Performance-Enhancing Supplements

Evidence shows that performance-enhancing supplements are being used by youth athletes, some as young as 13-14, in order to improve their performance.
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Pros and Cons of Supplementation and Ergogenic Aids

Are supplements and ergogenic aids worth the risk?
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Dear Visitor,

Welcome to the Educated Sports Parent! Here you will find information on a wide range of issues having to do with youth sports, including Readiness for Participation, Benefits of Participation, Developmentally Appropriate Program Modifications, Overuse Injuries, Supplements, and much more. This site is for parents, coaches, league administrators, or anyone who is interested in helping children to have the best youth sports experience possible.

You do not have to look far to find examples of what is wrong with youth sports. In fact, the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance gives youth sports a less than acceptable grade in its 2005 Youth Sports Report Card. The Educated Sports Parent is aimed at giving those involved with youth sports the knowledge and tools to make the youth sports experience an enjoyable one for all involved.

The most important goal of any youth sports organization should be that every single participant has a fun and enjoyable time. Making youth sports fun for kids helps turn them on to a lifetime of physical activity. The current obesity epidemic among both children and adults underscores the need for keeping kids turned on to physical activity. We cannot afford to allow youth sports to be a negative experience that leaves children with little desire to continue being active as adults. Unfortunately, for many children it is.

I challenge you to browse through this site with an open mind. Many of the concepts and ideas may be new to you. They may be the opposite of everything society seems to tell us is important about sports. It is essential that we do everything in our power to ensure that youth sports leagues are meeting the needs of our children. I challenge you to hold them accountable.

The Educated Sports Parent

Soccer Head Gear Studies and Preventing Head Injuries in Soccer

Soccer Concussions and Head Gear Bumps and bruises are a part of growing up and a part of playing sports. The risk of injury should not deter participation in sports because the BENEFITS that sports participation brings generally outweigh the risks. However, some injuries are more serious than others, such as concussions and brain trauma, and should be safeguarded against if possible. Advances in soccer headgear, headbands and more information about head injuries in soccer are fueling the debate on soccer equipment and safety. Soccer Concussions and Brain Injury Metzl (1) reported in the journal Pediatrics that children heal slower from brain injury than do adults. In addition, according to Metzl adolescents appear to be susceptible to second-impact syndrome, “a rapid and often fatal condition associated with a second head injury while the person is still symptomatic from a first.” It is extremely important if a concussion is suspected that a player not return to play in that game and that he be subsequently medically evaluated and withheld from participation until medically cleared (2). It has been reported that once a person has had one concussion, he is four times more likely to suffer another one. In addition, subsequent concussions are easier to get and take longer to heal (3). Unfortunately, concussions are a regular part of playing soccer. In a three-year study of 10 high school varsity sports, soccer ranked third for boys and first for girls as the sport that produced the most number of injuries that were classified as mild-traumatic brain injury (MTBI). While MTBI accounted for only 4% of the total number of injuries in...

Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes

As if trying to feed teenagers a nutritious diet wasn’t tough enough at times, taking care of your adolescent athlete can be even more of a challenge. Not to mention that as the parent of an athlete, you’re busy. In addition to driving your athlete to practices and games, you’re stocking up at the grocery store to try to keep up with their appetite. Proper nutrition is imperative for optimal growth and peak performance in adolescents. Unfortunately, most American youth today do not meet the minimum recommended amount of fruits, vegetables, or whole grains, and most go far beyond the recommended daily intake of sodium. On average U.S. teenagers consume more soda than milk or other healthful beverages. How is your teenager doing, and what is it they need?

Pros and Cons of Supplementation and Ergogenic Aids

Are Supplements and Ergogenic Aids Worth the Risk? What are Supplements? Supplements are a form of ergogenic aid taken because they are believed to improve or increase performance. What’s the Big Deal About Supplements? There is a drive for athletes to have every competitive advantage possible In 2001 the estimated global market of supplements was $46 billion1 The US market alone was estimated at $16.7 billion in 20001 Supplements may make whatever claims they like as long as the label contains a list of active ingredients4 Some Performance Supplements in Use Today Supplements to improve strength and power: amino acids, anabolic steroids, boron, chromium, chrysin, colostrum, creatine, hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB), omithine alphaketoglutarate, prohormones, protein, tribulus terrestris, vanadium and zinc Supplements promoting energy supply: bicarbonate, caffeine, carnitine, creatine, guarana, hornet juice, iron, magnesium, pyruvate and ribose Supplements used to burn fat caffeine, carnitine, ephedra A look at some well known supplements There are not many pros for many of the supplements, so I have broken this article down into the Facts and the Risks of using each of the following supplements: Anabolic steroids Prohormones Human Growth Hormone Creatine Amino acids Protein Caffeine Antioxidants Anabolic Steroids The Facts About Anabolic Steroids: Defined by the 1990 Anabolic Steroid Control Act as “any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone . . . that promotes muscle growth.”2 Developed to promote tissue growth in bed rest patients3 Increased testosterone “shown to increase protein synthesis, muscle strength, and lean body mass.” 2 Requires a prescription to possess The Risks With Anabolic Steroid: In males may cause3: Decrease in testicular function Breast development Liver dysfunction...

When Dad or Mom is the Coach

Youth sports thrive on parent-coaches. One estimate finds that parents of players make up 90% of all youth sport coaches (1). Parents have a unique relationship with their own children, and when it comes to coaching your child’s team, it is not easy to separate being the parent from being the coach. The parent-coach/child-athlete relationship in youth sports is one that has not been widely studied, but given the large percentage of parent-coaches and anecdotal reports of negative circumstances associated with parent-coaches, it is important that this issue be examined more closely. Two studies to date deal with this issue. They will both be presented, revealing positive and negative aspects of the parent-coach/child-athlete relationship. Recommendations for making this relationship as harmonious as possible follow.

The Importance of Parental Involvement in Youth Sports

Parents, when it comes to the impact you have on your child’s sporting experience, do not underestimate your influence. Children learn from watching others and copying the behavior they see demonstrated. It is most often the parent who is the first person to introduce a child to sports, and parental involvement can affect whether a child enjoys the experience or not

Parents: How is your Behavior?

Sean Cumming and Martha Ewing of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports warned against parents becoming over-involved emotionally.  This could mean being “excitable” or “fanatical.”  They even go as far as to say that the fanatical parent can pose a serious risk to the development of the child (1).  Take a moment to reflect on your own behavior during your child’s sporting events.  How do you compare?