Sports Medicine Bulletin
Mar. 4, 2014

Active Voice: Equipment & Technology Issues in the Paralympics
By Peter Van de Vliet, Ph.D.
Dr. Peter Van de Vliet is the Medical & Scientific Director for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). He holds a Ph.D. in physiotherapy and motor rehabilitation from Leuven University (Belgium), where he held a post-doctoral research position in adapted physical prior to moving to Bonn, Germany, for the IPC position. His duties at IPC include the coordination of anti-doping and medical services, classification, and sports science developments in the Paralympic movement. Dr. Van de Vliet has authored or co-authored several scientific publications and book chapters on the subject, and coordinates the relationships with internationally leading research bodies in their respective areas.

ACSM and IPC have had a longstanding partnership, including sharing intellectual resources at the summer and winter Olympic Games and conducting scientific symposia at the ACSM Annual Meeting.

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games ran Feb. 7-23 in Sochi, Russia, with the Paralympic Winter Games to follow March 7-16. Throughout this time, SMB will bring readers expert commentaries on sports medicine and performance issues relating to the competitions. In addition, look for a broad array of timely expert source information on such topics as sports medicine care, injury prevention and management, and a host of sports performance issues relevant to the Games on the online ACSM Sports Performance Center.

Equipment rules are becoming more prominent in the Paralympic Movement. As a result, the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Sports Science Committee recently held a scientific forum to exchange current information, research, and expertise that focused entirely on equipment and technology in Paralympic Sports. This conference, "VISTA 2013," was held May 1-4 last year at the Gustav-Stresemann Institute in Bonn, Germany. The conference program describes the complex issues that the IPC must address in determining what equipment may or may not be approved for use by competing Paralympic athletes. What are the implications of a technology for competitive fairness? Is the device a necessity that enables the individual to participate or might it enhance performance in some manner? Does it represent a "grass-roots" approach that could be broadly applied by low-income countries or is it a high-tech, individualized application that only athletes from selected countries might be able to access?More

Google Hosts Conference on Youth Sports and Technology

Gopi Kallayil from Google’s Brand Marketing speaks at the conference.
Sport is as basic as running, as ancient as tribal rivalry, and as universal as the drive to survive. How can and should sports mash up with 21st-century technology? A conference last week at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Cal., titled From Digital to Physical Play: Can Tech Make It Happen?, looked at youth sports in iPhone age. Participants, including the Tom Farrey of the Aspen Institute and Jim Whitehead of ACSM, dived deeply into how technology can help more children enjoy sports and other physical activity. One session, moderated by Nathan Plowman of Nike Access to Sport, looked at how mapping technology can be used in new and dynamic ways to understand gaps in providing sport/recreation opportunities for kids.

Also up for discussion was the question of how to serve kids who lack access or fall out of the sports system, while less visible sports programs have capacity that represents opportunities for them. Another session explored how added features and functionality might enhance passive video games, encouraging kids to get off the couch and play—and perhaps even sign up to play real sports.

The fertile interaction among thought leaders concluded with a review of opportunities through the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, whose goals are to "reduce the prevalence of preventable health outcomes, close health inequity and disparity gaps, and reduce health care costs by improving access to key contributors to health for all people."More

Policy Corner: ACSM Offers Support to Surgeon General Nominee Murthy

The office of Surgeon General of the United States offers a bully pulpit from which to tout healthy lifestyles. Dr. Regina Benjamin used it to good advantage as the 18th Surgeon General, kicking of her famous community walks at the 2010 ACSM Annual Meeting in Baltimore and continuing after leaving office in her service as honorary chair of both Exercise is Medicine® and Every Body Walk. The CDC continues with the process she initiated to develop a Surgeon General's Call to Action on Walking, expected to launch in May.

As the Senate mulls confirmation of her successor, Dr. Vivek Murthy, ACSM has gone on record in support of his nomination by President Obama. Last week, ACSM submitted a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions citing Dr. Murthy's background and career experience, which uniquely qualify him to tackle the difficult health problems facing our nation. Dr. Murthy, co-founder of Doctors for America, plans continue the legacy of previous Surgeons General to fight obesity and get Americans moving again, and has championed the need to address health disparities and the role of lifestyle in preventing chronic disease. In addition, Dr. Murthy has stated his desire to work collaboratively with groups from around the country to combat the epidemic of obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

While partisan debates threaten to delay confirmation, ACSM is confident that the Senate will act timely and allow Dr. Murthy to create his own legacy as Surgeon General, following Dr. Benjamin's inspiring lead.More

ACSM Hosts Second Annual Capitol Hill Day

The ACSM Health and Science Policy Committee meets today in Washington, DC, to refine priorities and strategies. Wednesday, the group will join other member-advocates for ACSM's annual Capitol Hill Day, held in conjunction with the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Teaming with celebrity athletes, groups will visit members of Congress and their staff to urge legislative priorities including the Physical Fitness Guidelines for Americans Act. Follow @ACSMNews on Twitter and American College of Sports Medicine on Facebook for updates from the Hill, and look for a full recap in next week's SMB.More

Don't Miss Free Online Content from ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal®

Check out the two free featured articles from the March/April 2014 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal® at

The free featured articles for this issue include "FUEL PROPERLY: Nutrition Intervention and Race Preparation" by Nanna L. Meyer, Ph.D., R.D., CSSD, FACSM; and the On the Floor column, "HITT the Pool" by Mary E. Sanders, Ph.D., FACSM. The articles are available free-of-charge on the journal's website until April 22, so download your copies today.More

IAWHP Webinar: Best Practices as Building Blocks of Best Programs

This webinar, presented on March 18 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time U.S., will present best practice design principles for worksite health promotion programs. A comprehensive list of best practices will be discussed in detail including the integrated nature of many of the best practices that have emerged. Additionally, the comprehensive listing of best practice elements will be condensed into a shorter list of best practice dimensions. The list of nine best practice dimensions is intended to support design and may be used to optimize program performance and outcomes. Register Online Today.

Nico Pronk, Ph.D., FACSM, FAWHP

VP and Chief Science Officer at HealthPartners
Adjunct Professor of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Harvard School of Public Health

$25 USD for IAWHP members & $40 USD for non-IAWHP/public members. This cost is per registered phone line/Internet connection. You may have multiple participants participate under a single registration.

Continuing Education Credits:
The program offers 1 ACSM CEC. Please note: There is NO LONGER an additional fee for the CEC. The credit is included in the registration fee. In addition, all participants at your site are eligible to receive the ACSM CEC.

About IAWHP-
The International Association for Worksite Health Promotion, an ACSM affiliate society, is the first global association dedicated to advancing the global community of worksite health promotion practitioners through high-quality information, services, educational activities, personal and professional development and networking opportunities. For more information, visit

How to Get a Figure Skater's Flexibility via CNN
Even if your toes seem miles away when you reach down to touch them, you can still aim to become as limber as Olympic figure-skating champ Gracie Gold.

OK, maybe that's a stretch ... but improved flexibility is just as important for you as it is for her. Staying loose increases range of motion, prevents injuries and reduces muscle tension from inactivity (like the kind that occurs when you're hunched over your desk all day). According to U.S. Figure Skating's official handbook, stretching can also delay the onset of muscle fatigue.

Keep in mind, however, that stretching one muscle at a time isn't the best way to go. "If you're focused on one muscle group and don't think about the adjacent muscle groups, you're more susceptible to injury," says figure-skating champion Angela Smith, a Delaware-based orthopedic surgeon and past president of the American College of Sports Medicine.


Sen. Durbin Calls for Lights Out on Esquire Network's Controversial 'Friday Night Tykes'
Chicago Sun-Times
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is crying foul over Esquire Network's controversial reality show "Friday Night Tykes."

Durbin called on the cable net Thursday to yank the 10-part series from its lineup "because it glorifies a culture of violent competitiveness that can be dangerous for the safety and long term health of children."

The show follows five San Antonio youth football teams — with players as young as 8 years old — on and off the field throughout the 2013 season. For many in the series, which airs at 8 p.m. (Central) on Tuesdays, football is the lifeblood of their community. Winning means everything in this youth league, where the adults grapple with questions like: How much competition is too much? Is the sport safe for young kids? At what price are we pushing them to win?

In a letter to the network's president, Adam Stotsky, Durbin cited instances where football coaches encouraged kids to deliver repeated blows to the head and to play through injury. More