Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 National Athletic Trainers Association Conference

The 2010 NATA convention was the place to be last month to learn about injury care and prevention. Here are some of the highlights:

Why are the lower extremities so important in the baseball pitching motion? Research shows that more than half of the energy transferred to a pitched baseball comes from the hips and below. The shoulder and elbow are the weaker links in the chain, so if lower-body mechanics are poor or flexibility is limited, the upper body will be overworked and the injury potential to those areas will be increased dramatically.

The softball windmill pitching motion can be broken into five phases. This study isolated five different muscles--the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, biceps brachii, triceps brachii, and rhomboids--and showed the maximum voluntary isometric contraction for each muscle during each of the five windmill phases. The greatest force in phases one and four came from the gluteus maximus. In phase two, it was the rhomboids. In phases three and five, the most force came from the triceps.

For every minute between a sudden cardiac event and the start of defibrillation, survival rate decreases by seven to 10 percent--so those lost minutes can literally mean life or death. Get that AED to the athlete as quickly as possible. Know the location of your AED and how to use it. The AED will determine whether the heart has stopped before delivering a shock, so it should be apply it quickly and start CPR!

Remember HITE:
H - Hygiene- wash hands, don't share towels/clothes, wipe down equipment; also Health - staying healthy is the best prevention
I - Identify- is the area red, swollen, painful; also Isolate - if MRSA suspected, get checked and do not have contact with teammates
T - Treat - see a doctor!
E - Educate - for more information see
1. Eat properly all the time to attain your best performance.
2. High school athletes - eat before practice
One Hour Pre-Competition: Stick to liquids, such as water and sports drinks. Avoid high-glycemic beverages such as soda or energy drinks, which have a very high carb ratio that will result in a short energy boost followed by a quick crash.

Two Hours Pre-Competition: Sports drinks along with cereal with low-fat milk, or toast, or a low-fat muffin, or a bagel, or yogurt and fruit.
Three Hours Pre-Competition: Sports drinks, a turkey sandwich with low-fat cheese, yogurt, fruit, and a granola bar.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Importance of Nutrition

Is nutrition important for an athlete?

As Lance Armstrong puts it, "If you get a little behind on hydration and nutrition, the man with the hammer comes and you're done." 

Want to know what to eat?

Email me at and I will send you my Sports Diet and Nutrition for Athletes book for free!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do You Take Anti-inflammatory medications before your workouts?


A study published in the August 2009 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine states,

"the prolonged prophylactic use of NSAIDs [anti-inflammatory medication like Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen)] by athletes is unsafe."

"there is no clilnical evidence to suggest that regular use of NSAIDs reduces injury risk or improves function in the typical athlete."

"a paradoxical consequence of the prophylactic use of NSAIDs by athletes is that these agents can compromise the musculoskeletal system. NSAIDs taken before activity may mask pain and thus cause athletes to inadvertently allow pathology to progress."

"Athlese who regularly take NSAIDs before exercise may have reduced tissue adaptations to prevailing loads potentially predisposing them to future injury."

NSAID use delays fracture healing and also delays "healing of acute ligament, muscle and tendon injuries." They prevent bones, muscles, tendon and ligaments from thickening and becoming stronger.

Athletes taking NSAIDs during competition are at increased risk for bleeding into their kidneys, and for intestinal bacteria to enter their bloodstreams.

from Warden, S. Prophylactic misuse and recommended use on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs by athletes, August 2009 (Vol 43, No 8) British Journal of Sports Medicine, pp. 548-549.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kinesio Tape

Did you see the black markings on the right shoulder Beach Volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh in the 2008 Olympics? That's Kinesio Tape. Developed in the 1970's by chiropractor Dr. Kenzo Kase, Kinesio Tape has taken the sports medicine and rehabilitation world by storm.
The Kinesio® Tape works by acting as a protective stretchy layer over the injured muscle that assists the muscle in its normal function while it is healing. In this way rehabilitative Kinesio Tape reduces pain, swelling, and inflammation while providing functional support to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.

Kinesio® Tex Tape is completely latex free and is cotton based so it can be used by patients of every age and condition for 3-5 days per application.

What does Lance Armstrong have to say about the pain relieving and effectiveness of Kinesio® Tape:

"Something better than any laser, wrap, or electric massager… the Tape. It is a special hot-pink athletic tape that came from Japan... The pain disappeared -- it was gone." Lance Armstrong, “Every Second Counts”
Read the recent article in the Wall Street Journal for more about Kinesio Tape.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup - A big No, No

Take a look at this newsletter from Dr. Gabe Mirkin about high fructose corn syrup. If you are an athlete, read food labels and stay away from this awful ingredient in many foods!

Is high Fructose corn syrup more fattening than sugar from sugar cane and beans?

Possibly. Researchers from Princeton University report that rats become more obese by drinking high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) than by drinking sucrose, sugar from cane and beets (Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, March 18, 2010). Rats fed high-fructose corn syrup drinks in addition to their standard rat food gained much more weight than rats given sugar water plus their regular diet.

In a second experiment by the same research team, rats on a regular laboratory diet were offered free access to HFCS. Compared to those given only the regular diet, they had a 48 percent greater weight gain, higher blood triglycerides and higher body fat content, primarily in their bellies. Of course, the rats drinking any kind of sugared drink in addition to their meals would gain more weight than rats eating only their regular diet. Sugar water in any form is fattening, and that includes fruit juices.

Both HFCS and conventional sugar (sucrose) contain a mixture of two sugars, glucose and fructose, in nearly the same concentrations: HFCS has 55 percent fructose/42 percent glucose, while sucrose is a 50/50 mixture. So the relative concentrations of glucose and fructose are not important. According to the authors, the fructose in sucrose from cane or beet sugar is bound to glucose and must be first separated from it, so it is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream. The manufacturing process for HFCS frees the fructose from glucose to makes it into a free, unbound form that is absorbed more rapidly into the bloodstream. This caused the rats to have *a higher rise in blood sugar, associated with cell damage in diabetics, *a greater production of insulin that increases heart attack risk, *a higher rise in triglycerides, and *abdominal obesity associated with increased risk for heart attacks and diabetes. However, this has not yet been demonstrated in humans.

The glucose in regular sucrose from cane or beet sugar may be safer because it is more likely to be stored as glycogen, in the liver and muscles, where it is used for energy. If the unbound fructose from HFCS is more likely to be converted to fat, it would make you fatter and increase risk for heart attacks and diabetes. Again, this has not been proven in humans.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Protein and the Athlete

Here is another great newsletter entry from Dr. Gabe Mirkin:

High-protein meals eaten immediately after hard exercise have been shown to help athletes recover faster, but the data that taking protein during exercise improves an athlete's performance is extremely weak.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK, showed that adding protein (19g/hour) to a sugared drink does not improve one-hour cycling time trial, maximum power; or post exercise isometric strength, muscle damage (CPK) or muscle soreness (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June 2010). Protein also does not help athletes cycle faster in a 50-mile time trial (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, August 2006). Most studies showing that adding protein to a carbohydrate drink improves performance were in people working at a fixed rate of effort over a long time, rather than using spurts of energy as athletes do in competition.

Just about everyone agrees that taking in a carbohydrate drink helps improve performances in athletic events lasting more than an hour. In events lasting more than three hours, you also need salt. Calories come from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. During highly-intense exercise, your muscles use carbohydrates far more efficiently than proteins or fats. So carbohydrates are the calorie source of choice during intense exercise.

All sugared drinks except those with added artificial sweeteners contain eight percent sugar because that is the concentration at which the drinks taste best. You can increase endurance equally with fruit juice, special energy drinks or sugared carbonated soft drinks. Adding caffeine to the drink increases endurance even more because it helps to preserve your stored muscle sugar.