Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter -Soccer!

It seems everywhere you look these days you’re surrounded by soccer. Not only is it possibly the most popular grassroots sport, but soccer also has one of the biggest international sporting events. Have you ever stopped to consider how either a player or a coach gets from the grassroots level to the international stage? Here are a few things to think about: what makes a great soccer coach? Are soccer coaches looking for more than just your ability to play the game? What can I do to prevent injuries while playing? Should I just train my body or my mind too? Another great way to improve your soccer skills is to take in a Canadian National Team Event and learn from some of Canada's best players.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Canada Day – Let’s celebrate Canada’s Sporting Greats!

As Canada celebrates its 143rd birthday, what better way to commemorate this occasion, than by honouring some the great athletes Canada has produced. Now I am not talking about the Wayne Gretzkys, or the Steve Nashes of the world, they are honoured all the time. I mean some of those lesser known athletes who may not have made millions of dollars, but have accomplished great things in the sporting world.

For Example:
Graydon “Blondie” Robinson who won the 1969 AMF Bowling World Cup by only six pins with a 379-373 aggregate. Robinson was the first Canadian to win the world 10-pin championship and the championship's oldest winner at 41.

Myrtle Cook who was a member of the famous “Matchless Six”, Canada’s first ever women’s Olympic Track team. The year was 1928 and despite public protest, women were permitted for the first time to compete in track and field at the Amsterdam Olympics. Myrtle and her three team mates took the gold medal in the 4 X 100m relay. Myrtle went on to win gold in the 100m in meets in Paris and Philadelphia and also set a 100m world record at the Olympic Trials.

Tommy Burns, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1906 to 1908. Despite being only 5’7”, he successfully defeated 6’ tall American Marvin Hart for the heavyweight championship title in 1906 and successfully defended his title 11 times over the next 2 years.

Lucille Wheeler won Canada’s first Olympic Skiing medal, taking home the bronze in 1956. She was also the first North American to win a world championship title, both for the downhill and giant slalom, in 1958. She paved the way for future skiing sensation Nancy Green.

Phil Marchildon Major League Pitcher with the Philadelphia Athletics who had his best season in 1946 after spending two years as a prisoner of war in the infamous German prison camp Stalag Luft III. He finished with a 19-9 record, second in the American League in wins behind All-Star Bob Feller, and even more remarkably-given the state of his health in 1945-Marchildon finished third in the American League in both games started and innings pitched.

Check out these great resources from the SIRC Collection:
  • Canada's baseball legends: true stories, records and photos of Canadian-born players in baseball's major leagues since 1879. Shearon, J. Kanata, Ont. : Malin Head Press. 1994.
  • Gridiron greats of Saskatchewan. Froggett, L. Hamilton, Ont. : Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum. 1995.
  • Canada's Olympic hockey teams: the complete history, 1920-1998. Podnieks, A. Toronto : Doubleday Canada. 1997.
  • Canadian olympic alpine teams 1936-1994. Alpine Canada. Ottawa : Alpine Canada. 1994.

Visit Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame to learn about other great Canadian Athletes. Happy Canada Day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ginger: Beat the Pain and Spice up your Workout

Many natural products and herbs are used to treat and prevent health issues. And on the sports front they are sometimes used to naturally aid in performance. Ginger is one of the 10 most popular natural products used as an alternative therapy for a medical problem (Black & O’Connor, 2010) (Article can be ordered from SIRC). It has been used to treat ailments such as asthma, diabetes, nausea, and stroke, as well as pain conditions like rheumatism and toothache. A recent study, however, focused on ginger’s potential to reduce exercise-induced pain and in particular its use to combat delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Ginger has been shown to reduce pain associated with inflammation and this study demonstrated “that daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury”. While there has been little scientific research comparing ginger to the pain relief of NSAIDs, the side effects of each should be weighed when considering the use of either. The primary adverse effect of long-term use of NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen are gastric ulcers, while the most common adverse effect from ginger consumption was heartburn (Black & O’Connor, 2010). As always it is important to consult with medical and/or dietetic professionals before incorporating new therapies into your routine.

Black, Christopher D. and O’Connor, Partick J. (2010). Ginger: A Spice That May Reign in Pain. SCAN’s Pulse, 29(2), 1-4.
Black, Christopher D., Herring, Matthew P., Hurley, David J., and O’Connor, Partick J (2010). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused by Eccentric Exercise. Journal of Pain, Corrected Proof, 26 April 2010.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sleep Impacts Sport Performance

Participating in sport requires us to be at our best both physically and mentally. For optimal physical performance our brain and central nervous system (CNS) play a key role in biomechanics, muscle activation, reaction and reflex movement, and other physiological functions. In order to work at its best, the brain and CNS need to be well rested. Research has proven that sleep is a clear predictor of performance in skill based sport (Underwood (2010), order article from SIRC.

Our bodies need sleep to help recover from physical and mental stress accumulated during the day. Missing too much sleep has been shown to reduce cardiovascular function by 11% and impact brain function nearly twice as quickly. If an athlete is forgetting information given in a practice or isn’t making effective decisions during sport, chances are they aren’t getting enough sleep. Sleep also affects glucose metabolism which is the main energy source for athletes.

Tips that can help athletes get enough rest without impacting training:
  • Include sleep in your training log
  • Perform active recovery
  • Include massage in your training
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Balance nutrition with training load
  • Eat before exercise
  • Eat for recovery

For more information on sleep and its physiological and psychological impacts please contact SIRC.

Reference: Underwood, John (2010). Sleep: Now Clearly a Predictor of Performance. Coaches PLAN du Coach, 17 (1), 31-34.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Exercise for Persons with a Disability

As we have recently been reminded, an increasing number of Canadians are overweight despite programming being implemented to address the issue (Canadian Community Health Survey). Many programs focus on the general population, but what about those who are Para or Quadriplegic. A recent article from the SIRC Collection discusses the value of exercise for individuals who have little or no voluntary movement (see reference below). The importance of exercising the legs in particular is addressed in their role as the main pump that returns blood to the heart. It is important to perform passive exercise that will help legs retain or improve their flexibility, range of motion, and bone strength, and help in atrophy prevention. Passive/active exercisers can allow the user to exercise from home while in a wheelchair or scooter or to continue their exercise on outings or while on trips. Passive/active exercise is beneficial for those with a wide range of physical disabilities including: paraplegia, quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, arthritis, diabetes, stroke patients or those who have suffered brain trauma.

The Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability also has a variety of resources and information on maintaining an active lifestyle. Resources include:

Reference from the SIRC Collection:
Gray, R. Errol (2009). The Value of Exercise for Para and Quadriplegia, Total Access, Fall 2009, p.10-11.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Injury, Safety and Obesity – Stats Canada releases Canadian Community Health Survey

Today Statistics Canada released its annual Canadian Community Health Survey and the results were very disappointing. Canadians are not only more obese than they were in 2008, but they are also getting injured more frequently when doing physical activity. Canadians are also risking more injury by not wearing a helmet when participating in sports such as cycling. According to the survey 46% of Canadians who cycle do not wear a helmet, even in provinces where there is helmet legislation, Ontario being the worse culprit, falling below the national average at 34% even though it is a province with helmet laws.

About 18% of Canadians aged 18 or older, or roughly 4.4 million people, were classified as obese in 2009, up from 15% in 2003. Despite government and nonprofit programs trying to alleviate this problem, it still persists and is growing worse.

Also this week the Canadian Institute of Wellbeing released two new reports on the well being of Canadians which found that time spent on leisure activities dropped from 15% in 1998 to 12% in 2005 and the proportion of Canadians experiencing high levels of time crunch grew from 16% in
1992 to 20% in 2005.

So how can these statistics improve so Canadians become more physically active and take better care of themselves, when they have less time to do it. The Honourable Roy J. Romanow, Chair of the Canadian Institute of Wellbeing Advisory Board states that "We need family-friendly policies for all workers and more community resources and supports for seniors. We need governments and public policies that support leisure and culture activities and venues - ensuring that equity and inclusion are overarching principles in our approach."

To read more about how you can maintain a balanced lifestyle and encourage employers to create more opportunities for physical activity and leisure see the articles below:

Bodies at Work: Everyone wins when employers provide health and fitness opportunities in the workplace.

The Work-Leisure Paradigm: The Stresses and Strains of Maintaining a Balanced Lifestyle. Lobo, Francis, World Leisure Journal 2006, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p22

Participation in recreational physical activity: why do socioeconomic groups differ? Burton, N.W.; Turrell, G.; Oldenburg, B., Health Education & Behavior Apr 2003: Vol. 30 Issue 2. p. 225-244

Over-scheduling your child and your family. Taylor, J., Ski Racing 6 Dec 2002: Vol. 35 Issue 6. p. 26

Monday, June 14, 2010

Athletics Ontario – a Meet to Remember

This past weekend, the SIRC Toronto Regional Information Specialist attended the Athletics Ontario’s National Qualifier Meet & Ontario Relay & JW 5000m & Combined Events Championships & National Junior Combined Events Championships (I know quite a mouthful). The event was a huge success for both participants and organizers despite the stormy weather. The event took place at the Toronto Track and Field Centre (TTFC) at the York University Campus. SIRC was on hand to promote the SIRC membership to Athletics Ontario Coaches, Trainers and Officials as they now have an association membership. The SIRC booth was visited by over 40 Athletics Ontario coaches and trainers, as well as numerous athletes and parents at the meet. The coaches were very excited about their new membership benefit and eagerly picked up brochures and searching guides. “I’d like to tell you that this is a great service, but I can’t, because it is more than great!” was just one of the comments made by coaches about the Athletics Ontario’s new SIRC membership. Coaches eagerly chatted with the SIRC Information Specialist about LTAD and overtraining as well as sport nutrition and developing effective warm up drills. Coaches and trainers not only talked about how SIRC would help them with their athletes, but also how it would help them in their jobs as elementary school teachers, wellness professionals and safety experts. Students and athletes were interested in SIRC’s career page and monthly newsletter, while parents were eager to know what they should be feeding their athletes before a meet. SIRC was able to meet all their information needs.

CASM Sport Medicine Conference Concludes

SIRC concluded a successful trip to the CASM Sport Medicine Conference held in Toronto. Nancy Rebel and Amanda Street-Bishop represented SIRC on the final day of exhibits and were please to speak with many attendees. Professionals representing the sport medicine, chiropractic and physical therapy fields were pleased to find out about the SIRC services available to them. Particularly well received was the twice-monthly newsletter and access to the SIRC Librarians and Information Specialists to assist in their research needs.

Subjects of interest discussed with the attendees included:
  • Concussions
  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Heat Exhaustion Recovery
  • Injury Rehabilitation
  • H1N1 and Swimming

SIRC is delighted to be working with the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine (CASM) to be providing their members access to the latest in sports science and practitioner resources.

Friday, June 11, 2010

CASM /SIRC Membership Benefits … Ask , Search, Receive

CASM members love SIRC. They love getting the SIRC Newsletters and SIRC Daily Press Releases but have a feeling there is more and they want to know how to tap into it.

Brandie Adams and Nancy Rebel were more than willing to explain some of the additional benefits. The three member benefits they highlighted to CASM were:

Ask A Librarian.
The librarians and information specialists at SIRC are available to answer member questions. It can range from how to register and log in to research for presentations and papers.

SIRC Collection.
We subscribe to hundreds of publications that our members can access providing electronic full text access and/or print document delivery.

Personalized Aisle.
CASM has worked with SIRC to establish a list of hot topics that are then made into an “aisle.” SIRC scans the collection and adds new references to these categories on a regular basis providing members with an easy access point on topics such as concussion, pregnancy and exercise and osteoarthritis.

Nancy Rebel and Amanda Street-Bishop will be at the CASM Conference Exhibit Hall today until 5:00PM. Located in the West Harbour Castle Metropolitan East Ballroom they are ready to answer any questions members may have regarding their SIRC membership.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

SIRC at the CASM-OMA Sport Medicine Conference

Being highlighted at two pre-conference workshops, SIRC started off the CASM Conference with a bang.

First, Reference Librarian, Brandie Adams spoke about membership during the Osteoarthritis Workshop Wednesday morning. Then, the article “The Sport Specific Movement Assessment” by Bruce Craven published in SIRCuit was highlighted during the Injury Prevention session. In the evening, Nancy Rebel and Brandie Adams were on hand to answer questions for CASM delegates ranging from how to log in, to what publications are in the SIRC Collection. Everyone loved that they could email or call one of the SIRC librarians and information specialists. It was great to hear how many people are familiar with SIRC and enjoy the SIRC Newsletters.

If you would like to visit SIRC at the CASM Conference we are located at booth 221-223 in the Metro East ballroom at the Westin Harbour Castle. Located next to the compression garment. booth which ironically is the topic of the latest newsletter!

World Cup Fever – there is no cure!!

This Friday is the first match of the World Cup with home team South Africa playing Mexico at Johannesburg Soccer Stadium and the whole world will be watching. With this being only the third time South Africa has been to the World Cup compared to Mexico’s fourteenth, Mexico is favoured to win, however, anything can happen.

World Cup Fever is highly contagious and it is spreading like wild fire to every village and town throughout the world. You have probably seen it here in Canada. Flags you don’t recognize flying from cars, on front lawns and pasted to apartment windows. Soon random car horns will be heard and in some countries shots will ring out into the night sky. If sport can bring the world together, then football (soccer) is the sport to do it. With 32 teams from all over the globe, everyone can find a team to cheer for.

According to a Statistics Canada Report published in 2008, Soccer is now the number one sport of children age 5 to 14, beating out swimming, hockey, basketball and baseball in participation rates. So why the sudden popularity of Soccer, especially here in Canada? Some say it’s the game’s simplicity that makes it so popular. Others say it is because it transcends wealth. It is played in every country, by every ethnic group and religion. Any skill level can play the game and still enjoy it. You don’t need a proper pitch or even a goal post. No expensive equipment is needed, just a ball and the will to play.

As the world comes together to watch the games, read about some of the heroes of the sport in SIRC’s Collection.

SOCCER SAVIOR. Wahl, Grant, Sports Illustrated 5/24/2010, Vol. 112 Issue 22, p52
The article profiles professional soccer player Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast, who will play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. A discussion of Drogba's athletic ability and popularity, and of the role that he played in helping to end a civil war in the Ivory Coast, is presented.
A GRINGO'S GAME. Segura, Melissa, Sports Illustrated 5/24/2010, Vol. 112 Issue 22, p60
The article profiles professional soccer player Clint Dempsey of Texas, who was born Clinton Drew Dempsey and will play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. A discussion of Dempsey's athletic ability and unique soccer playing style is presented. Dempsey's soccer playing philosophies are discussed.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF HOPE. Geddes, Mike, FIFA World Dec2009, Issue 7, p48
The article features the Khayelitsha Football for Hope Center, the first of the 20 Centres for 2010 as part of the official campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The center will be officially inaugurated on December 5, 2009 after the Final Draw, as part of the Football for Hope Center Kick-Off. Prominent personalities attending the event include Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) President Joseph S. Blatter, Western Cape Province Premier Helen Zille and South African international soccer player Lucas Radebe.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Compression Garments

Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter on -Compression Garments!
Compression garments were originally designed for therapeutic medical use, especially for those suffering from circulatory conditions. However, over the years researchers have come to observe that there could be benefits to wearing compression garments while exercising and participating in sports. Benefits range from muscle fatigue and power production to circulation, even injury prevention and recovery. Although there is still research to be done this area, findings could change athletic attire forever.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Paddling, but not in the pool

May 30, 2010 saw Canada get 7 medals at the World Cup Paddling competition in Szeged,Hungary – does this mean that paddling is in our blood?!! As Canadians we have an abundance of beautiful and breathtaking places to paddle, both competitively and recreationally and more and more Canadians are getting into the sport every year. According to Canadian government statistics, as many as nine million Canadians participate in recreational boating each year and the National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada states that the sales of canoes and kayaks in Canada is a $92 million dollar industry.

So how would one get started paddling? Before purchasing a canoe or kayak, take a lesson to see if it is the right sport for you. That will also ensure that you learn to properly paddle and avoid injury and accidents. The Ontario Recreational Canoe and Kayak Association (ORCKA) has a database on their website to help you find a paddling course near you and there are similar associations across the country.

For competitive paddling look to CanoeKayak Canada. There you can learn about the Canada’s gold medal champions as well as the different levels of competitive paddling: Sprint, White Water and Marathon.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Snack Time … Fueling the Young Athlete!

It's that time of the year when most kids are getting into the swing of their summer sport activities. For those with younger kids, introducing them to the joys of new sports is a rewarding experience. As parents, we see them run, jump and have a great time. At the end of the game there are smiles and excited chatter and the age old question: What's for snack?! So how do we satisfy their hunger and give them the nutrition their body needs?

Before the game, choose foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat, sugar and salt. Protein can be included just keep the overall amount relatively small, as protein can be slow to digest. Suggestions:
  • Yogurt smoothie
  • Granola bar, yogurt and banana
  • Portable fruit or fruit cup
  • Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread

At half-time, kids only need small, easily-digestible snacks at most. More important is the replenishment of fluids during the game. If a snack is necessary, suggestions include:

  • Bananas (cut in half for younger kids so they can peel and eat more quickly)
  • Orange slices
  • Clementines (be prepared to help little ones peel)
  • Grapes
  • Small slices or chunks of melon
  • Apple wedges (sprinkled with orange juice to prevent browning)

Post-game snacks can include carbohydrates and proteins to help kids refuel and re-energize. Suggestions here include:

  • Chocolate milk
  • Fresh, frozen or dried fruit
  • Granola bars or trail mix
  • Fig or oatmeal cookies
  • Crackers or bagels

Always have water on hand to keep their bodies hydrated and if you are providing snacks for your child's team please take into consideration allergy concerns for the other children on the team. Have a fun and healthy summer!

SIRC has compiled a few online resources for feeding the young athlete:

KidsHealth: Eating for Sports

Coaching Association of Canada: Snacks for Young Participants in Community Sports

Sport Nutrition for Active Kids

Healthy pre-game, half-time, and post-game snacks

Quick, healthy snacks before practice

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

After all is said and done … Post-race recovery

Much of Ottawa was focused on the Ottawa Race Weekend this past weekend with Marathon, ½ Marathon, 10K, 5K, and 2K races being run. Many cities across the county are also hosting their marathons during this spring season. As racers, we have put in kilometers worth of training and hours of planning strategies so that we are as prepared as possible to race our best race. So what happens after the race? Have we put in enough thought about how to recover?

The following tips and recommendations are made to help your body and mind recover:

  • Immediately crossing the finish line, try not to stop. Keep you body moving in order to cool it down from exertion. Don’t forget to stretch, eat, drink and rest your body as well.
  • In the days following your race, rest, light training and cross training are recommended in order to let the musculoskeletal system recover and to prevent post-race injury.
  • To avoid the mental let down, enjoy your accomplishments but also plan new target goals (to focus on moving forward with your training.

Make sure that you take into consideration the length and intensity of your race when planning your recovery strategy. It is also important to make sure to consult with health care professionals when any unusual symptoms occur post-race, especially after hot weather events. A little pre-planning can help you get the most out of your race.

In the end, make sure to congratulate yourself on your achievements!