Oakton High School
Oakton High School Athletic Boosters GO COUGARS!
Oakton High School Athletic Boosters Club (OHSAB)
The Oakton High School Athletic Boosters Club (OHSAB) is a
non-profit 501(c)3 organization
100% made up of volunteers.
Oakton Nation is made great by our volunteers! We can always use the help and all are welcome in the following areas:
- Website Content Creation and Updates
- Fall Sports Program
- Canteen (volunteer for a few shifts)
- Cougar Store for spirit wear
If you are interested in any of the above or want volunteer in another area, please contact:
Sean Toole at email@example.com or
Eric Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be the Change!
Calling our past, present, and future Cougars! Be Part fo the Pride. Oakton Athletics is initiating a fundraising drive to support upgrades to our facilities during the current school renovation. These upgrades include weight room enhancements, activities meeting rooms, areas for film study, and enhanced training facilities!
Sponsor Oakton Athletics Today!
The Oakton High School Athletic Boosters (OHSAB) are looking for sponsors. If you are interested in marketing your business to a large number of people in the Oakton community please consider becoming a sponsor of Oakton Athletics through OHSAB.
Sponsors will not only will you reach the fans of Oakton HS teams, but all the participants from the many youth and adult programs that use the Oakton's fields throughout the year. Please consider becoming an OHSAB Sponsor today.
OHSAB is a 501(c)3 non-profit so your donation is tax deductible.
For our 2019-2020 Sponsorship Opportunities
Send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Question welcomed!
Donations are always welcomed:
Because we are constantly surrounded by reminders about how much money professional athletes and coaches make, it can be hard to remember that most youth coaches and lots of high school coaches do not get paid at all for their efforts on the sidelines.
In a recent letter to the Barrie Minor Hockey Association, a volunteer coach set out to remind us that your children’s coaches that you criticize are almost all volunteering their time and they are trying their best to make sure that everyone has an enjoyable experience. A lot of the time, coaching youth sports is a thankless job, but it doesn’t have to also be a job where you are constantly hounded by criticism and complaints. Here are a few important excerpts from the author’s letter:
“I’m the one who answered the call when the league said they didn’t have enough coaches. I understand that you were too busy. I have some news for you. I’m not retired. I’m busy too. I have other children and a job, just like you do. Not only do I not get paid to do this – it costs me money. I see you walk up to the game 15 minutes after it started, still dressed for work. Do you know I’ve already been here over an hour? Imagine if you had to leave work early nearly every day. I’ve never seen you at a practice. I’m sure you’re plugging away at the office. But I’m out here, on the field, trying my best to teach these children how to play a sport they love, while my bank account suffers.”
Of course, youth coaches make mistakes and they are willing to admit that. After all, they aren’t professional coaches (who, it should be noted, make lots of mistakes as well).
“I know. I make mistakes. In fact, maybe I’m not even that great of a coach. But I treat the kids fairly and with respect. I am pretty sure they like coming to my practices and games, and without me or someone like me, there’d be no team for them to play on. I’m part of this community too and it’s no picnic being out here on this stage like this.”
Most of the time, coaches just want to know that their actions are noticed and appreciated.
“After this game is over, I’ll be the last one to leave. I have to break down the field, put away all the equipment and make sure everyone has had a parent arrive to pick them up. There have been evenings when my son and I waited with a player until after dark before someone came to get them. Many nights I’m sure you’ve already had dinner and are relaxing on the couch by the time I finally kick the mud off my shoes and climb into my car, which hasn’t been washed or vacuumed for weeks. Why bother cleaning it during the season? Do you know how nice it would be if, just once, after a game one of you offered to carry the heavy gear bag to my car or help straighten up the field?”
But most importantly, coaches do not want sympathy or people to think that they dislike their coaching duties.
“If I sound angry, I’m not. I do this because I love it and I love being around the kids. There are plenty of rewards and I remind myself that while you’re at the office working, your kid is saying something that makes us all laugh or brings a tear to my eye. The positives outweigh the negatives. I just wish sometime those who don’t choose to volunteer their time would leave the coaching to the few of us who do.”
Hopefully reading this will help everyone appreciate their youth coaches a little bit more and remind us all to thank the people who volunteer their time to ensure that children in the local community have teams to play on!
It has been well-documented that former high school athletes have a better chance to be more successful later in life than students who choose not to participate in sports. However, researchers are still conflicted over why this is the case.
A recent study from Cornell University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville documented a significant gap between the business success of high school athletes and non-athletes. According to the study, former high-school athletes are more likely to go on to have higher-status careers (as can be seen in this graph). In addition, former sports participants earn anywhere from 5 to 15 percent more than participants in other extracurricular activities, like band or Yearbook Club. Interestingly, the earnings advantage that former athletes enjoy doesn’t seem to exist for any other extracurricular activity.
“The thrust of the new article is to scratch the surface of the long-term, and workplace, relevance of playing competitive youth sports since it's not a topic that's been closely studied, despite the fact that sports offers a common experience for more than 40 percent of the population,” says Kevin Kniffin, a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University who was one of the leaders of the study.
Kniffin and his fellow researchers also found that high-school athletes were thought to be more effective leaders and more confident than non-athletes. Because of this, there certainly seems to be a pro-athlete bias when companies are hiring.
However, athletes are not only more likely to earn more money, but are also more likely to give back to their communities. Former varsity athletes reported donating more money to charity and were more likely to volunteer their time as they got older. This is not just among recent graduates, either. Even athletes who graduated high school 55 years ago were still more generous with their time and money than others.
But the question remains: why are these positive characteristics more likely to be manifested in former high school athletes? In a recent article for The Atlantic, Joe Pinsker discusses the issue:
“Are high-school sports conferring leadership skills and self-confidence onto a bunch of otherwise unambitious kids? Or are they simply signals, activities that professionally gifted youth gravitate toward? It’s not exactly clear. On one hand, team sports, with their constant passing of balls, pucks, and batons, might teach children and teens cooperation. And young people might learn something just from being in situations when they’re subordinates. But on the other hand, the likelihood that someone plays a sport could have to do with several variables not recorded in the data: coming from a family that can afford the proper equipment, that has the time to shuttle kids to practice, or that puts a premium on physical activity. Also, ‘popular’ kids might be more likely to play sports, and popularity is really just a proxy for networking prowess—something that the business world prizes.”
For now, however, it remains unclear exactly why former athletes are more likely to be successful later in life, even though there are plenty of plausible theories. But Kniffin and his co-researchers hope that they can help answer this question soon.
“With data provided by the NCAA, I'll be looking at the question of whether there is variation across types of sports with respect to behaviors like volunteering time for others,” Kniffin says. “For example, do rowers, whose sport places a real premium on cooperation, also show more other-oriented behaviors in other parts of their lives?”
We look forward to reading your future research, Mr. Kniffin. For now, kids, just know that it pays to be a high school athlete!
College recruiting is given a lot of attention. There are countless websites dedicated to ranking recruits, reporting the latest gossip, and announcing which schools are attracting the best high school talent. Sometimes, the amount of attention given to high school athletes can seem like too much, especially when you hear about seventh graders being offered scholarships and recruiting websites trying to find the best 13-year-old quarterback in the country. But even though the spotlight on recruiting can shine a little too brightly, it is important for schools and communities to acknowledge the accomplishments of their members, and securing an athletic scholarship is certainly a major accomplishment.
In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Kai Sato, co-founder of FieldLevel, expresses the opinion that too many high schools do not do enough to publicly recognize all of their athletes' college recruitments. Even if schools don't have a nationally recognized college prospect, they still need to go out of their way to laud their accomplishments. Sato believes that any male or female athlete going on to compete in athletics beyond the high school level should be recognized in some manner. Here are three of the reasons why schools should do this:
1) To Increase Local Exposure
-Athletic recruitment is a relevant news story for any local community and could potentially help inspire younger local athletes
2) To Drive Alumni Engagement
-Alumni care a lot about what is happening at their high schools and this is a wonderful way to get people excited about their school
3) To Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
-Students that work hard should be honored and athletes work just as hard as anyone to master their craft
And here are three things to remember when recognizing athletes:
1) Be Thorough
-Make sure to present accurate information because the recruiting process is a delicate thing and you don’t want to impact an athlete’s chances at any school
2) Tell The Full Story
-Interview the athletes themselves and get the full scoop on how they chose their college and what they’re looking forward to at the next level
3) Be Social
-The best way to engage the community, alumni, and media is by putting recruiting news on social media
So even though the coverage of athletics recruiting is out-of-hand in some instances, don’t forget that it can also be a great way to attract attention to your high school. Let’s make sure to give all the gifted student-athletes out there their proper due!
Unless there is a strange lack of news on a particular day or you are reading a school newspaper, you are unlikely to see too much coverage of the junior varsity sports teams at most high schools. Because they tend to receive so much less attention than the varsity squad, JV teams have been compared to the middle child, who many people would say is the most neglected.
After noticing this, the people over at KING5 decided to give the junior varsity baseball team at Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, WA) and JV teams everywhere some love.
Sometimes it’s hard for the JV squad at Bellarmine to attract a lot of attention, especially considering that the school has a very strong baseball program, including one very famous alum, Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester. But Bellarmine’s JV baseball team is quite content with its status as the “other” team. The 20 players that make up the squad, half of them freshmen, quietly go about their business and work on improving every day.
Bellarmine sophomore Ben Jensen understands the importance of playing JV early in your high school career. “It’s a spot for opportunity and a place to play with both older and younger guys without varsity pressure.”
And even though you may think of the players on the JV team as middle children, that may not be so bad after all.
According to psychologytoday.com, middle children are often “more independent, think outside the box, feel less pressure to conform, and are more empathetic. This … makes them excellent team players.”
With this in mind, I encourage everyone to go out and support the “forgotten” children of high school sports, the junior varsity athletes. Someday, you’ll probably be cheering them on during a varsity game, so it's a good idea to get to know them now!
In recent years, yoga has gained a lot of traction as a great way to exercise and build strength in your core. In a special piece for USA Today, Kristine Denholm interviews a variety of collegiate and high school athletes and asks them to discuss how yoga has enhanced their athletics career.
Eastern Kentucky basketball player Eric Stutz is a big proponent of yoga, which he practices for two hours each day.
“I wanted my body to feel that way all the time,” Stutz said. “I became looser, and I only missed one game due to injury. It helped me remain injury-free, and helped my agility and athleticism.”
Stutz recommends that high school athletes give it a shot as well and believes that the earlier you start it the better your sports career will be.
“If I would’ve started earlier, I would’ve been more athletic. I wouldn’t have taken this long to reach full potential. I’d recommend it to high schoolers and not just in athletics.”
Yoga is not only great for physical strength, but it helps you stay mentally strong as well. In his conference’s postseason tournament, Stutz didn’t think about the pressure, because yoga brought him back down to earth.
“It brought me into the moment of the game,” he said. “You focus on the present, forget what happened in the past. Being in the moment translates well to your game.”
Overall, yoga is a great way to help keep your body loose and in-shape. If you are a high school athlete, it is a good idea to consider adding yoga as part of your personal workout routine or asking your coach if it can be added to your team’s practices. I encourage everyone to check out the USA Today article and think about how yoga could help you as an athlete!
Everyone has heard the old line that sports teach valuable life lessons. But sometimes it is easy to forget exactly what those lessons are. Earlier this week, Kate Leavell, a national coaching education trainer for US Lacrosse and NCAA Division III women's lacrosse coach in metro Atlanta, wrote down 16 amazing lessons that her time around the sport of lacrosse has taught her.
I encourage everyone to take a look at Kate's list, reflect upon your experiences with sports, and see if you've learned similar lessons through athletics. If you're feeling extra motivated, try to come up with your own list.
And remember, sports are always about more than winning and losing!
Social media is no longer the “next big thing.” Face-to-face conversations are becoming more rare and phone conversations are almost non-existent. Social media’s time of dominance is here.
For years, many school and athletic administrators have been delaying their acceptance of social media as a norm in the communications world, hoping that it was “just a phase” and people would eventually tire of it. Now, these principals and athletic directors may find themselves behind the times. Administrators can no longer ignore the fact that social media is here to stay. For the most part, colleges and universities have taken a proactive stance on social media and integrated it into the way they operate. It is time that high schools do the same.
Athletic administrators and coaches need to embrace social media. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are wonderful ways to disseminate game scores and share pictures of sporting events to help generate enthusiasm about school teams. Social media can also help administrators promote the benefits of high school sports. Social media is not only cheaper than traditional media but in this day and age it is also much more effective and has the potential to reach more people. Below are some tips for developing an effective and exciting social media presence for those who are just getting started:
- Use social media to distribute sports scores
At most high schools, scores are reported only to the local newspaper and television stations, if at all. Social media provides a wonderful channel to supplement these news sources. Not only this, but by tagging other media outlets in posts, you can usually get statewide coverage in seconds. Gone are the days of parents and kids waiting for the 11 p.m. news in order to hear the day’s sports scores. Schools need to push this information out as fast as possible so they are not left in the dust.
- Promote core values through social media
Athletic programs should always be looking to show off. Schools should embrace every opportunity to display their athletes doing well both on and off the field. Of course you should look to spread the news about a game-winning homerun or a spectacular goal. However, schools should also be looking to spread the word about one of their teams volunteering in the community or one of their players showing good sportsmanship. Every school has wonderful stories to share and social media is a great place to do this. Social media allows administrators to showcase the values that define their school and show that they are doing good deeds every day.
- Collect team rosters with social media handles for student-athletes
This is a slightly controversial topic. Often times, students want to keep their lives on social media separate from their lives at school. This is part of the problem. High school is a great time for students to learn about accountability – when you decide to put on your high school’s jersey you are deciding to represent something bigger than yourself. Athletes are constantly under scrutiny for what they say on social media and high school is as good a time as any for student-athletes to begin to learn that actions on the internet are not private. By tagging students in Facebook posts and tweets, students are forced to think about what type of content they put on their social media profiles. Also, it is a phenomenal way to be in constant conversation with your student-athletes and the community.
- Constantly refer to student-athletes by name in social media
This is a great way to ensure that your social media presence receives a warm reception from your student body. High school students love being honored, especially on public forums like social media. Posting a student-athlete’s name or using their handle to tag them in a post or picture will make them happy and proud. By doing this often, athletes may also begin to gather new followers for their profiles, which is always desired. Referring to athletes by name also shows them that they are public figures and how important it is for them to maintain a positive online image.
Although as a society we love to focus on the negatives of social media, there are many positives that social media brings to the table. Social media is a cheap and effective way to disseminate scores and other information about your athletic program. It also is a great way to promote your student-athletes. By focusing more on promoting what student-athletes should be doing on social media than trying to expose poor behavior we can create a generation of savvy social media users who represent themselves and their schools with class.
Morris, Jeff. “Administrators Should Develop Plan for Use of Social Media.” High School Today. Nov. 2014: 14-15. Print.
While the seasons change, it’s important to be aware of the injuries that can occur in winter sports and how to prevent them. Traditional winter sports consist of skiing, sledding, skating, snowboarding and hockey. All these sports and activities can be dangerous if you aren’t following rules and proper regulations.
In skiing and snowboarding, make sure you have correct fitting equipment. Make sure you have a helmet and goggles to help protect you in the event of a collision. Don’t take risks if you are just a beginner, start small and build your way up. For instance, don’t try skiing down the biggest and most difficult hill if it’s your first time. Of course, make sure you are dressed warmly and appropriately for the harsh winter conditions.
If you go skating, you will need to make sure you are skating on approved ice. Do not skate somewhere you are not 100% sure is safe. Make sure you skate in groups to ensure your safety if you fall. Before skating, make sure you have skates that properly fit you. They cannot be too small or too big. They need to be just right and comfortable.
Sledding is another one of the best outdoor activities in the winter. If you are properly sledding, it can make for a fun and enjoyable time. First, make sure you have a proper sled - not a makeshift one. If you have a makeshift sled, it will be difficult to control in certain conditions and you could get severely injured. Make sure you check the hill before sledding down, because it could be covered with ice. Don’t forget to have a good time and sled with your neighbors or friends. The more people, the safer it is.
Hockey can be a fairly dangerous sport, but if you play properly, the chances of you getting hurt are diminished. First, like every other sport, make sure you have the right equipment. You will need correct-fitting padding and a comfortable helmet. Your helmet is the most important part because it will protect you from concussions. It should be noted though that concussions can happen whether you are wearing a helmet or not. If you are having any head pain, make sure you tell someone and get it checked out. When you are playing, do not hit anyone in the head either, as helmet-to-helmet contact is very dangerous. If you receive a blow to the head or have any head pain, make sure you get it checked out by a trainer and/or a doctor. Symptoms of a concussion are memory loss, dizziness, blurry vision and speech stuttering. It’s very important that you keep your head protected when playing competitively. Next, like skating, proper fitting skates are key to your safety. You will need to be comfortable with the ice, and proper fitting skates will help you maneuver and balance better. If you are a beginner, make sure you have a coach or trainer help you before you rush into things. Start out small and learn the basics before playing competitively with others. Experience will make you more comfortable on the ice.
In all sports, make sure you are drinking a lot of water to keep you hydrated. Winter sports can be very enjoyable if you are act safe and dress properly. Go out, stay warm and enjoy yourselves!
Top 10 Ways To Increase School Spirit
- Make fan groups feel official – Give a name to the group of students who are willing to yell along with the cheerleaders. They deserve a special identity and recognition for their effort in promoting school spirit. A generic example for a name could be the “Bleacher Creatures” or you could personalize it more by using your school’s mascot in the name: “The Dog Pound,” etc. Encourage the group to try different cheers each game but also use a few of the same so eventually everyone can learn them.
- Name a girl and/or a boy “Athlete of the Week” – Not only does this highlight the achievements of your school’s athletes but it helps people get excited about the various teams at your school. Remember, “Athlete of the Week” doesn’t necessarily have to be given for on field success, it can be given for good displays of sportsmanship or off the field deeds.
- Designate a place to showcase spirit – Create a display of various athletes’ medals, trophies, etc. Pictures and equipment can also be great to use for this type of showcase.
- Bring breakfast or snacks for the team – Athletes tend to always be hungry. A great way to show them that you care is to bring food for them before they get ready for the big game. Make sure the food is healthy though. You don't want to slow them down on the field.
- Plan a "Senior Night" – It is always nice to give back to the players that have served you well over the years. Plan a special dedication ceremony for players playing their last home game. Invite family members of the seniors.
- Sell spirit items – Sell spirit flags, towels, or pompoms for fans to use at games. This can really help fire up a crowd. Try to come up with something unique to your school if possible.
- Host pep rallies – This one is a classic but pep rallies are a great way to get students and fans excited about the next day’s big games. Have the cheerleaders perform and maybe even an inspirational speech from an athlete, coach, teacher, or principal. Serving food and beverages can be a way to increase attendance at functions like this. Another way is to have door prizes at pep rallies and give points to the class with the best attendance.
- Paint “Run Through Signs” – Teams loves to run through big signs as they come onto the field or court. Decorating them can be a lot of fun when you get a big group together to do it. This is also a surefire way to get a crowd pumped up. Just make sure the sign can be easily ripped. You don’t want your team ending up like this: click here.
- Decorate the team bus – This is a great way to get the whole school excited for an away game and also a cool way to say thank you to the athletes. Just make sure everything you put on the bus can be easily removed!
- Organize a fan bus to away games – It can be hard for teams to play away from home. Organizing a fan bus not only will give your school’s team some support when they’re on the road but it will get the fans excited about more than just home games. Just remember to be respectful of opposing fans and players when you’re at another school.
The financial cost to play team sports has always been high. It costs a lot of money to purchase equipment, employ coaches and referees, rent space to practice and to travel to and from games. The price to participate in sports has only gone up recently.
During summer 2014, NBC reported that an alarmingly high number of students are forced to pay in order to play on school teams. School teams are getting more and more expensive. A study by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital found that 61 percent of respondents reported paying to participate in middle school and high school sports. The end result of this is that a significant share of lower-income children and adolescents find themselves unable to play team sports at their schools.
The question is: how can students come up with the money to play for their high school? Recently, BigTeams created a list of ten fun ways that teams can raise money. However, if none of these activities appeal to you, high school students in California have come up with an additional method to raise funds to pay for their sports participation. At schools where students must “pay to play” on their sports teams, some high schoolers have begun using online crowdfunding to raise money.
For those of you not familiar with crowdfunding, it is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet. In 2013, the crowdfunding industry grew to be over $5.1 billion worldwide. Some prominent crowdfunding sites include GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The basic premise of crowdfunding is to have a large amount of people contribute small individual amounts of money in order to support a good cause.
At Manual Arts High School in South Los Angeles, members of the lacrosse team are using crowdfunding to pay for the expensive required equipment, according to NBC Los Angeles. The necessary shoulder pads, gloves, elbow pads and helmet for a lacrosse player typically total at least $500 per player, according to Tim Hilton, the lacrosse coach at Manual.
Though some equipment is donated, what they must buy comes straight out of their own pockets.
“Every season it seems like it’s a question of where are my uniforms coming from, what kind of equipment do I have to replace,” Hilton said. “It's tough. It eats into my paychecks.”
Manual has turned to crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe. Other Los Angeles schools and even individual athletes also use this method, instead of the more common bake sales and carwashes. As of early December 2014 Manual has found success using crowdfunding, making $1500 — enough for five helmets.
“We are at low funding to no funding so even 50 cents could help us buy a kid a mouthpiece,” Manual assistant coach and former player Rogelio Junior Flores said. “Five dollars can get us athletic tape.”
The coaches wish the best for their players — including resulting scholarships. That’s why they believe crowdfunding is worth it.
"It really makes us feel good that someone is thinking about us," Hilton said.
So when thinking about where to donate during the holiday season, consider giving back to your local high school’s athletic department. It could be the difference between a local athlete being able to play this year and having to sit out.
10 Fun Ideas To Raise Money For Your Team
- Reserved Seats – Most of us have dreamt of sitting courtside at a basketball game or on the fifty-yard line at a football game. Your team can help make this dream come true with a raffle for the best seat in the house. This is a raffle that can be ongoing and used at all sporting events hosted by your school — make sure the two best seats in the stands or on the floor are always reserved for your team to raffle off.
- Making the Grade – Have athletes get pledges for “A’s” and “B’s” at the beginning of an academic period and collect the donations after report card time.
- Care Packages – Send out flyers to the parents of recently graduated seniors (who’ve left within the last four years) telling them about your team and what you are hoping to raise money for. Include a list of care packages for sale and what they contain so that parents can choose one to send to their child at college. Include convenience foods that can be easily cooked in a microwave and which are shelf stable. It’s a good idea to let parents put a personal message in the care package too.
- Rent-a-Worker – Athlete volunteers commit to working for an afternoon doing any odd jobs sponsors “hire” them to do.
- 50/50 Raffle – Pick up a roll of raffle tickets from any local party suppliers and sell tickets to fans at your team’s next home game. Sometime near the end of the game, pick a winning ticket. The winner gets half the money in the pot and your team gets the other half. The more tickets participants buy the better their chances of winning and the larger the prize fund.
- Golf Tournament – Hold a tournament at a golf course that will offer reduced greens fees and get prizes donated. Getting notable locals to participate will draw more participants.
- “Butler” Auction – This fundraiser is likely to be hugely popular with the underclassmen at your high school: let the upperclassmen on your team auction themselves off to play the role of butler for a day. The responsibilities of your butlers would be to greet their “employers” as they arrive at school, carry books around, fetch lunch, and take on any other tasks that you feel are appropriate.
- Eat for a Cause – Ask a local restaurant to donate 10% of their profits on a designated night for your cause in exchange for encouraging supporters to eat there.
- Dreaming of a Green Christmas – See if your organization is able to rent a large pickup or flatbed truck and then go around picking up discarded Christmas trees and hauling them to the local recycling center for an appropriate fee. Remember, it’s a good idea to have some twine or bungee cord ready to fix the trees securely to the truck.
- Social Media Class – If you have a few computer-savvy team members, hold a social media class fundraiser to help participants familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of the popular social media services. You could choose to focus classes on a particular group — you might want to teach seniors to keep in touch with their grandchildren and the rest of the family, for example.
Concussions have been a much talked about topic recently in high school sports. Concussions have parents worrying about the safety of their kids on the field and schools are being forced to take a deeper look at proper concussion protocol. Doctors have left their field to examine and study concussions and how to prevent them. Every state's regulations are different, but below, I will give you the most accurate and effective protocol for high school sports.
If a player takes a blow to the head, he/she will need to be observed by a trainer. It doesn't matter if the player says that “he/she is okay.” Trainers will need to run an observation on the player. First, the trainer should check to see if the player is dazed or confused (a huge symptom for concussions). Next, the player will be asked a few basic questions (ex. score of the game). If the player is slow to answer or is unsure, you will definitely need to proceed to the next step in the testing process. At the beginning of the season, athletes are required to take an imPACT test (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). The test is usually online and athletes are asked to answer a number of different types of questions. If you suffer a blow to the head and have concussion-like symptoms, you will need to take the test again. If your score is significantly lower than the previous test, you will be diagnosed with a concussion. From there, the athlete will need to rest and go through the Return-to-Play protocol, which is outlined below.
Common Concussion Symptoms
Physical- Headache, fuzzy and blurry vision, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to noise or light, balance problems, & tired/no energy
Emotional/Mood- Sadness, emotional, nervous
Sleep- trouble falling asleep, sleeping more/less than usual
*from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Return to Play Protocol
According to http://www.cdc.gov/concussion, “the law requires that students who sustain, or are suspected to have sustained a concussion during athletic activities be immediately removed from such activities. Student may NOT return to athletic activities until they have been symptom-free for a minimum of 24 hours and have been evaluated by, and receive written and signed authorization to return to activities from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.”
It's very important to rest and not rush back into physical activity. If anything, rest is the most important part of a full recovery. The athlete will need to avoid looking at screens (ex. phones, computers, or televisions) for a few days. It's best if he/she rests in bed without any electronics or activities. If after a few days the symptoms are gone, the player can move to Step 1 of the Return to Play Protocol.
Step 1- Light Aerobic Exercise
Examples: stretching, walking
-Player will need to ease into the activity and go slowly. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she may move to Step 2.
Step 2- Medium Aerobic Exercise
Examples: running, jump roping
-The exercise will need to be very light and easy. Athlete will need to not overexert themselves. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she may move to Step 3.
Step 3- Non-Contact Activity
Example: Weight training
-If the player participates in weight training, a spotter is required. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she may move to Step 4.
Step 4- Sport Drills
Example: non-contact sports drills
-The player can participate in non-contact drills and practice. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she move to Step 5.
Step 5- Full Contact
-The player can participate in full-contact drills and play. If the athlete doesn't experience any symptoms in 24 hours, he/she can return to regular practice.
Schooling with a Concussion
The player's parent will need to call the school nurse to discuss schooling details. Every school is different, but the concussed athlete normally should be kept at home. Usually, the school will send homework home to the athlete. The athlete will likely need extra time to complete homework. After a week or two, the student can return to the regular classroom setting.
Recovery from a concussion generally takes around 7-10 days, but it depends on if you complete EACH step correctly. It's important to take the first two steps very slowly and ease into workouts. If you rush into it, the athlete can suffer the same symptoms. In Step 3, make sure you don't lift too much weight and always make sure you have a trusted spotter. Make sure you are pacing yourself in Step 4, and practice carefully and cautiously. Finally, in Step 5, you will be able to participate in full-contact practice. Just be aware and alert at all times during your recovery. Remember, if you suffer any symptoms, it's best to rest and call your physician.
Parents’ impact on their children’s interest in sports can be positive or negative. It’s time to discuss the negative impact that parents can have on their kids’ passion for athletics.
You’ve seen it in movies or television shows: parents can get out of hand when their children are playing sports. Everyone has seen instances where the parent forces their kid to play a sport against their will. The kid may not have the interest in sports, but their parents will make them participate. 75% of children give up on sports by the age of 13. Obviously, if a kid doesn’t want to play the sport, they shouldn’t be forced to do so. Take some time and find out what your child likes.
Below are the top five ways parents make their kids hate sports:
5) Abusing Their Child After A Bad Game
There have been stories of parents abusing their child because they didn’t play well in a particular game. Physically abusing a child is never permissible. If a parent hits their kid because they had a bad game, it will scare their child and potentially give them confidence issues and self-esteem issues. The kid will pursue everything in life with an “I’m not good enough” mentality.
4) Parents Making Their Child Relive Their Childhood Dream
This one is a very popular one. The parents failed at making it big with their sports career, so they will force their kid to play a sport. They just want their kid to be like them and not who they genuinely are. They want them to be a future star in the “big leagues” but that might not be their passion. If their kid is good at sports, it makes the parent look good. When the kid gets older, they will start to question whether they are playing for themselves or for their parents and this could drive them to quit the sport.
3) Not Buying Children Suitable Equipment
Most kids want the best equipment for their sport, whether it’s a baseball bat or basketball. There is always a competition for who has the best bat or glove. If a player has an old, torn glove then they may feel embarrassed and it could potentially drive them away from sports. Teammates may actually even make fun of the player because they don’t have the best of the best. Of course, not everyone can afford top-of-the-line sporting goods. Emphasize to your children that the quality of the equipment is not the most important thing, it’s the quality of the player.
2) Screaming At Child During A Game
You may have seen this a lot during sports games. Often times parents try to be their kid’s personal coach. If their child makes a bad play, they will scream and scream at their kid. Screaming parents usually like to be on the sideline so they can go over to their kid and publically embarrass them in front of parents and players. There’s nothing wrong with parents giving their kid advice after the game, but constantly screaming and ridiculing is uncalled for. A team has a coach for a reason and they most likely have the experience to help guide their players. Just let the coach do his or her job.
1) Parents Not Encouraging Their Children
Parents need to encourage their children to keep going with their sport. This is a lot different than “forcing” them to play sports. If a parent is not encouraging them, they don’t have any motivation to keep going with their sport. Parents’ main role as a parent is to love and lead them to bigger and better paths.
Hazing in high school sports has become a nationwide topic of discussion after several accounts have surfaced in the past couple of months alone. Most notably, Sayreville High School in New Jersey canceled their football season after bullying and hazing allegations. Hazing often times has bad intentions, but sometimes students simply do not understand when playful initiation activities turn into full-blown hazing.
So, what exactly is hazing? In the athletic sense of the word, hazing is when a group humiliates or abuses an individual or group of individuals in order to initiate them to a certain team. This does not just happen in high school sports, as there have been accounts and allegations in professional sports as well (most notably involving the Miami Dolphins last season). Rookies or younger players are supposed to be subordinate to the older players on a team. Veteran players harass the younger ones because it’s “tradition” to earn the veteran players’ respect.
However, there comes a time when actions can cross the line. In Pittsburgh, PA, an autistic soccer player was tied to a goalpost by his coach and teammates and was left there without help. What was the purpose of this? Luckily, the school took action and punished the coach and players, but overboard actions like this require serious consequences and that’s when hazing needs to stop.
Fortunately, teams are finally being held accountable for their actions. High school athletes need to learn to accept that everyone is different and players should be treated equally. Players need to be taught and shown the right and wrong ways to act on and off the field. Pressure is definitely on the coach to shape and create mature and respectful athletes. If a hazing incident does occur, it should be immediately handled by the coaches and taken to the school board. After practicing hour after hour, players deserve to have a season, but when the majority of players are involved in hazing, schools should seriously consider forfeiting the season in order to send a clear message about hazing. If allegations only involve one or two players, those players should be suspended or kicked off the team. In any competitive environment, there is a chance that some form of hazing will occur, but if players are taught discipline and respect the number of serious allegations will decrease. Nothing is more important than respect for others both on and off the field.
I took the time to interview sports writer Michael Guido about the topic. When asked about his thoughts on hazing, he said: “Hazing is morally wrong. I have no clue why schools are allowing this to happen.” Mr. Guido expressed a lot of concern about this issue, as many incidents have happened near his home in Pittsburgh. He also thinks that if teams work to encourage team unity and discipline hazing could become nonexistent. At the end of the interview, Guido stated: “change starts with us and it could potentially last a lifetime.”
In the last decade or so, steroids have become increasingly prevalent throughout the American sporting landscape, even among high school students. In a 2002 National Institute of Drug Abuse study, 2.5% of eighth graders, 2.5% of tenth graders and 4% of twelfth graders admitted to using steroids at some point in time (Steroid Abuse, 2008). Overall, it has been reported that 6% of athletes have used steroids in their life, even though the actual number is thought to be much higher (Abuse, 2006).
It is important to note that steroids are not used exclusively by athletes. Some steroid use comes from young men and women concerned about general body image. In fact, females make up about one-third of all steroid use in high schools (Steroid Abuse, 2008).
Part of the reason that steroid use is spreading among adolescents is that American professional sports leagues, like Major League Baseball, have not done enough to dissuade players from using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). In early 2014, MLB strengthened its stance against PEDs, with first time offenders receiving an 80 game ban, second time offenders being suspended for an entire season and third time offenders suspended for life (Nightengale, 2014). Despite attempts to strengthen the policy, there have been 104 MLB players penalized for drug use since the league began suspending PED users, including 16 players who have been all-stars and 11 players suspended for multiple offenses (Players Linked, 2014). Players have realized that the potential gains from taking PEDs are certainly worth the potential punishments, which in reality are no more than a slap on the wrist.
You do not need to look further than the case of Melky Cabrera to see this. He was suspended for 50 games in 2012 after testing positive for PEDs. Unbelievably, his 50-game suspension hardly had ended before the Toronto Blue Jays handed him a two-year, $16 million contract. After signing for $6 million in 2012, Cabrera essentially was given a $10 million raise in spite of his PED use (Nightengale, 2014). Cabrera benefitted greatly from using PEDs and shows why MLB’s current policy does not in any way dissuade players from cheating.
The recent PED scandals have provided a bad example for the youth of America. Currently, MLB’s stance on performance-enhancing drugs comes off as halfhearted and has given the youth of America a mixed impression of PEDs. Students in this country have started to view PEDs as a simple way to get ahead. More than three-fourths of young American males feel that PED use in professional sports puts pressure on young athletes to use steroids, according to the Digital Citizens Alliance. Their surveys, which were conducted online in summer 2013, asked high school- and college-age males about their perceptions of steroid use in professional sports. In both surveys, roughly 77 percent of the young males said that steroid use by professional athletes has a trickle-down effect to youth sports, giving young athletes the impression that they also must use steroids to get ahead (Toporek, 2013). PED use in MLB not only affects professional athletes, but has put pressure on young athletes to take these dangerous drugs as well.
Steroids can have damaging and sometimes permanent side effects on the body. Steroids have been linked to increased cholesterol, stroke and blood clots, urinary and bowel problems, and problems with the musculoskeletal system. Since steroids are a hormone, like testosterone, the effects on sex characteristics in the body can be catastrophic, causing a kind of hyper-masculinity in young men. They can also cause male-pattern baldness and shrinking of the testicles. The surplus of testosterone can also have feminizing effects on young men, such as breast development (Adler, 2004).
Clearly, the health effects caused by steroid use can be extremely damaging. In order to diminish the use of steroids in America, especially among high school students, it is important to encourage education and dialogue about these dangerous substances. A young athlete should never feel that they have to take steroids in order to advance their athletic career. If professional leagues like MLB can better control their players’ steroid use, hopefully younger athletes will begin to see the damage that steroids cause and we can eliminate these substances from our high schools.
Abuse, N. I. (2006). Anabolic Steroid Abuse. Washington, DC: US Department
on Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.
Adler, Jerry (2004, December 12). Toxic Strength. Newsweek, pp. 44-52.
Nightengale, Bob (2014, March 28). MLB Toughens Drug Agreement Provisions.
USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/03/28/mlb-toughens-drug-agreement-provisions/7023401/
Players Linked to Steroids and HGH (2014). Baseball’s Steroid Era. Retrieved
Steroid Abuse Moves Into the Scholastic Arena (2008, April). Education Digest,
Toporek, Bryan (2013, July 29). Survey: Young Athletes Feel Pressured by
Steroid Use in Pro Sports. Education Week. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/schooled_in_sports/2013/07/youth_athletes_feel_pressured_by_steroid_users_in_pro_sports.html
Why should athletes stretch?
The main reason for stretching is to maximize available movement with minimal restrictions from soft tissue. Stretching limbers up the muscles in the body so energy is focused on completing a task, not fighting against the body.
Stretching allows athletes to kick higher, reach longer and generally move without bodily limitations.
Unlike strength, speed or power, flexibility does not fall into the category of “more is better.” There is such a thing as too much flexibility. Instead, too little flexibility limits an athlete’s available motion and may increase the risk of tearing a muscle, tendon or other tissue due to inelasticity.
How much stretching should you do?
- Individual and Sport Variables
-Some athletes are just naturally more flexible, some are simply not. If you are not naturally flexible, you will need to spend more time and effort obtaining and maintaining an appropriate level of flexibility than a naturally flexible athlete.
- Injury history
-Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, will only regain 80% of original flexibility. This means an athlete who has suffered a serious injury will need to do more stretching to maintain flexibility because of scar tissue that has built up from the injury.
-Long distance runners don’t need that much hamstring flexibility, whereas sprinters need much more. A stretching program should be tailored to the specific sport or activity in order to achieve maximum effectiveness.
-Cold weather means tighter muscles; hot weather means looser muscles.
- Muscles prone to tightness
Here are muscles that are typically prone to tightness and should be stretched to provide the necessary degree of flexibility:
- Hamstrings (back of thigh)
- Hip Flexors (front of hip)
- Hip Adductors (groin)
- Rectus Femoris (thigh muscle)
- Gastrocs (calves)
- Pectoralis Major (chest)
- Latissimus Dorsi (back)
- Deep Back/Core Muscles
Stretching requires time commitment. Some athletes stretch regularly and often, using good form. Some fit stretching in on occasion, getting in 10 minutes of stretching before a game. Others do not stretch at all and prefer to lift and run instead. Stretching regularly and with good form is recommended.
Designing the right stretching program
By understanding the basics and tailoring a stretching program to an individual athlete’s needs, sport, injury history and level of commitment, a proper stretching program can be designed for an athlete to follow.
A well-designed stretching program should include the following elements:
- Warming up (jogging) before competition to warm tissue to prepare muscles for movement
- Static stretching (holding for 20-60 seconds) to increase tissue extensibility
- Dynamic stretching (lunges, squats, stretching with movement) to decrease tissue stiffness and maximize tissue extensibility
The importance of stretching cannot be overstated. Too often, young athletes overlook this very basic component of sports preparation because they are impatient and throwing, catching or shooting a ball is much more interesting.
Flexibility is a fundamental building block in sports performance, an important factor along with core training, balance, joint stability and mobility. Understanding the basic components of why, how and what athletes should stretch are critical for long-term athletic success.
Click here for advice on what stretches to do before and after games: http://www.stretching-exercises-guide.com
Cronin, Keith J. (2012, January 4). Stretching Improves Flexibility, Provides
Foundation for Athletic Success. momsTeam. Retrieved from http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/stretching-improves-flexibility-foundation-athletic-success
It has long been debated whether sports positively or negatively influence academic performance among students, specifically during high school. However, there now seems to be a consensus. Numerous studies have demonstrated that playing sports have a positive effect on academic achievement, because of sports’ positive impact on identity formation and emotional development in youth, as well as sports’ ability to increase “social capital” within a community.
Data obtained from these studies show that high school students who play sport are less likely to drop out of school and that participation in sport leads to completing more years of education and attaining higher grades in school.
One of the most prominent research pieces on this subject matter was performed by the United States CDC. The CDC analyzed the association between school-based physical activity and academic performance and found almost entirely positive associations. The CDC’s report notes that “there is a growing body of research focused on the association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance among school-aged youth.” The CDC concludes that such activity “may have an impact on academic performance through a variety of direct and indirect physiological, cognitive, emotional, and learning mechanisms.”
So what causes sports to have a positive impact on academics? Research has shown that physical movement can affect the brain’s physiology by increasing cerebral capillary growth, blood flow, oxygenation, production of neurotrophins, growth of nerve cells in the hippocampus, neurotransmitter levels, development of nerve connections, density of neural network, and brain tissue volume. These changes may be associated with improved attention; improved information processing, storage, and retrieval; enhanced coping; enhanced positive affect; and reduced sensations of cravings and pain. Research also suggests that increased energy levels and time spent outside of the classroom — both byproducts of playing sport — may give relief from boredom, resulting in higher attention levels for students when they are in the classroom.
One popular counterargument to the benefit of high school sports is that American schools place too much emphasis on sports and this consequently takes away from the emphasis placed on academics.
However, the University of Arkansas’s Daniel H. Bowen and Jay P. Greene actually find the opposite. They examine this relationship by analyzing schools’ sports winning percentages as well as student-athletic participation rates compared to graduation rates and standardized test score achievement over a five-year period for all public high schools in Ohio. Taking into account student poverty levels, demographics, and district financial resources, a school’s commitment to athletics is significantly, positively related to lower dropout rates as well as higher test scores.
They suggest that success in sports programs actually facilitates or reflects greater “social capital” within a school’s community. The term “social capital” originates from a 1961 study, in which renowned sociologist James Coleman suggests that the success of schools is highly dependent on “the norms, the social networks, and the relationships between adults and children that are of value for the child’s growing up.” Because sports and sporting events provide venues for parents, students, and teachers to come together, communities with strong sports programs have more opportunities for increasing social capital and consequently better overall academic performance in their schools. In this way, sports have a positive influence on academics and better society on the whole.