Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ice, Ice Baby!

Ice or heat? This is one of the most frequently asked questions regarding injury management following an acute or slow developing chronic injury. While ice packs and heating pads can be found in almost every household, how do you know which to use and when?

The simple rule is that to promote healing, ice, along with compression and elevation of the soft tissue injury site, is commonly used for acute and recent injuries (less than 48 hours old). The old adage “R.I.C.E.” for “Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation” serves as a quick treatment reminder of how to take care of an acute injury, such as ankle sprains, contusions, jammed fingers, re-aggravated shin splints or plantar fasciitis. Recommendations for sprains and strains includes stopping activity to the damaged area, followed by the early and often application of ice (in combination with compression and elevation) for 15-20 minutes – any longer and the cold temperatures can damage to the skin tissues (even frostbite). Icing treatments can be done repeatedly, but it is imperative to allow the injury site to warm for approximately 45 minutes and return to a normal sensation before applying ice again. Overuse injuries in athletes can benefit from ice treatments after activity as a way to control inflammation.

The application of a heat treatment should be used for chronic conditions to stimulate blood flow to an injured site in that it assists to help relax and loosen up the damaged tissues. However, heat should not be used after exercise nor on an acute injury.

So now that spring has sprung and we are heading straight into summer, the desire to get outside and be more active also arrives. Remember that you don’t have to be an athlete to get injured! Injuries can come doing anything – tripping on the steps, hauling in bags of dirt for your garden, wiping out on your bike ride to the store, or getting kicked in the shin while playing ‘rec’ soccer. So be sure to reach for the ice first!

Contact SIRC for more information on sport injury!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Third Time is the Charm. Regina Wins the 2014 NAIG!

The Saskatchewan capital city of Regina has been chosen to host the 2014 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) after two previous bid attempts in 2008 and 2011. The event will be organized in cooperation with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan, along with the city and the provincial government.

The North American Indigenous Games is a multi-sport event involving indigenous North American athletes. Regina will be required to accommodate more than 10,000 people, including 6,000+ athletes, coaches and other support staff. The 16 sports for NAIG have a variety of divisions for age and gender, and sports range from archery and basketball to lacrosse and rifle shooting. Regina has already successfully hosted the 2005 Canada Summer Games, so the 2014 NAIG will certainly be able to benefit from those physical legacies left behind.

The Indigenous Games “improve the quality of life for Indigenous peoples by supporting self-determined sports and cultural activities which encourage equal access to participation in the social/cultural fabric of the community they reside in and which respects Indigenous distinctiveness.” The first Indigenous Games were held in 1990 in Edmonton, Alberta, followed by Games in 1993 (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan), 1995 (Blaine, Minnesota), 1997 (Victoria, British Columbia), 2002 (Winnipeg, Manitoba), 2006 (Denver, Colorado) and 2008 (Duncan, British Columbia). The 2011 Games were to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but were canceled due to financial constraints.

Contact SIRC for more information on indigenous sport!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Can’t Beat Mother Nature – So Be Prepared

Now more than ever, and especially in light of the tornadic devastation that tore apart the town of Joplin, Missouri on the weekend, the sporting and outdoor recreation community needs a reminder of the power of Mother Nature’s fierce intensity.

As we travel through spring and get into the swing of all our summer outdoor sports programs and activities, all event organizers, officials, participants, parents and spectators should be cognizant of the weather safety rules associated with being outside during Canada’s summer sporting months.

Did you know there is a 30-30 Rule that outlines important safety tips regarding lightening? Take appropriate shelter when the count is 30 seconds or less between lightning and thunder and remain sheltered for 30 minutes after the last thunder. In partnership, Environment Canada and SIRC have quick reference business cards on lightening safety tips that can be printed out and distributed to all constituent groups associated with an event.

Severe weather is most often predicted and communicated by a multitude of resources now. Technology makes it so much easier to be prepared for inclement and dangerous weather systems. But sometimes it all happens so fast. Weather is still something we haven’t figured out how to change or control, so this is why there is value in knowing what is expected so everyone can react quickly and stay safe. Listen to the Weather Network before the game. Turn on the radio. Add a weather application to the Smartphone. Sign up for text alerts. Even get a weather radio. It might just save a life.

Tennis, soccer, softball, golf, cycling, camping or canoeing – know the weather rules before you go.

Visit the SIRC website for more information on weather safety.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games City Named in July 2011

In just over seven week’s time, on July 6, 2011, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will choose the host city for the 2018 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Winter Games. The decision will be made at an IOC Session meeting in Durban, South Africa. Three major international cities are currently in the running - Annecy (France), Munich (Germany) and PyeongChang (Korea).

Since 2002, all IOC voting members are no longer allowed to travel to candidate cities and must rely on the bid city presentations. Only the small team that forms the evaluation committee is permitted to visit the cities, so that they can prepare the reports to share with the rest of the IOC members. Yesterday in Switzerland at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, each city was required to give a 45-minute technical presentation to 88 IOC members, and then be available to answer questions. Part of putting together a bid/ candidate city committee is making sure each city has the right “star” power to promote each bid. The Annecy bid includes triple Olympic alpine champion Jean-Claude Killy, Munich is led by two-time Olympic gold medalist figure skater Katarina Witt, while PyeongChang has 2010 Olympic figure skating champion Yu-Na Kim.

According to reports following the presentations, there is still no clear front runner, as each city could successfully host an excellent and well executed Winter Games. If Munich were to win, they would become the only city to have ever hosted both the Summer (1972) and Winter Olympic Games, while some of their venues include the 1936 Winter Games host city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Some of the events in Annecy would include the 1968 host city of Grenoble, while PyeongChang has bid twice losing out to the Games of 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi).

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games are to take place from February 9-24, 2018.

Contact SIRC for more information on winter sports and the Olympic Games.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch Chia ~ It's Not The Pet It Use To Be!

How to fuel the body is as diverse as the body itself, but it also depends on the nature of the activities being done. “Filling the tank” while engaging in sport or physical activity of any kind involves eating a healthy well–balanced diet, if there is to be a return on investment. Energy drinks, gels and bars provide quick and convenient energy and still gaining popularity as an energy source is the super food - the Chia seed.

What is old is new again. Known as the “Indian Running Food”, the Chia seed is an ancient seed that has been used by tribesman as a source of energy and sustenance for many, many years. Amongst its advantages are that it is lightweight, easily digestible, and is packed with fiber while also offering a complete essential amino-acid package. Even eating Chia on a regular basis will decrease food cravings and assist with weight loss as well. When Chia seeds are mixed with other foods, it displaces calories and fat without diluting any of the flavours. And when it’s made into the Chia gel (by mixing it with water), it displaces rather than dilutes, creates more surface area, and can enhance the flavour rather than dilute it.

Companies such as “Holy Crap”, based in Canada, have developed a ‘breakfast’ mix, while other companies offer up a multitude of recipes where Chia can be successfully added. Best known for its highly successful Chia pet marketing campaign, now there are many ways to actually include Chia into the daily diet, whether you are an elite athlete, moderately physically active, or aiming for some weight loss.

Contact SIRC for more information on super foods or other nutrition topics!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

How Superstitious Are You?

Superstitions have been part of our lives since the beginning of time and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the world of sports! They are mostly developed by an athlete in hindsight, because a particular outcome occurred (positive or negative) when doing a certain ritual. Athletes especially find it necessary to attribute a ‘cause and effect’ to particular results and they will attempt to recreate or avoid it before every competition.

Some of the rituals can include such things as playing a certain song, putting socks on in a particular order, eating favourite foods on game days or predicting doom on Friday the 13th. Others include growing a beard while winning, tapping the goalies pads before the game, or dribbling the ball exactly three times in a certain cadence before the foul shot. And there are many, many more all different from the rest.

But no matter how silly superstitions may seem, and some superstitions are stranger than others, there actually is real value in having them. If an athlete believes that engaging in a specific action or behaviour will make them perform better, then they probably will. This indeed is a foundation of sports psychology and many athletes use these methods to prepare themselves both mentally and physically for competition. Superstitions also offer a confidence boost and a sense of control over an athlete’s environment.

So you can see why many athletes continue to hold on to their assortment of superstitions as cherished traditions. But deep down, they really don’t actually believe in them, but they are not willing to take the chance, and still must act upon the belief and possibility that it may make a difference in the outcome somehow!

Contact SIRC for more information on superstitions or other sport psychology topics!

Monday, May 9, 2011

“The Warning Signs” - Sudden Cardiac Death

The sad facts are that at least 700 Canadians under the age of 35 die from Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) annually, and 50% of those who die suddenly experience at least one of the “The Warning Signs” prior to their deaths. Early medical intervention is the key to preventing SCD in children and young adults since many cardiac arrhythmia disorders are genetic and with proper medical assessment, many of these disorders are identifiable and treatable.

SCD in youth is a non-traumatic and unexpected sudden cardiac arrest that occurs within 6 hours of a previously normal state of health. They are the third leading cause of death in youth behind only suicides and accidents. The Canadian Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation (SADS), a registered Canadian charity, is the only patient advocacy group in Canada dedicated to supporting families affected by inherited cardiac rhythm disorders and committed to raising awareness about “The Warning Signs” for these devastating disorders.

Knowing “The Warning Signs” can help save a life before the condition becomes fatal. They are:
  • Fainting (syncope) or seizure during physical activity
  • Fainting (syncope) or seizure resulting from emotional excitement, emotional distress or startle
  • Family history of unexpected sudden death during physical activity or during a seizure, or any other unexplained sudden death of an otherwise healthy young person
SADS promotes on-going collaborative efforts to educate any group who works with youth including sports organizations, school boards and recreational centres, and this week in Ottawa, SADS will host the “Living with Inherited Cardiac Rhythm Disorders” Conference.

While recognizing “The Warning Signs” is the road to prevention, needing to react immediately at the time of a cardiac arrest is crucial to the survival of the patient as it can all happen so fast. So acting upon the policy recommendation identified in the Canadian Heart Health Action Plan, the Canadian Government has invested in a $10 million initiative dedicated to helping cover the cost of putting a life-saving Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in every hockey arena and recreational centre in Canada that does not have one, and will support training for attendants in using them.

Online resource:
Cardiovascular Screening of Canadian Athletes for Prevention of Sudden Death: Review, Rationale & Recommendations

Contact SIRC for more information about Sudden Cardiac Death in sport!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Playing for a Greener Future"!

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Qatar Olympic Committee (QNOC), hosted the 9th World Conference on Sport and the Environment this week in Doha, Qatar. Joining the hosts were over 650 participants representing National Olympic Committees (NOC), international federations (IF), the Olympic Games organizing committees of London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 and future Games candidate cities, who all raised their voices in a concerted effort to reiterate everyone’s concern with regards to the degradation of the world’s environment. Under the theme of “Playing for a Greener Future”, the Conference assessed the environmental success stories of the Olympic Movement; reflected on future challenges; and explored new opportunities of mainstreaming the environment in the world of sport.

While all participants reaffirmed their commitment to sustainable development, three principal focus areas known as the “Doha Declaration” emerged from the Conference, as the framework for activities related to the three pillars of sustainable development:
  1. Economic
  2. Social
  3. Environment
Part of the plan for a greener future is to engage the youth, recognizing that young people play such an important role in society and in promoting sustainable development. To inspire young people around the world to participate in sports and adopt and live by the Olympic ideals, the IOC established the Youth Olympic Games (the inaugural Games held in Singapore in 2010). To continue on that vein, the conference partners will:
  1. promote the involvement of young athletes in future World Conferences and continental seminars on Sport and Environment;
  2. develop and support educational programs for young people on environment and sustainable development;
  3. raise awareness of young people on sustainable development issues and to spread the Olympic ideals in their local communities through sports;
  4. promote and support initiatives that engage the youth, particularly in under privileged communities, in sustainable development activities.
Contact SIRC for more information on sport and the environment!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sink Your Teeth into Sport Safety!

You can sprain your ankle, break a leg, tear a rotator cuff or sustain bruised ribs, but often overlooked in the world of sports medicine and injuries are those suffered in the mouth. Essential in the prevention of athletic oral/facial injuries are properly diagnosed, designed, and custom fabricated mouth guards. Contact sports such as football, boxing, martial arts and hockey require mouth guards while sports traditionally classified as non-contact sports -- basketball, baseball, cycling, roller-blading, soccer, racquetball, squash, skiing surfing and skateboarding, and the like – recommend properly fitted mouth guards.

It is unfortunate that many athletes, parents and coaches do not recognize that there is a world of difference in the quality and variety of mouth guard products, from "over the counter" models bought at sport and drug stores to those that are professionally manufactured and custom made/dentist prescribed. Currently over 90% of the mouth guards worn are the cheaper “over the counter” stock, and boil and bite models that are bulky, lack retention, and interfere with speaking and breathing; while only 10% are custom-made by a dental professional. Therefore the majority of athletes are not wearing properly made dentally diagnosed mouth guards, so in the end, the purpose may be being defeated – the cheaper mouth guard does not do the job it’s intended to do.

A properly fitted mouth guard must be tasteless, odorless, comfortable, protective, resilient, tear resistant, not bulky, allow for speaking and breathing, and have excellent retention, fit, and satisfactory thickness in critical areas. Don’t let witty marketing schemes, claims, and promotions by stock, and boil and bite mouth guard companies, protect the athletic mouth. In sports, the challenge is to maximize the benefits of participation and to limit injuries, and sports dentistry and mouth guards have a major role to play in this area.

Online Resource:
Academy for Sports Dentistry

Contact SIRC for more information on dental injury and injury prevention in sport!