Bulletin Board

By Staff

Training & Conditioning, 14.4, May/June 2004, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/tc/tc1404/bulletinboard.htm

Female ATCs Make Small Strides
According to the results of a recent study, the number of female head athletic trainers at NCAA schools continues to rise slowly, but still represents less than a third of all such positions. The latest study from Linda Carpenter, PhD, JD, and R. Vivian Acosta, PhD, both Professor Emeritae at Brooklyn College, shows that nearly 40 percent of Division III schools have female head athletic trainers, but that figure drops to just above 20 percent at Division I. Still, that is an increase of 2.7 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively, since 2000.

The number of schools employing full-time athletic trainers—either male or female—also continues to increase, with the highest numbers in Division I (99.9 percent) and the lowest in Division III (91.8 percent). That is up from 96.7 percent and 89.0 percent, respectively, in 2000.

The study focuses on women’s status in intercollegiate sports and shows that while female participation rates continue to grow, the percentage of female head coaches is only 0.1 percent above the all-time low of 44.0 percent. Women also continue to lag far behind men when it comes to filling head administrative positions, with only 18.5 percent of women’s programs directed by a female administrator.

A copy of the 2004 study, "Women in Intercollegiate Sport, A Longitudinal, National Study: Twenty Seven Year Update 1977-2004," is available at webpages.charter.net/womeninsport or through the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports (NAGWS) at (703) 476-3450 or www.nagws.org.

Catchers’ Hands Still Vulnerable
Baseball catchers receive as many as 150 pitches per game, plus upwards of a hundred while warming up pitchers. And that’s just on game day. New research shows that despite improvements in catchers’ gloves, all that catching adds up to microtrauma in the hand, particularly to the blood vessels.

Researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center looked at 36 minor league players who played various positions. The most striking finding was that most catchers had an enlarged index finger on their catching hand—an average of 5 mm larger than their non-catching hand—as well as common complaints of pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness in their glove hand, even when at rest. The increased finger size correlated with abnormal blood flow along the ulnar artery.

According to the researchers, the study shows that microvascular changes are occurring before the catchers develop obvious ischemia in their hands. It also points out the need for further improvement in catchers’ gloves. Their findings were presented at April’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Tissue Engineering May Trump Surgery
Why have surgery for a torn meniscus when you can just grow a new one? It sounds like science fiction now, but some researchers think it may be reality by the end of the decade.

Researchers at the University of Colorado and Massachusetts General Hospital have been working on developing artificial matrices on which to grow cells. Recently, the Colorado researchers were able to grow osteoblasts—cell precursors of bone—on a polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogel. Within a few years, they think they’ll be able to inject the PEG gel into areas of the body and regrow broken or damaged bone or cartilage.

PEG hydrogel is the latest and most promising matrix for growing three-dimensional tissue, according to the researchers. It can be injected as a liquid that turns into a jelly-like substance when light is shined on it. This gel acts as scaffolding on which chemical signals can be embedded to tell the body what to grow there. The scaffolding is biodegradable so that it dissolves after the bone or cartilage is built up, leaving natural tissue.

The latest studies can be found in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research (Nuttelman CR, Tripoldi MC, Anseth KS. "In Vitro Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Photoencapsulated in PEG Hydrogels." March 2004, Vol. 68A, No. 4) and Clinical Plastic Surgery (Randolph MA, Anseth K, Yaremchuk MJ. "Tissue Engineering of Cartilage." Oct. 2003, Vol. 30, No. 4).

More AEDs for Less
One of the largest medical equipment distributors in the United States is working hard to make AEDs more affordable, with the ultimate goal of putting them in every school in the country. Safety Services Network solicits donations from corporations, foundations, and private individuals for grants that help pay for the devices. In the past year alone, the company has helped fund AED purchases by groups such as public schools, churches, and volunteer fire departments, according to Rebecca McCulley, SSN’s AED Program Coordinator and Grant Director.

The grants help pay part of the cost of one or more AEDs. In a typical arrangement, SSN may cover the cost of a third device when two are purchased. Go to www.aedinfo.com or call (800) 530-9989 for more information and a grant application.