Beyond the Diamond Resources

 Helping Cultivate Healthy Social Media Use with Youth in Your Life
(9/20/2022)
 
   

Helping Cultivate Healthy Social Media Use with Youth in Your Life


How Coaches and Parents Can Support Them in Developing Healthy Social Media Behaviors.


Many of you remember the public service announcement from the 80’s, “It’s 10 PM, do you know where your children are?” If your kids are like most, they’re on their phone/computer checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, tiktok, or Snapchat. The age group between 13-17 often consumes 6-8 hours a day of social media and online content. While social media can certainly cause it’s share of problems, it’s here to stay. Young people are going to use it whether adults like it or not. Parents and coaches have a tough job—the goal isn’t to keep athletes off social media altogether, but to support them in developing healthy social media behaviors.

Let’s examine both sides of the social media phenomenon:

Helpful Impacts on Mental Health:

• It can provide a wealth of information for athletes looking to improve themselves physically and mentally, usually free of charge
• Group support
• Some kids have more comfort reaching out in an online format
• Sharing their athletic achievements with a wide and diverse population
• A platform for them to develop their “Brand” and market themselves
• An escape from the daily routine and outside of their “normal”

Harmful Impacts on Mental Health:

• Individuals or groups can post or share information easily without regard for a specific individual or group. This allows the consumers to infer tone and intent and this is where bullying is born.
• Even in instances where negative information is shared and then removed, that moment can resurface at any time which may cause the individual or group to process the emotions and feelings time and time again.
• The negative emotions that can be created because of social media are far-reaching and can take over a large portion of your child’s time and energy.
• Too many late-night hours can negatively impact sleep and we know how important the proper amount of sleep is to overall positive mental health.

How can parents engage their children to harness the positives of social media

Ask questions. Let’s face it—most youths know way more about social media than the adults in their lives. And they know more about what exactly they’re doing online. Instead of starting conversations by talking about the harms or effects of social media, be open and curious about their unique experiences with it.

Celebrate the positives. When kids feel judged or misunderstood about their social media use, they’re likely to get defensive and shut down. Make sure to point out how great it is that they were able to connect with their friends and family who live far away, or comment on how helpful it must be to reach most of their teammates to discuss who’s signed up to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic!

Promote limiting screen time. Everything in moderation, right? Excessive time on the internet and social media has been linked to poorer mental health outcomes like depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Younger children will need more help with this—consider setting time limits or media-free zones. As children get older, support them in managing their own usage—encourage them to dedicate time to offline activities or help them update their phone settings to limit time on certain apps.

Model healthy use. This one is more important than you think. Young people notice what adults are doing more than we may think, including being told to get off their devices while the adults in their life seem just as obsessed. It can be tempting to try to manage their use, but you’re better off modeling healthy habits (age dependent, of course). Studies have shown that parental use of digital technology, rather than their attitudes toward it, determines how their children will engage with it.

Friend/follow your kids’ accounts. Your kids—especially teenagers—might resist you monitoring their social media, but it’s important that you’re (somewhat) informed of what’s happening in their online world. Explain your reasoning, listen to their hesitations, and let them set boundaries. Your virtual relationship with your child is an entirely new one, so be patient. Your best bet to build trust is to stay in the background: Don’t comment or like their posts unless they want you to, let the little things slide, and be ready to have offline conversations about the important things.

Social media can be a useful tool for development and distraction, but it can be a weapon of mental and athletic destruction in similar ways. The line between is often blurred.

“It’s 10 PM, do you know where your children are?”

https://mhanational.org/back-to-school/social-media-and-youth-mental-health

Youth and Social Media: Mental Health Effects and Healthy Use (healthline.com)

www.athleticshealthspace.com

Kevin Gorey is a Senior Director at the U.S. Council for Athletes’ Health (USCAH). Kevin brings extensive experience from both commercial health care and sports medicine to the USCAH team. His three-decades long professional experience has produced high-level results for the organizations he has had the privilege to work with.



The U.S. Council for Athletes' Health (USCAH) was founded upon the need for trusted, independent athletic health care partners with the experience and expertise to advise and consult with organizations regarding their healthcare delivery system. This is why USCAH is committed to providing independent and unbiased medical expertise to organizations and individuals dedicated to the optimal health and safety for the athletes they serve. You can find out more about USCAH at www.uscah.com or by reaching out to [email protected]


 Importance of Sleep in Athlete Development
(8/24/2022)
 
   

Importance of Sleep in Athlete Development


One of the best ways to help your child prepare for tomorrow begins tonight – and it’s free.


As summer break winds down across the country, now is the time to get your children back into their school year sleep routines. The all-to-common “late nights and late mornings” are at an end. Getting the proper amount of sleep is essential for growth, allowing your child’s body to reco
ver and repair from the day's activities. The functions of sleep are particularly important for young, developing athletes, who are practicing daily – a good night's rest can make all the difference in their success both athletically and academically.


How does sleep helps optimize sports performance?

Many people understand how sleep affects the developing brain. But for a high-performing young athlete, getting enough sleep is critical for their developing body. The first four hours of sleep are dominated by physical recovery, where more than 50% of your daily growth hormone is released, allowing the body to repair, recover, and optimize training adaptations such as increased muscle growth, strength, and power. The last four hours of sleep are dominated by the mental recovery phase, which is important in the development of short and long-term memory, processing, and cognitive function. This phase keeps the mind sharp. When striving to reach peak performance, sleep is a critical component – just as critical as hydration, conditioning, nutrition and mental prepa
ration.


Can getting enough sleep help reduce the risk of injury in young athletes?

Yes! Making sure young athletes get enough sleep each day reduces their risk of injury from both a mental clarity and physical recovery perspective. For example, adequate sleep improves reaction time and accuracy, and reduces mental errors. Restful sleep also allows the body to recover fully, repair and regenerate cells after workouts, all of which reduces the risk of injury.
How can getting enough sleep benefit a young athlete's development?

In addition to the mental benefits of adequate sleep, athletes getting enough sleep will also see better physical results from training. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, causes fatigue, leading to impairments in cognitive and motor performance, thus slowing reaction time. Sleep loss impairs judgment, motivation, focus, memory and learning. Without sleep, the brain struggles to consolidate memory and absorb new knowledge.




With all the resources spent on training, equipment and physical recovery, it’s interesting to note one of the best ways to help your child prepare for tomorrow begins tonight – and it’s free.

https://www.childrens.com/health-wellness/can-sleep-enhance-athletic-performance

https://thesleepdoctor.com/children/sleep-and-athletic-performance/



Kevin Gorey is a Senior Director at the U.S. Council for Athletes’ Health (USCAH). Kevin brings extensive experience from both commercial health care and sports medicine to the USCAH team. His three-decades long professional experience has produced high-level results for the organizations he has had the privilege to work with.

USCAH was founded upon the need for trusted, independent athletic health care partners with the experience and expertise to advise and consult with organizations regarding their healthcare delivery system. This is why USCAH is committed to providing independent and unbiased medical expertise to organizations and individuals dedicated to the optimal health and safety for the athletes they serve. If your team or organization would like to learn more about sleep and other health & safety issues, please reach out to [email protected]  or visit www.uscah.com.




The U.S. Council for Athletes' Health (USCAH) was founded upon the need for trusted, independent athletic health care partners with the experience and expertise to advise and consult with organizations regarding their healthcare delivery system. This is why USCAH is committed to providing independent and unbiased medical expertise to organizations and individuals dedicated to the optimal health and safety for the athletes they serve. You can find out more about USCAH at www.uscah.com or by reaching out to [email protected]


 How to Be Heat-Healthy This Summer
(7/13/2022)
 
   

How to Be Heat-Healthy This Summer


Kevin Gorey, MS
Senior Director, US Council for Athletes’ Health (USCAH)


We’ve all heard the term “Dog Days of Summer”, an idiom referring to the hottest days of the year. As the Dog Days loom, did you know young athletes are often the most susceptible to heat stress because they either don’t recognize the symptoms or feel pressured to continue practicing or playing? As a result, it is critical for parents and coaches to learn the signs and symptoms of heat illness to be proactive in prevention and having an action plan in the event an athlete develops heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heat illnesses threaten the overall safety and well-being of your child. They range in severity from minor to life threatening, which is why it is important to know the different stages of heat illness so that interventions can be made.

Heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), heat exhaustion and heat stroke are all heat-related illnesses that happen when the body cannot properly cool itself in the heat. The body’s temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. Exercising or playing in a hot or humid environment can increase the risk of dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Although these conditions are all caused by heat and a person’s inability to efficiently dissipate it, they often times cause different combinations of symptoms:



How can you help prevent heat-related illness?

On hot and/or humid days, try to do outdoor activities when it’s coolest, like in the morning or evening hours. You can also help protect your child from the sun by making sure they wear sunscreen, even when it’s overcast. Sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool down, which can cause dehydration.

Fluid needs vary based on activity, intensity, environmental conditions, body size of the athlete and training status.

In addition to encouraging athletes to drink during activity, helping adolescent athletes develop their own hydration schedule is also useful. Scheduling fluid intake will help athletes get in the habit of drinking at regular times throughout the day. The following is an example of a basic fluid hydration schedule. Use this as a guide to help athletes understand the purpose, but have them tailor the times to their school and training schedule changes:



This list is not exhaustive and does not serve as formal education. Thorough education for coaches, athletes, support staff and medical staff around heat illness should occur annually and include:

• understanding when it is safe to conduct a workout
• how to recognize signs of heat illness and initial treatment
• the importance of on-site medical supplies specific to the weather
• venue specific emergency action plans

Organizations should be able to show proper education has occurred for these stakeholders on a yearly basis.

Remember, it’s COOL to be able to prevent and treat heat illness!


https://www.childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/parenting/parenting-articles/difference-between-heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/

https://truesport.org/hydration/heat-illness-youth-sports/

https://www.childrens.com/health-wellness/the-importance-of-hydration-for-young-athletes

https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/healthy-hydration-for-young-athletes.pdf


Kevin Gorey is a Senior Director at the U.S. Council for Athletes’ Health (USCAH). Kevin brings extensive experience from both commercial health care and sports medicine to the USCAH team. His three-decades long professional experience has produced high-level results for the organizations he has had the privilege to work with.

USCAH was founded upon the need for trusted, independent athletic health care partners with the experience and expertise to advise and consult with organizations regarding their healthcare delivery system. This is why USCAH is committed to providing independent and unbiased medical expertise to organizations and individuals dedicated to the optimal health and safety for the athletes they serve. If your team or organization would like to learn more about preventing/treating heat illnesses or emergency action plans, please reach out to [email protected] or visit www.uscah.com.




The U.S. Council for Athletes' Health (USCAH) was founded upon the need for trusted, independent athletic health care partners with the experience and expertise to advise and consult with organizations regarding their healthcare delivery system. This is why USCAH is committed to providing independent and unbiased medical expertise to organizations and individuals dedicated to the optimal health and safety for the athletes they serve. You can find out more about USCAH at www.uscah.com or by reaching out to [email protected]


 Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes
(6/15/2022)
 
   

Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes


Kevin Gorey, MS
Senior Director, US Council for Athletes’ Health (USCAH)


**Sensitive Content: This article depicts instances of sudden death of children and may be sensitive to some readers.**


What Causes Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in Young Athletes?

Most cases of SCD in young athletes are due to hidden heart defects or overlooked heart abnormalities. These deaths usually occur during practice or games. Another condition that can cause SCD is commotio cordis. Unrelated to any pre-existing heart conditions and caused by blunt cardiac injury, it accounts for approximately 20% of sudden cardiac deaths.

What is commotio cordis?

Commotio cordis occurs when a person is hit in the chest and that impact triggers a dramatic change in the rhythm of their heart. A projectile, such as a batted or thrown baseball, can cause a blow to the chest that results in commotio cordis. Researchers have found in animal studies that the optimum speed for a baseball to cause commotio cordis is only about 40 miles per hour. Many baseball pitchers can easily throw at that speed.

Keep in mind that optimum speed does not mean the minimum speed. There is a documented case where a father underhand-tossed a softball to his 6-year-old son at a picnic. The ball skimmed off the child’s glove, hit him in the chest, and caused a fatal cardiac arrest.

This may explain why that in most reported cases of commotio cordis, sudden death follows a seemingly benign blow to the chest. In these situations, witnesses have generally believed that the blow to the chest wasn’t hard enough to cause a serious injury.

What is the incidence of commotio cordis?

The U.S. Commotio Cordis Registry in Minneapolis, MN tracks cases of commotio cordis and has documented over 250 occurrences since its formation. Approximately 10-20 events are added to the registry every year. The actual incidence is believed to be greater, though, due to lack of recognition and underreporting.

Commotio cordis occurs most frequently in young people under the age of 18 during sports activities. The most recent data indicates that 53% of the victims were engaged in organized competitive athletics, while the rest were involved in normal daily activities (23%) or recreational sports (24%).

Healthy young athletes are especially at risk because of the pliability of their chest walls. One study of 55 cases of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) found that 90% were 16 years old or younger. All were playing sports either organized or informally. None of these children showed evidence of any heart defect or disease.

Typically, when a young athlete collapses on the field, people are confused and unsure of what to do. This confusion delays necessary treatment and lowers the chance of survival.

Can These Sudden Cardiac Deaths Be Prevented?

The only true prevention of commotio cordis is to eliminate blows to the chest, so realistically there is no way to prevent it in sports like baseball.

The only proven prevention strategy for SCD is through emergency preparedness. Use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) dramatically increases survival rates if used within minutes of a collapse.

With defibrillation (use of AED) at one minute, the survival rate can be as high as 90%. Within 5 minutes, the survival rate can be as high as 50%. The survival rate of SCA decreases 7-10% for every additional minute that passes without defibrillation. By the time the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) typically arrive (9-12 minutes), the survival rate drops to 5%.

Importance of Emergency Action Plans


Emergency action plans are a critical component of the emergency response program for any sports team or organization. Not only should they be updated as often as necessary, but they also need to be readily accessible at all practice and game facilities.

The one action that can prevent deaths from sudden cardiac arrest is responding quickly and appropriately. Part of that response includes knowing CPR and having access to a functional AED.
Training parents, umpires, coaches and other staff to recognize commotio cordis, provide basic life support, and respond quickly is essential to a successful outcome. All coaches and staff should be trained in CPR and AED administration annually.

The sudden, unexpected death of a young athlete is a tragedy. It not only affects family and friends, but it also affects the coaches, players, league and entire community. It is natural for everyone to wonder what could have been done to prevent this sudden cardiac death. Now we know.

 **For more information about keeping your athlete safe during baseball season, check out USA Baseball’s Health and Safety Resources.**

Resources:
https://www.healthline.com/health/commotio-cordis
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/902504-overview
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/125/20/2511.full

Kevin Gorey is a Senior Director at the U.S. Council for Athletes’ Health (USCAH). Kevin brings extensive experience from both commercial health care and sports medicine to the USCAH team. His three-decades long professional experience has produced high-level results for the organizations he has had the privilege to work with.


The U.S. Council for Athletes' Health (USCAH) was founded upon the need for trusted, independent athletic health care partners with the experience and expertise to advise and consult with organizations regarding their healthcare delivery system. This is why USCAH is committed to providing independent and unbiased medical expertise to organizations and individuals dedicated to the optimal health and safety for the athletes they serve. You can find out more about USCAH at www.uscah.com or by reaching out to [email protected]


 The Mental Health of Youth Baseball Players
(5/18/2022)
 
   

The Mental Health of Youth Baseball Players


Supporting psychological well-being in young athletes


Chad Asplund, MD, MPH
Executive Director, US Council for Athletes’ Health

Youth baseball is often the first organized sport that children start to play. Many of the lessons learned from youth baseball will help shape the thought processes regarding organized sports or sports in general for many young people. Organized sports, such as youth baseball, can be such a positive tool to learn things like how to be coached, how to compete, sportsmanship, and how to win or lose. However, there can also be a negative side to organized sports. Too much focus on winning, over-scheduling, and poor parent/fan behavior can create a toxic environment.

Youth sports are no longer the neighborhood pickup games of American lore. In recent years children as young as 6 and 7 are increasingly enrolling in high-level sports programs with professional coaches and year-round competition schedules. By age 13, up to 70% of children have dropped out of organized sports.

Evidence suggests that as young people compete more intensely in sports, gains in mental wellness may be replaced by mental health challenges particular to competitive athletics. Pre-pandemic, up to 20% of college athletes experienced major depression. For young athletes competing at national and international levels, anxiety and depression were 20% to 45% — higher in some cases than those in the age-matched control groups.

Parents are supposed to be the ones teaching good sportsmanship and how to behave, but more often than ever, umpires, coaches, and kids are dealing with tantrums from parents. This bad behavior by parents has led to a shortage of umpires and referees across many organized sports. Experts also say the amount parents invest, not just emotionally from the stands but also financially, adds to the pressure kids are feeling. Further, their actions often lead to a toxic environment in youth sports, when instead, they should be supportive and encouraging.

It is very important that coaches and parents are able to recognize the signs of decreasing mental health in young athletes. These signs include reduced interest in sport or other activities, sleep irregularities, irritability, change in appetite, and poor performance in sports or school. The recent position statement on mental health issues in athletes by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine notes that the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy was stressed as an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and other mental health conditions in the youth athlete population.

Supporting psychological well-being in our young athletes feels especially urgent as we emerge from a pandemic that has probably affected everyone’s mental health in some way. Sports medicine experts are just beginning to seriously study the mental health problems that arise in youth sports, but it’s increasingly evident that constant competition, year-round training, and parental bad behavior can all contribute to worsening mental health in young athletes.


Dr. Chad Asplund is the executive director of USCAH, as well as a sports medicine physician and Professor of Family Medicine and Orthopedics at the Medical College of Georgia. Chad currently serves as the medical director for USA Basketball, and a team physician for USA Hockey, USA Triathlon, and Georgia Southern University. If you have any questions for Dr. Asplund, you can reach him at [email protected]

As a trusted partner with USA Baseball, we are pleased to offer a free online course, "Mental Health in Sport”. To access the free course, please visit www.athleticshealthspace.com and select “Create New Account with Program Code”. Enter your account information and the Program Code: PARENT. Follow the on-screen instructions after you create your account.



The U.S. Council for Athletes' Health (USCAH) was founded upon the need for trusted, independent athletic health care partners with the experience and expertise to advise and consult with organizations regarding their healthcare delivery system. This is why USCAH is committed to providing independent and unbiased medical expertise to organizations and individuals dedicated to the optimal health and safety for the athletes they serve. You can find out more about USCAH at www.uscah.com or by reaching out to [email protected]