Archive for November, 2015

A “Thank You” to the volunteers

November 24, 2015
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Photo courtesy Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

In this season of thanks and giving, it’s only appropriate that we pause to thank so many people who make sure that our many events come off smoothly.

It’s estimated that about a quarter of Americans, 25.3 percent to be exact, volunteered for an event or cause in 2014. That works out to about 62.8 million people volunteering at least once, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among volunteers with children under the age of 18, the Bureau says that 46 percent of the mothers and 38.6 percent of fathers volunteered, mainly for an education or youth service organization. Break that down a little more and 9.4 percent of the men who volunteered for sports teams did so as a coach, referee or supervisor, The women were more likely to serve food (think concession stands) and fund raise.

And that’s just the tip of the volunteering iceberg for youth teams: Handling team apparel, taking team photos, making sure everyone gets those all-important snacks, organizing and taking care of facilities, even organizing special fundraising events, all are important and almost all are taken care of, by volunteers. And yes, usually those volunteers are mom and dad.

But there are those who volunteer because they love the sport: Whether it’s track and field, fencing, basketball or gymnastics, those who perhaps played the sport as a youth now give their time and talents to help the next generation enjoy the sport as much as they did.

So in this season of giving thanks, take a moment to thank those who volunteer to make sure your events are professional and safe.

 

NASC Upcoming Webinars – Register Now

November 18, 2015

Mark your calendars now! We have a great line-up of both Best Practices Webinars and Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below, and reserve your spot today!



Tips for Building Community Relationships
Best Practices Webinar
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Building relationships within your community is essential to the success of sporting events you host. From venue support, event management, volunteer recruitment, fundraising and sponsorships, your local community holds the resources that rights holders look for when awarding events. Join Bonny Bernat of Visit Winston-Salem as she shares best practices used in hosting events in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. If you are unable to join us on the 24th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).



USA Triathlon

Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Thursday, December 17, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Brian D’Amico, National Events Senior Manager, USA Triathlon, as he discusses USA Triathlon and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 17th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).



Webinar Archives

If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Best Practices Webinar Archives or our Event Webinar Archives.

Contact the Member Services Department if you have any questions.

Do new rules make soccer safer?

November 16, 2015

Last week the U.S. Soccer Federation avoided further litigation on a class-action lawsuit by agreeing to new rules for youth soccer players. The rules now bar players 10 and younger from heading the soccer ball, and athletes 11 to 13 will be limited in the number of times they can practice headers during practice.

The rules were initiated because a group of soccer parents and players had sued U.S. Soccer, asking for more stringent rules to handle concussions, especially from players heading the ball. But some say the rules don’t go far enough in protecting young athletes.

For example, the Concussion Legacy Foundation says that players 14 and under should never head the soccer ball, but does agree the new rules are a step in the right direction.

But is delaying heading the ball the best way to protect players from concussions? A study released in September from the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that, among high school players studied, heading was responsible for the highest proportion of concussions in boys—30 percent—and girls—25 percent.

The most interesting part of the study, though, is that slamming into another player, rather than heading the ball itself, seems to be what causes the most header-related injuries. Because of that, the authors of the study concluded that banning heading itself won’t have that much effect on preventing concussions, unless it is somehow linked with efforts to reduce contact between players.

And then there is the coaching faction that claims that the U.S. will fall behind the rest of the world in soccer development, if youngsters aren’t taught the “correct” way to play the game from youth soccer on.

Everyone agrees that players need to be kept as safe as possible playing soccer, at any age. Whether it’s mandating the use of headgear or limiting headers, the goal is to keep young athletes, and their brains, healthy. The new rules may be a first step in developing ways to do just that.

Photo courtesy jax youth soccer

Photo courtesy jax youth soccer

The Growth of Adaptive Sports

November 10, 2015

blog picBrian Davis served his country in the U.S. Navy from 2004 through 2009, including an eight-month deployment to the Middle East. But he admits that after a motorcycle accident in 2008 that left him in a wheelchair, he had moments where he sat at home on the couch and felt lost with an uncertain future ahead of him. With a wife expecting at the same time, Davis was going through rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids not knowing what his next move might be.

It was there, during his rehab, that it was suggested he get involved in wheelchair tennis, just one of the nearly two dozen wheelchair and adaptive sports offered at Mary Free Bed.

“I wasn’t really into basketball or anything like that,” Davis said, “but I really enjoyed tennis. It’s been my outlet going on five years now.”

Adaptive and wheelchair sports have been growing dramatically over the last few years, especially with the influx of an estimated 10,000 veterans and active service members now participating in adaptive sports. The interest in the Paralympic Games has also led to sports fitness facilities built especially for adaptive and wheelchair athletes. For example, the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities in Phoenix is a $13 million facility with fitness and aquatics centers, indoor hardwood courts, a climbing wall and more. It also serves as a venue for local, national and international adaptive sporting events.

The best thing about the program in Grand Rapids, according to Davis, is the competitiveness. “I’ve always been competitive; I’ve always loved testing myself against others. Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t be active.”

Davis and his wheelchair tennis team travel across the country for matches, including one memorable one in Dallas. “I’ll never forget that,” he said, “we were there in the middle of the summer in 98° weather with 90 percent humidity.” Other not-so-humid stops for the team of around 20, plus coaches, have included Fort Wayne and Chicago, among others.

Mary Free Bed’s sports offerings, besides wheelchair tennis, include such sports as wheelchair softball, sports camps, wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, open water fishing and many more. “That’s the great thing about the programs,” Davis said. “It’s a variety, not the same thing over and over.”

And programs keep growing, mainly because of word of mouth, according to Davis. “In tennis we have a banquet, and we show off what we do. The word spreads to other athletes who may want to try it, and we are fortunate enough that we’re exposed to sponsors who want to help out.”

It was because Davis was willing to try this new sport, that he is an enthusiastic supporter of wheelchair tennis. “Getting out and doing is better than sitting at home and feeling sorry for yourself,” he said. “I admit it was a rough patch for me at the beginning, but one, my newborn daughter got me through, and two, seeing others getting involved really encouraged me.”

And his advice to others considering adaptive or wheelchair sports? “Just try it,” he said. “It has added so much to my life. It can do the same for you.”

For more information on the Mary Free Bed sports programs, visit http://www.maryfreebed.com/rehabilitation/wheelchair-adaptive-sports/.

NASC Upcoming Event Webinars – Register Now

November 4, 2015

It’s hard to believe 2015 is coming to an end! We are closing out the year with a great line-up of Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below and reserve your spot today!


Orienteering USA
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Thursday, November 19, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Glen Schorr, Executive Director, Orienteering USA, as he discusses Orienteering USA and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 19th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).


USA Triathlon
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Thursday, December 17, 2015
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Brian D’Amico, National Events Senior Manager, USA Triathlon, as he discusses USA Triathlon and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 17th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).


Webinar Archives

If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Event Webinar Archives.

A Show of Sportsmanship

November 2, 2015

This past Halloween, Zach Hougland was supposed to be running for an individual title in the Iowa high school cross country state meet.

He had earned the right to make the trip to Fort Dodge, having come in first at the district championship for Iowa’s Class 2A runners, his fourth trip to state.

Instead, Zach was disqualified for helping a fellow competitor finish the qualifying meet.

The Davis County of Bloomfield senior finished first, but then looked back at the course and saw Garret Hinson, a Mediapolis senior, struggling to cross the finish line, about 150 meters away.

Hinson was trying to finish but his legs and back gave out, so he ended up crawling on all fours to try to make the finish. Zach ran back onto the course, helped Hinson to his feet and guided him to the finish. Both runners, though, were disqualified. The action violated state rules regarding physical assistance of one runner by another.

The help was ruled interference by a runner. The disqualification was made by meet officials and an investigation by the Iowa High School Athletic Association upheld the ruling.

The bright spot in this is that Davis County’s cross country team as a whole placed third and qualified for state, so that gave Zach a chance to run with the team. Davis County came in 14th in the state in the meet Halloween weekend, and Zach was the team’s fastest runner.

The other bright spot was the outpouring of support that Zach received for his unselfish act of sportsmanship. Too many youth sports stories highlight the ugly incidents that can happen in the name of sports. It may have been a disqualification, but for all the right reasons.

Photo courtesy of Joanna McCoy

Photo courtesy of Joanna McCoy