The Bulletin Board

By Staff

Training & Conditioning, 11.5, July/August 2001,

The Good & Bad of
Sports Participation

The Women’s Sports Foundation recently released its findings from a study on the relationship between participation in sports and health in adolescents. The study, which highlighted both positive and negative factors associated with sports participation, resulted from an analysis of a national survey of 16,262 public and private high school students, grades nine through 12, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Highlights include:
• Athletes (both male and female) are less likely to be suicidal.

• Female athletes are more likely to have a positive body image than non-athletes.

• Female athletes are more likely to wear seatbelts than non-athletes.

• Athletes (both male and female) are less likely to use illicit drugs and smoke cigarettes, but they are no more likely than non-athletes to drink alcohol or binge drink—although highly involved athletes are somewhat more likely to binge drink than non-athletes.

• Male athletes are no more likely than non-athletes to use anabolic steroids, though highly involved female athletes are nearly twice as likely as non-athletes to use them.

• Athletes (male and female) are more likely to use chewing tobacco, with highly involved female athletes three times more likely than non-athletes.

• Highly involved female athletes are more likely to use pathogenic dieting methods.

• Female athletes and highly involved athletes (male and female) are more likely to drink and drive than non-athletes.

For a copy of the report, titled The Women’s Sports Foundation Report: Health Risks and the Teen Athlete, call 800-227-3988, or e-mail a request to

Tobacco May Have Caused Pitcher’s Clots

Atlanta Braves southpaw Damian Moss was recently placed on the DL after doctors discovered two blood clots in his left hand and forearm. A vascular surgeon said that they may have resulted from Moss’ smokeless tobacco habit. Although chewing tobacco has been banned from nearly all of amateur athletics, studies have shown that high school and college athletes continue to use it.

Heart Rate Update

Get ready to adjust all those heart rate monitors. A group of exercise physiologists at the University of Colorado recently revised the formula for determining maximum heart rate. Researchers have been saying for years that the old formula of subtracting a person’s age from 220 leaves too much chance for error. Based on that formula, many elite athletes can hold their heart rate well above the estimated maximum. The new formula, maximum heart rate = 208 - (0.7 x age), they say, is more accurate, but still should not be relied upon in all cases. The study was published in the March issue of The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Gaining an Edge—The Next Level

Beware the next level of performance-enhancing drugs. Researchers say that athletes and their trainers will soon be eschewing the whole idea of drugs and, instead, altering their genes to gain a competitive edge. And authorities fear that not only do we know far too little about the effects of such alterations, but there will be virtually no way to detect them.

Gene therapy is just starting to be used to cure or prevent disease. According to researchers with the International Olympic Committee, some athletes may already be using the same technology to get a foot up over competitors while also evading doping tests. Instead of constantly taking a drug, an athlete may be able to get the same benefits—bulked-up muscle or enhanced oxygen-carrying capacity—for months or even years with a single insertion of genetic material.

The IOC recently met to discuss the issue. The affiliated World Anti-Doping Agency has called a meeting for September—bringing together sports scientists, genetics experts, ethicists, and policy officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health—to try to determine how best to address the issue.

In the May/June issue of T&C, in the article Above the Call, we mistakenly printed an old address for subscribing to the high school athletic trainers’ online discussion list. To join the list, send an e-mail to, and type in the message “Subscribe HS-ATC.”