presumably, are inculcated with the principles of fair play.
“We need to continue to emphasize sportsmanship and mutual respect, to not take advantage of a vulnerable opponent, to not throw a check at the expense of the health and safety of an opponent or yourself,” he said.
The Mayo conference, which will be attended by officials from USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, the N.H.L., the International Ice Hockey Federation and equipment manufacturers, comes at a time when the N.F.L. is also studying the severity of concussions and how to best prevent them.
The N.H.L.’s traditional culture of hard, injurious hitting versus changing notions of fair play was in the spotlight last week after the Buffalo Sabres’ Jason Pominville sustained a concussion when the Chicago Blackhawks’ Niklas Hjalmarsson sent him into the boards with an illegal check from behind. The N.H.L. suspended Hjalmarsson for two games.
After the game, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, the Vezina Trophy winner last season as the N.H.L.’s top goalie, said, “That’s what we have to get away from in hockey right now, is the culture of ‘I was trying to make a play; therefore it’s not my fault.’ ”
Miller, who is a member of the N.H.L. rules committee, added: “No matter if it’s unintentional, we have to change the culture of it if we’re ever going to change the situations we’re seeing, where guys on the ice are bleeding and missing time with concussions. It’s completely an unnecessary play.”
This season the N.H.L., responding to pressure from the players union, passed rules — including banning blindside checks to the head — intended to reduce the number of head injuries.
This week, reducing head injuries in the game will be the focus for all levels of the game. Among the findings to be presented at the Mayo conference, all from academic studies over the past three years:
¶Concussions account for 18 percent of all hockey injuries.
¶Women’s hockey has the highest rate of concussions among N.C.A.A. sports, despite not allowing body checking.
¶The rate of reported concussions for youth players (23.15 per 1,000 player game hours) is only slightly lower than that for N.H.L. players (29.59).
Zach Pinti, the Buffalo player who quit hockey, is now 16 and playing lacrosse.
“It’s a good deal safer than hockey but still a risky sport, so I think it’s proof that I’m not an overprotective parent,” his father, Dan Pinti, said, adding: “The thing that was so difficult in hockey was the attitude among so many people. They just weren’t taking seriously all the statistical research and medical evidence that showed there might be something wrong with 12-year-old kids playing like it was the N.H.L.”
“I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older.” ~Michel de Montaigne
In an NFL game between the Eagles and Falcons, there was an extraordinary collision that spoke to all that I love and despise about football, the sport that was and is a great part of my life. It was a play run countless times each football weekend: the quarterback throws a pass to his receiver running a crossing route, wherein said receiver DeSean Jackson is greeted – violently – by cornerback Dunta Robinson. The result of the high-speed tackle was unconsciousness, times two. A double knockout blow that stopped the game, emptied both team sidelines of their medical teams for assessment and players for hand-holding prayer. Seventy thousand spectators watched and prayed and hoped that their Hero’s would arise. That scene, that violence that level of injury – and yes I assure you their were two brain injuries – is the part of the game that I despise .
Finally, after a relative eternity in which helpless fans, coach’s and players quietly waited, both players were helped to their feet, then off the field as the crowd applauded in relief. As Dunta and DeShaun passed each in route to respective sidelines, they paused and asked one another if they “were okay?” That profound display of respect and sportsmanship, just minutes after play that damaged both, is the part of the game that I love. PK