Emily Attwood
Emily (emily@athleticbusiness.com) joined the Athletic Business team in 2011, a natural transition from her previous work at PFP (Personal Fitness Professional), a B2B fitness industry brand, and Inside Wisconsin Sports, a consumer sports publication. AB’s managing editor by day, Emily spends her nights typing away at what she hopes will someday turn into a novel that other people will find worth reading. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Emily continues to enjoy living in the city with her husband, Derek, and biking to work, except during winter, when she doesn't enjoy much of anything.
  • Thursday, July, 11, 2013
    Parks and Recreation Departments Turn to Mobile Platforms

    How does your program get the word out about its facilities, classes and events? What about when something is cancelled or rescheduled?


  • Wednesday, July, 10, 2013
    Accommodating Members During Locker Room Renovations

    The locker rooms are an integral part of a fitness facility, serving nearly every user who enters the building.


  • Friday, July, 05, 2013
    Nebraska Researchers Working on 10-Minute Concussion Test

    Researchers at the University of Nebraska are developing a tool that could rule out or confirm a concussion within 10 minutes. The device, a functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine, would use an electrode net placed on an athlete's head to monitor brain activity in response to various stimuli. Based on subtle changes in blood flow, team medical professionals will be able to determine within minutes whether an athlete is concussed, and if so, how severely.


  • Thursday, June, 20, 2013
    New York Adds Solar-Powered Charging Stations to Parks

    Parks in New York will soon have a new amenity to draw users: solar-powered charging stations. Tested out last year in Brooklyn, a total of 25 locations are planned to open throughout the city this summer.


  • Tuesday, June, 18, 2013
    Adaptive Recreation and Fitness Facilities Set an Example for All

    Does your facility have any members with disabilities? How well does it accommodate them?


  • Tuesday, June, 11, 2013
    Study: Repeat Concussions Require Longer Recovery Time

    New research published in the journal recover from a concussion increases with each successive incident, more than doubling if just one prior concussion has been recorded.


  • Thursday, June, 06, 2013
    Study: Fewer Concussions in Youth Practice Than Games

    A new study out of the University of Pittsburgh is offering the first evidence that youth football players are at lower risk of getting a concussion during practice than games and experience an overall incidence of concussions similar to that of high school and college players.


  • Monday, May, 20, 2013
    No-Score Youth Sports Policies Gaining Popularity

    This summer, a growing number of youth soccer teams in Ontario will be playing games without keeping track of goals scored, at least not officially.


  • Wednesday, April, 03, 2013
    Major League Lacrosse Pilots New Concussion Strategies

    As lacrosse has increased in popularity among both male and female participants in recent years, so have the number of brain injuries attributable to the sport. Lacrosse ranks third in diagnosed concussions among high school female athletes, according to the Florida Hospital Sports Concussion Program, and only hockey and football have higher concussion rates than men's lacrosse. To address the issue, Major League Lacrosse has teamed up with Boston-based brain trauma research organization Sports Legacy Group to develop and implement a comprehensive concussion plan for the 2013 season.


  • Tuesday, April, 02, 2013
    Smartphones Newest Tool in Concussion Testing
    The latest advancements in technology have opened another door for advancements in concussion diagnostics, as well. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have developed a software program that can turn a tablet or smartphone into an on-the-spot concussion diagnostic tool simply by analyzing the speech patterns of the person suspected of having a concussion.
    "This project is a great example of how mobile computing and sensing technologies can transform healthcare," says Christian Poellabauer, an associate professor of computer science and engineering who was part of the team that developed the software. "More important, because almost 90 percent of concussions go unrecognized, this technology offers tremendous potential to reduce the impact of concussive and sub-concussive hits to the head."

    The program still requires baseline testing, though less rigorous and involved than testing that uses MRI or CT scan imaging. Athletes record a voice sample before a game using a smartphone or tablet equipped with the software program. Should a brain injury be suspected, the player is asked to repeat a selection of words that the software analyzes for signs of brain trauma, which could include distorted vowels, hyper nasality or imprecise consonants.


  • Friday, June, 19, 2015
    A Response to Critics of Soaring College Rec Spending

    “LSU Faces Dramatic Budget Cuts While It Builds An Expensive Lounging Pool” This was the headline of an article that appeared in The Huffington Post this past May criticizing Louisiana State University’s spending of $84.75 million on an overhaul of its recreation facilities despite a threatened $55.5 million funding cut from the state.

    Last week New Jersey governor Chris Christie admonished what he considers wasteful spending in the higher education system, denouncing “extras” such as lazy rivers and climbing walls.

    "Some colleges are drunk on cash and embarking on crazy spending binges,” he said.

    If you work in college recreation, the incidents made you cringe.

    The cost of higher education is going to get a lot of attention leading up to the 2016 election, and unfortunately, that’s going to come with a lot of misguided scrutiny of campus recreation programs.

    What both incidents overlook — as anyone working in college recreation will immediately recognize — is that a university’s education budget and recreation budget are two entirely different things. Campus recreation centers are not built at the expense of science labs or classrooms. For most universities, such projects are funded (and maintained) from students fees.

    "The funds for the project come directly from the student fee and can only be used for the project," LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard told The Huffington Post. "Similar to donations to the university or funds from the state for capital projects, these types of funds can't be shifted to fill in budget holes or be used in another way. They can only be used for what they were originally designated for."

    The impact of such facilities on the price of a college education is actually minimal, according to David Feldman, economics professor at College of William & Mary.

    “Lazy rivers are only a tiny piece of the costs,” he told Inside Higher Ed. “These lazy rivers are not the reason why student debt is soaring seemingly out of control. The big problem that higher education faces today, at the public side, is cuts in state spending.”

    Some argue that cuts in spending are actually driving the construction of bigger and better recreation amenities, as universities look draw in more out of state students. According to research from the University of Michigan, “wealthier students [are] much more willing to pay for consumption amenities.”

    Despite its negative headline, The Huffington Post article went on to admit as much, quoting a 2013 article in which former Miami University president James Garland explains, “We took advantage of low interest rates for municipal bonds and invested in rehabilitating our residence halls and eating facilities and putting in more recreation -- workout rooms and lounges, and the kinds of accouterments that really dressed up a campus and made it a much more comfortable and familiar place for upper-middle class students. So those students started applying to us in droves. Application numbers went up, we became more selective, and the SAT scores of the entering class became higher."

    So, in the face of a $55.5 million budget cut (avoided, thankfully) LSU would need to rely more heavily on the appeal of its non-academic offerings to bring in more students and more revenue. As Jane Wellman, a finance expert with College Futures Foundation, told Inside Higher Ed, the issue is not of how colleges spend money, but the priorities of schools.

    “The sense is that college costs are going up too rapidly, and institutions aren’t doing enough to control them,” she says. “The critique underneath that is the critique of the decision-making culture in higher education.”

    Rather than ask why LSU would spend $85 million on a recreation center, maybe politicians should be asking why the state of Louisiana was mulling a $55 million cut to education.

    We won’t get into the other complexities of campus recreation facilities, such as the positive economic impact of construction (According to NIRSA, $1.7B was spent on 157 recreation construction projects in 2012), the employment opportunities afforded to students, the educational programming opportunities, the importance of recreation to students' quality of life (and GPA), the role in building a schools’ reputation, or any number of issues.

    Unfortunately, neither will the politicians pinning the climbing costs of higher education on climbing walls.

     


  • Monday, June, 16, 2014
    AB's Architectural Showcase a Yearlong Affair

    The Architectural Showcase in June is the one issue of Athletic Business I look forward to most each year. It's also the issue I spend most of each year working on.


  • Friday, April, 04, 2014
    Blog: Wine at the Gym? I’ll Drink to That

    Cardio equipment? Check. Towel service? Check. Group exercise schedule? Check. Liquor license? Pending.


  • Thursday, February, 27, 2014
    Blog: Let Them Eat Cake, If They So Choose

    On Tuesday, the White House announced a series of new initiatives as part of the fourth anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” program. Many of them are a great step forward in the battle against childhood obesity and inactivity, including an expansion of the school breakfast program and a five-year partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association and Boys & Girls Clubs of America will provide 5 million children with healthy snacks and physical activity opportunities after school. 


  • Monday, January, 13, 2014
    Blog: Women-Only Fitness Zones Perpetuate Stereotypes

    Here at AB, it’s the editors’ job to stay on top of what’s happening in the industries we serve. As such, last Friday I came across an article about a gym in Vancouver getting some flak for its decision to close its women-only section. 


  • Thursday, October, 10, 2013
    Blog: If You Can't Beat 'Em… Beat 'Em Up!

    I was sitting in a hotel lobby surrounded by other people when I opened up my morning news alerts and saw an article announcing the Kentucky High School Athletic Associations' decision to suspend post-game handshakes, so I had to keep my disgust to a minimum - a casual eye roll and understated sigh. Seriously? These athletes are displaying poor sportsmanship, and the solution to that is to do away with the concept? That's like dropping math from the curriculum because the students aren't getting it.


  • Friday, September, 20, 2013
    Blog: Defending "The Slowest Generation"

    Friday afternoon, when I should have been hard at work on AB's November issue, I instead found myself fuming over an article from Thursday's Wall Street Journal sent to me by our company owner. The article deemed younger athletes "The Slowest Generation," and accused my generation of being too apathetic about performance and competition.