Study: Concussions May Lead to Smaller Brain Volume
by May 2014
A new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests college football players with concussion histories may have smaller brain volumes and slower reaction times than players with fewer years of experience.
The study, conducted by the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR), looked at 25 college football players that already had a history of concussions and compared them to 25 college football players who had not suffered concussions and 25 non-football-playing control participants. Researchers then measured brain function using an MRI machine, while the participants took computerized cognitive tests.
According to the research, the 25 college football players with previous concussion history had the smallest hippocampal volume when all three groups were compared.
The hippocampus is the brain region responsible for regulating emotion and storing and processing memory. The results may indicate that this region of the brain is particularly sensitive to mild traumatic brain injuries.
Beyond the impact that traumatic brain injuries can have on the hippocampus, the football players with more football experience also experienced slower reaction times than younger players. While the study itself could not provide any answers to this question, the researchers believe that the physical and psychological stressors that college athletes experience during their careers could be a factor.
Due to the small sample size, the study cannot make any definitive claims, but the researchers hope that it will serve as a starting point for further research into the effects of concussions on young athletes.
“Other studies have evaluated the effects on older athletes, such as retired NFL players, but no one has studied 20-year-olds until now — and the results were remarkable and surprising,” the Director of Cognitive Neuroscience for LIBR, Patrick S.F. Bellgowan, told the University of Tulsa. “Our next step is to assess what caused this difference in hippocampus size.”
Video: K-State Reveals More Football Facility Upgrades
by April 2014
During the team’s annual spring football game Saturday, the Kansas State Wildcats revealed plans for a $65 million upgrade to Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
NCAA Leans Toward Unlimited Feeding… Now What?
by Paul Steinbach April 2014
The NCAA legislative council approved Tuesday the removal of rules limiting Division I member schools as to what and how often they can feed student-athletes, satisfying sports nutritionists who had long lobbied for such action. Still, the decision caught Dave Ellis, a past president of the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association, by surprise. He feels the NCAA was likely swayed by University of Connecticut men's basketball player Shabazz Napier's oft-quoted admission earlier this month that he and his teammates frequently experience "hungry nights."
"The NCAA needs a 'W' on the student-athlete welfare front," Ellis told AB via e-mail Tuesday night. "Maybe we had a little influence, too. It's all good. A historic day for fueling."
The question remains as to what schools will do with this new feeding freedom, which still must gain NCAA board of directors approval April 24. Those athletic departments with sufficient resources will certainly take advantage of one more means to gain a competitive edge — or at least keep pace — with rival schools in recruiting and on the field. "We do need to see if the ADs follow through," Ellis says, cautioning that the new ruling "could get pushback from member institutions."
Reached for further comment today, Ellis adds that the ruling has the potential to draw several athletics administrators (beyond registered dietitians, if a given school even has one) closer to the training table — from marketers seeking cost-efficiencies from vendors to development officers linking donations to expanded food supplies. "Where there is no Sports RD, you simply have overworked people saying, 'Who is going to manage?' At financially overstretched schools, you have people saying, 'How are we going to pay?' " Ellis says. "At schools where you have a Sports RD, they are saying, 'Let's get started and here is a first step. Here is how we are going to get more for our money, and here are our priorities over the next three years.' "
Regardless of their given circumstances, all athletic departments should be thinking along the same lines, according to Ellis. " 'Longterm, here is what we are going to do out of our own dining hall so we can better meet the needs of our athletes who compete and eat on weekends and holidays and during late hours,' " he says. "It becomes a simple exercise when someone in athletics shows some vision and leadership on a fundamental underpinning of student-athlete welfare versus flinching like the sky if falling."
Looking Back to 1989: Future Games
by Rick Berg April 2014
A March court ruling granting football players at Northwestern University the right to unionize has left everyone speculating about the future of the NCAA, but such speculation has been floating around longer than most of today’s college athletes have been alive. Check out the predictions about the NCAA’s future set forth in this AB article from December 1989.
College Rec Race: Then and Now
by Super User April 2014
In the April issue of Athletic Business, we took a look at how current trends in college recreation compared to those 15 years ago, when AB teamed up with architectural firm RDG of Des Moines, Iowa, to address design and operation needs. Check out the full article here.
Demand for recreation and fitness spaces has only increased since 1999, and colleges have been struggling to keep up. After more than 30 years of falling behind, students at the University of Wisconsin voted 12,070 to 1,914 to approve a segregated fee increase that will fund a $223 million renovation of its facilities. Below is a breakdown of how their current amenities compare to their Big Ten counterparts.
Click the chart below to compare how space for fitness is currently allocated in facilities across the Big Ten:
Universities haven't been sitting idle these past few years. Check out this rundown of the major campus rec construction in the Big Ten:
Spelman College President Talks Wellness Revolution
by Paul Steinbach February 2014
Soon after becoming president of Spelman College in 2002, Beverly Tatum championed the school’s move to NCAA Division III athletics. But realizing years later that Spelman was spending $1 million annually on only 80 of 2,100 students at the historically black women’s college, she decided to discontinue intercollegiate athletics altogether in favor of what she calls a campuswide “wellness revolution.” Last spring, even before the Jaguars competed in their final intercollegiate sporting event (a tennis match), the Atlanta school’s first-ever Founder’s Day 5K run was front-page news in the Sunday New York Times. This summer, Spelman will break ground on an $18 million multipurpose fitness facility replacing the antiquated Read Hall and featuring expanded group exercise, weight training and aquatic spaces, as well as a demonstration kitchen. Senior editor Paul Steinbach asked Tatum to reflect on her dramatic change of mind.
Notre Dame Announces $400M Stadium Expansion
by Michael Gaio January 2014
The University of Notre Dame announced a plan Wednesday to expand the school's 84-year-old football stadium. The $400 million project will add between 3,000 or 4,000 premium seats and new academic buildings on three sides of the stadium. The view of "Touchdown Jesus" will remain unchanged.
Blog: Prioritizing The Student-Athlete a Must for ADs
by Dennis Van Milligen January 2014
Since I have been a member of the AB team, I have had the fortunate opportunity to chronicle the challenges high school athletic administrators are facing in today's high-pressure, win-at-all-costs environment. We hear about all the steps that are being taken to protect the student-athlete from a physical standpoint, but what about from an emotional and psychological standpoint?
Alabama Succeeds in Keeping Students at Football Game
by Michael Gaio October 2013
In Alabama, passion for the mighty Crimson Tide washes over the entire state. Consequently, when head football coach Nick Saban speaks, people listen. So last week, when Saban blasted Bama fans for leaving games early, the university listened.
College Dance Department, Fitness Coexist in Maximization of Space
by Steve Nelson October 2013
When Kendall Hall was constructed in 1950, replacing Blanchard Hall gymnasium on the Mount Holyoke College campus, it must have been a wonder.