Reach your Highest Potential as an Athlete

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Members of the towson women's lacrosse team schedule individual practices to spend extra time working on (Photo by: Alexa Demski/TU Student)

Members of the Towson Women’s lacrosse team schedule individual practices with volunteer coach, Mike Molster. (Photo by: Alexa Demski/TU Student)

Every athlete wants to find success both on and off the field. But there is more too being successful then meets the eye. There are many different aspects that go into the process that most athletes are unaware of.

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Female Athlete Injuries: the Athlete vs. theTrainer

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Towson University athletic trainer, Mike Leonard-Garner, evaluating one of his female athletes for a foot injury sustained during practice. (Photo by: Alexa Demski/TU Student)

 

The recent increase in injuries among female athletes of all ages has recently been a highly debated issue. Listen to this story about how the Towson University athletic trainers and female athletes feel about this issue.

Once Upon An Almost Untold Story

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“I was absolutely terrified…you are not only competing with books from 2012, but Hemmingway and Harry Potter,” said Baltimore author, Lauren Small, as she describes how she created a publishing company just to get her novel published.

Small is an older woman with wisdom and knowledge in the book writing process beyond her years. She is a dedicated, hardworking author who started something from nothing in order to get her work out into the world.

Her company, Bridle Path Press, has now published four books, and plans on publishing three this year and at least one the year following.

“We’re unique and there is no one else like us,” says Small. Their different structure is what attracts authors who are unable to get published by mainstream publishing companies.

Bridle Path Press has a relationship with its authors in which every author helps each other. Whether from editing or getting the word of each other’s novels out. In the end you must work for your book to be published and to become a success, just as Small did back in 2007.

After college, Small left her hometown of Denver and moved to Baltimore to begin her quest of getting the history of her family put down on paper. “Finding out where you come from should be the most important thing to someone,” says Small.

After completing her first novel, without success in getting it published, she moved on to writing her next one, Choke Creek.

Choke Creek came as a result of research for her first novel, when she came across the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 which “fascinated and horrified” her. “Being from Colorado, and never hearing of this angered me,” said Small. “Why did no one ever talk about it and why was it deliberately covered up.”

It bothers Small when people don’t tell the truth. So she made it her job to get the truth out about what really happened back then and why it had been covered up. According to a friend of Small, “She has a nose and intolerance for scandal and inhumanity. She is attracted to the untold horrific story.”

In 2007 Choke Creek had been completed and it was time for the real challenge. Small explained that there is more to writing than just “putting on your creative hat and writing whatever you want.” You also need to figure out how to get your work out into the world.

To Small’s dismay she found herself back in the same boat as she was with her first novel; no one would publish her book. She knew this was a story that had to be told, but found it virtually impossible for anyone to back her. According to Small, fiction is the hardest thing to make money on in today’s society.

She had two options: Put it aside and think oh well it didn’t work out, or put her money where her mouth was and publish the book herself.

She chose option two.

To publish this book Small found that again she had two options: Use the Internet and on demand publishing or start her own business and not only help herself but other struggling authors like her.

Once again, she chose option two.

Small set aside $1,000 for the legal fees and startup costs. While publishing her novel she found that she was able to keep most of the costs to a minimum.

The largest costs for publishing a book are proof reading, a book designer, ink and paper. In an era where book publishing is now open to the average citizens due to the Internet, tons of people have been laid off in the industry.

Among those people Small found an editor willing to work for a small fee. She also found a Baltimore University design student wiling to create her book design for free in exchange for school credit.

Bridle Path Press published Choke Creek in 2009. “Your book is one cornstalk in a mile long cornfield,” says Small. Once a book is published you have to plan where you want to and will find success.

Small wanted her novel to be used by teachers in schools, so she got in touch with every teacher she knew and started passing the word along. When you publish your own book, you are in charge of marketing it. Once the book started selling she was able to pay back the price for putting it to print.

Choke creek is now being taught in high schools across the nation.

Small keeps her business small because of the intensive process. She doesn’t want to be a full time publisher because her primary occupation and passion is writing. She never wanted to publish her own book, but feels that she was forced into the business world because of her struggles of getting her work published in an era where publishing companies are dwindling.

She is proud of Bridle Path Press and what it is they are doing. They have not only helped her become a published author but have helped other struggling author’s dreams come true too.

It’s pronounced……Uh-Lex-Uh

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Hello Cyber World and welcome to my newest Blog Category MCom 258:Journalism & New Media II. My name is Alexa Demski for those who are new to my page. I am now a Senior at Towson University and am currently majoring in Electronic Media & Film with a minor in Mass Communications.

I have always aspired to be a sports broadcaster while I was growing up…..the next Erin Andrews I would tell people. But now in recent years I have found that my heart can be found in entertainment. The way that we as a society watch, follow and even become obsessed with entertainers and their every day daily lives is something that  has always fascinated me. I too am a celebrity gossip junkie so why not be payed to do what you love….right?

Even though I no longer want to be a sports caster I still love sports. I am a huge Baltimore Raven’s fan and will be till the day I die! I also am a huge Towson Women’s Lacrosse fan and not just because I am currently a member of the team. Yes, I am a member of the CAA Conference Champion’s team and have been now for three  going on four years. Sorry for the shout out, as you can see we are still excited about the huge win from last season. If you are still around in the Spring make sure you make some time and come out to some games. I promise they are always exciting and keep you sitting at the edge of your seat! If you are looking for me I’m number 5, or you can just look for the girl with the crazy hair.

This blog will be dedicated to my stories that I research and write throughout the semester. I look forward to all your comments and any feed back will be greatly appreciated!

Cheers to another great semester at Towson,

-Alexa

Are College Athlete Injuries a result of ‘Overuse’?

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Have you ever wondered why injuries occur? If there was a way that you could prevent them or if they are just inevitable when you participate in sports? I myself have been asking this questions for years.

If you are familiar with my blogs, then you are already aware that I myself am a female athlete. I am a proud member of the Women’s lacrosse team at Towson University. I have been playing lacrosse since I was five years old, along with a handful of other sports.

Just recently I obtained a season-ending injury when I tore my ACL in my left knee in our final game of the season on April 22,2012. I can honestly say that the first questions to pop up in my head were why? Why now? If I had done something different would this have happened? How could I have prevented this?

The doctors told me that it was a “ticking time bomb”, and was bound to happen sooner or later in my sports career. But if that were so, then why doesn’t everyone tear there ACL? For those people who don’t then what are they doing differently than me? Those were more questions that I kept asking myself.

So I began to look online to see if I could find some possible answers to my questions. On the Science Daily website there was a recent article from April 12, 2012 posted that was titled,  Nearly 30 percent of all College Athlete Injuries a result of ‘Overuse.’

A study has found was that most often in “low-contact sports that involve long training sessions or where the same movement is repeated numerous times — make up nearly 30 percent of all injuries sustained by collegiate athletes” (Science Daily.) During the study they also found that 62 percent of the overuse injuries occurred in females athletes.

To these results I would have to agree that athletic injuries seem to occur more throughout the female gender. Throughout my athletic history I have found that more of my female friends have sustained injuries such as tendentious, inflammation, sprains and tears.

This new study was published in the current edition of the Journal of Athletic Training, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association scientific publication.The study sample consisted of “573 male and female collegiate athletes from an NCAA Division I institution participating in 16 team sports”  (Science Daily.)

According to the study co-author Tracey Covassin, “Understanding the frequency, rate and severity of overuse injuries is an important first step for designing effective injury-prevention programs, intervention strategies and treatment protocols to prevent and rehabilitate athletes with these types of injuries”  (Science Daily.)

The study found that, “Overuse injuries tend to occur gradually and are caused by repeated small injuries, without a single, identifiable event responsible for the injury” (Science Daily.) Whereas, injuries occurring in high-speed and full-body-contact sports are “more likely to be acute injuries, which result from a specific and identifiable event”  (Science Daily.)

Through my research I found that though I cannot eliminate the possibility of overuse, it is not the main reason for my injury. Through my injury records I had hyper-extended and sprained my LCL three times before actually tearing my ligament. Thus why the “ticking time bomb” explanation was brought up. Throughout each time that I injured my knee, I just loosened the ligaments a little more than they should have been.

In addition to loosening my ligaments, on the actually day I tore my ACL it was raining outside and abnormally cold for the spring temperatures we are normally use too. With the prior injuries and the weather, this was also our final game of the season. That meaning that we had already been practicing almost everyday since January 9th.

So even though lacrosse isn’t considered to be a sport that has a history of overuse injuries, I wouldn’t eliminate that as a possibility because there is repetition is our motions.Whether exhaustion, overuse, the weather or if it was completely inevitable the injury has already occurred. Hopefully soon enough they will find better prevention tips for ACL tears, so that no other athletes have to miss their seasons.

Work Cited

Michigan State University (2012, April 12). Nearly 30 percent of all college athlete injuries a result of ‘overuse’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 7, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2012/04/120412113720.htm

Are injuries increasing among younger generations of female athletes?

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I have been involved in athletics since I was 5-years-old. I have played lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, basketball, dancing, and swimming. Throughout the years I have found that the older I get the more injury prone I am. I know that my body can no longer take the wear and tare that athletics puts on it.

While I am in my third year of being a college athlete, I find every day a new injury forming in a new area of my body. I can only wonder why I feel as if I am a middle aged woman, when in actuality I am only 20. If I had waited longer before becoming as serious with sports I wonder if I would have decreased my injury rates.

Vise versa if I had began my athletic career earlier, would I have had more injuries at a younger age? Today’s studies have found that my second statement is accurate. Now a days female athletes have had an increasing issue with the rate of injuries.  My younger sister is only 13-years-old and she has had a severe concussion, two sprained ankles, knee problems, and wrist problems. So what is changing in the sports world that is contributing these rates increasing?

For one I think that the increasing pressures that parents are putting on their children at younger ages is adding to the problem . Girls as young as 3rd grade are taking on the same responsibilities and tasks that are involved with teams as those of high school or college students.

For example parents have been sending their children to personal trainers when they are only in elementary school. Parents have also increased the amount of teams and sports that their children are participating in at one time. I remember that I was only in middle school I was playing rec. field hockey, rec. lacrosse, club lacrosse, club field hockey, basketball, and swimming all during one year. This amount of pressure on a child’s body  at an early age will increase the chance of injuries as they get older.

The reason that parents are adding more pressure on their children at earlier ages is because the recruiting process to make college and professional teams has become way more competitive. In today’s athletic world, girls are expected to start thinking about getting recruited as early as freshman year in high school. So they are taking all the possible opportunities to get scouted.

But is all the pressure really worth it in the end? Take it from someone who has done it……the answer is no! My best advice is to take care of your bodies and injuries when you are growing up, because they will come back to haunt you as you get older.

Can Warming Up Before Exercising reduce injurys among athletes?

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The part of practice that every athlete hates is the warm up. Most don’t even warm up or stretch, and just begin playing immediately. But it has been found that with the proper warm up that the amount of athlete injurys can be decreased.

Scientists discovered this past fall that coach-led neuromuscular warm-up training before athelets are exposed to playing helps reduces lower-extremity injuries. Cynthia R. LaBella, MD, from the Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues conudcted a study that invited coaches, and out of all the coaches invited 90 completed the study, representing 105 teams.

The warm up combines progressive strengthening with plyometric, balance, and agility exercises. Compared with athletes who were not properlly warmed up, the coaches who implemented the warm up before every practice had a 44% decrease in acute noncontact lower-extremity injuries and a 34% decrease in noncontact ankle sprains among players in the intervention group.

I completely agree with this study. I know from history and tons of experience playing a sport that without stretching you increase your risks at cramping, pulling, tearing, twisting and tweaking anything on your body. Warming up before you become involved in any type of exercise helps to loosen your muscles. It alsohelps to gradually get your body ready to increase the high amounts of energy that it is about to use.

Other experts have found that warming up before a practice is very important for the following reasons:

  • Increased movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
  • Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This prevents you from getting out of breath early or too easily.
  • Prepares your muscles for stretching
  • Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure
  • Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
  • Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
  • Improved coordination and reaction times

As an amateur athlete you don’t spend much time thinking or researching the benefits that warming up can do for your body. Most think of it as tedious and a waste of time. Thats why it is very important to have coaches or any person incharge follow through on making sure that their players are properly warmed up and stretched before they begin to play. This is the perfect way to make sure that your athletes are preparing themselves physically and mentally.