Training & Conditioning, 13.5, July/August 2003, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/tc/tc1305/bulletinboard.htm
Ultrasound On The Mound
In hopes of spotting problems before they become injuries, researchers in Philadelphia are studying the use of ultrasound for baseball pitchers. Looking at the elbows of healthy professional pitchers, they found that ultrasound scans were able to spot abnormalities in the ulnar collateral ligament that may predict future risk of an elbow injury.
The UCL can be torn as a result of sudden trauma, but the more insidious tears often result from microtears produced by repetitive stress and other abnormalities. Not only are these asymptomatic, but there has not been a good way to screen athletes for them.
The Thomas Jefferson University Hospital researchers, which include a team physician for the Philadelphia Phillies, looked at the UCL in 26 asymptomatic major league baseball pitchers. They found that the thickness of the anterior band of the UCL varied significantly between pitchers’ pitching arms and their non-pitching arms, both during rest and when applying stress. The joint space width did not vary significantly when their arms were tested at rest, but when stress was applied, the joint space was significantly greater in the pitching arms. Perhaps most interestingly, ultrasound showed microtears on 18 pitching arms and calcifications on nine; microtears were found on only three non-pitching arms and no calcifications were found on non-pitching arms.
The researchers concluded that dynamic ultrasound is a quick, painless way to evaluate the UCL in baseball players. They plan to follow up with all 26 players to see how well their findings correlate with future problems, in the hopes of being able to someday tailor training to address UCL problems before they become serious. Their results appeared in the April issue of Radiology.
Another Supplement Under Scrutiny
Chromium picolinate, thought by some to trim fat and build muscle, is the latest supplement to raise warning flags. University of Alabama researchers are saying it may cause sterility in a user’s children and grandchildren. The study was conducted on fruit flies and supports earlier research on rats that showed similar results.
Although it may not be as well known as ephedra or androstenedione, sales of the substance now exceed $87 million a year. The findings were published in the April 1 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
NSCA Strengthens Certification Test
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recently announced some changes to its Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) exam that will make it more difficult to receive certification. According to the Association, “the new exam format will include a greater number of practical/applied questions that are designed to more effectively assess a candidate’s ability to apply knowledge and critique exercise lifting techniques and testing protocol skills.”
More information can be found by clicking through the links on the NSCA Certification Commission’s Web site, www. nsca-cc.org, or going directly to www.nsca-cc.org/exam_info/exam_changes_2003.html.
Pregnant Player Files Title IX Suit
A former women’s basketball player at Sacred Heart University filed suit in March against the school and coach, charging that her dismissal from the team—and loss of her scholarship—on the grounds of being pregnant were discriminatory. According to a brief filed by the Women’s Law Project, sophomore center Tara Brady was dismissed from the team after notifying Head Coach Ed Swanson that she was pregnant. Instead of being registered as a medical redshirt, as specified in NCAA regulations, Brady found her full scholarship revoked.
Although Brady appealed the decision and her scholarship was renewed the following year, Coach Swanson reportedly would only speak with her through an intermediary. Brady transferred to Division II West Chester University, where she is currently a part-time student on partial scholarship. The Women’s Law Project has filed the suit claiming discrimination under Title IX.
Turf Increases Risk of Injury
Artificial turf has many advantages over its natural cousin, but it has long been blamed for increasing the risk of leg injuries among those who play on it. Now a recent Canadian study backs that up, with some interesting side findings. The five-year Canadian study, published in the May 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, looked at collegiate football athletes. It found that the risk of injury was as much as two times higher when the game was played or practiced on artificial turf.
The researchers also found that players’ injury risk increased with the number of years they played. More experienced players were more likely to be injured, regardless of their injury history. The authors note that this could be due to senior players getting more playing time and possibly having a more aggressive style of play.