Monday, January 7th, 2013
The question of whether to test high school athletes for performance-enhancing drugs is being debating in a growing number of districts in the wake of doping scandals that have been discovered at a number of schools. More from The New York Times:
At least three state high school associations — in Texas, Illinois and New Jersey — put in programs to test student-athletes. All three programs were operated by Drug Free Sport. The contracts were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One case that triggered alarm involved Taylor Hooton, 17, of Plano, Tex., whose 2003 suicide widened concerns about high school students’ use of performance-enhancing drugs. Hooton’s father, Don, was among those who lobbied lawmakers for drug-testing programs in high schools.
But a decade later, Don Hooton and others have reversed course, arguing that the programs may provide little benefit to students and society.
“We have a real problem here,” Hooton said of steroid use among high school students. “But we’re not getting at it.”
In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled that drug testing for high school athletes was constitutional, and some districts expanded their policies to include middle schools. Proponents of testing at the high school level say that it offers students a way to say no to drugs and that it serves as a deterrent.
But others question the effectiveness of the programs.
In 2007, Dr. Linn Goldberg, head of the division of health promotion and sports medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, published the results of a study of athletes at five high schools that had drug-testing programs and six schools that had deferred enacting a drug-testing policy. Goldberg found that athletes from the two groups did not differ in their alcohol or drug consumption.
Image: Football helmet, via Shutterstock
Monday, July 23rd, 2012
It won’t surprise anyone that a new study has found that exercise helps teens–or anyone–maintain a healthy weight. But this study, published in the journal Pediatrics, has found some specific fitness habits can have a more marked effect, including walking or biking to school and participating in high school team sports, more than one if possible. The New York Times reports:
Though the spread of childhood obesity in the last decade has spurred health authorities to ramp up their efforts to promote youth activity, the new findings are among the first to demonstrate that walking or riding a bike to school actually has an impact on weight gain among high school students. The study also found that while school-based exercise can reduce or stem weight gain, it is sports participation in particular that makes a difference. Physical education classes, the researchers found, did not reduce or prevent weight gain, likely because they do not offer students the same level of regular, challenging exercise as competitive sports.
“I think being a part of some kind of team or organization gives kids the opportunity to have moderate to vigorous activity consistently,” said Keith M. Drake, an author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hood Center for Children and Families at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “I think a lot of time physical education requirements are not that strict. Kids are not in P.E. that often, and when they are, the physical activity is not that strenuous.”
Image: High school athletes, via Shutterstock.
Categories: Child Health, Education, New Research, Trends | Tags: bicycle, childhood obesity, fitness, high school sports, obesity, physical fitness, teenagers, walking
Friday, April 20th, 2012
A high-school junior with Down syndrome, who has played on his school’s basketball and football teams, may have to sit on the sidelines for his senior year because he has turned 19 and now violates the maximum age allowed by the school district.
Eric Dompierre attends Ishpeming High School in Michigan, where he has experienced some thrilling moments in sports, including scoring a 3-point shot in basketball and kicking a field goal in football. His parents have always been thrilled and grateful for his acceptance and level of participation, and they are fighting to allow him to play during his senior year. From CNN.com:
According to the constitution of the Michigan High School Athletic League, students who turn 19 before September 1 are not allowed to compete in sports. The rule is intended to prevent the possibility of injury or competitive advantage from an older more developed athlete playing against younger students.
For the past two years Eric’s parents, with the support of the Ishpeming High School District have tried to get the rule changed so Eric can play during his senior year.
But a committee with the Michigan High School Athletic Association has refused two proposals which would allow kids like Eric to participate.
James Derocher is the president of that committee says “our members have to change the constitution and at this point in time they’ve told us ‘no.’ ”
Derocher says one of the concerns is that if they let Eric play, other 19-year-olds may come along in the future and claim a disability for a competitive advantage.
Image: Football, via Shutterstock.
Friday, March 2nd, 2012
The Robert M. Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish high school in Houston, Texas, is back in the state basketball championship tournament after legal pressure led tournament organizers to reschedule the timing of the semifinal and championship games. The school made news this week when it bowed out of the chance to compete because the games fell on Friday evening and Saturday, which is the Jewish sabbath known as Shabbat.
ESPN.com reports that a group of parents filed a lawsuit asking the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) to reschedule the games to accommodate the religious requirements of the Jewish students.
After being notified the lawsuit had been filed, TAPPS director Edd Burleson said the association would reverse course and allow Beren (23-5) to play Dallas Covenant at 2 p.m. Friday at Fort Worth Nolan High School.
Should the [Beren] Stars win, they’ll start their championship game no earlier than 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Headmaster Harry Sinoff and coach Chris Cole only learned of the legal action Thursday morning, they said, and regretted that the situation reached the level of legal action.
“It’s a mixed emotion,” Cole said. “We feel like we’ve earned the right to play. Our focus all week has been trying to get TAPPS to reschedule the game times to accommodate us.
“At the same time, this was not the course of action that we wanted.”
Burleson said earlier this week that association bylaws prevented TAPPS from moving Beren’s game time.
The complaint says that the basketball team is “being denied, solely on account of their religious observance, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in their athletic conference’s state basketball championship tournament.
Image: Basketball in the net, via Shutterstock.