RECENT ARTICLES
  • A Call to Action for the Aquatics Industry

    by Eric Herman June 2014

    Last week I couldn’t help but notice this year’s Memorial Day observance took place just days after the breaking news about the falsified records scandal at VA hospitals. In a world filled with brutal ironies, that one was a doozy! 

    Naturally, the timing led to all sorts of political finger-pointing and moral handwringing about how we’re failing in our duty to assist our wounded service people. Although that simple observation is something most people probably believe in, it’s equally apparent that without action, even the most well- intended rhetoric does little, if any good at all. 

    As is true for many, Memorial Day is a really big deal for my family. My dad is an Air Force Vietnam vet; my stepfather a Word War II Navy vet; and my grandfather served as a Marine in both WWII and Korea. As my thoughts were with these heroes — all of who remain healthfully extant — and their brothers and sisters in arms who haven’t been so fortunate, I realized that the aquatics industry is perfectly positioned to offer assistance in this current crisis of care.

    RELATED: Military Veterans Find Success in Fitness Industry

    For many wounded warriors, aquatic therapy stands as one of the most effective means of treating both physical and mental injuries. Community aquatic centers, YMCAs, university facilities and others should take the lead in making free access to such facilities for veterans a top priority. And better still, wouldn’t it be great if such facilities programmed use with war-injured veterans in mind? That could be as simple as reserving a couple swim lanes exclusively for vets during certain times, or as involved as bringing in therapists to volunteer their time and services. Facility owners and managers might even consider reaching out to VA hospitals and clinics as partners to make aquatic exercise more readily available to those vets who need it most. 

    On a purely self-serving level, I can’t think of a more noble or effective way to promote the profound health benefits of water-based rehabilitation. The fact is, catering to our active and retired servicemen and women would be spectacular PR. It’s exactly the kind of exposure our industry needs. Beyond that interest, however, is the reality that opening doors to vets could do genuine good for those who are unfortunately being underserved by the institutions designed to help them. 

    Keep in mind that our most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated how modern medical science can keep severely wounded soldiers alive. Ultimately those advances in lifesaving procedures and technology put more burden and responsibility on society at large to take care of these brave souls as they move forward in their post-military lives or seek to re-enter active duty. 

    In saying all this, I realize there are already many facilities moving in this direction, and the call to action is being heard across the aquatics industry. In preparing this discussion, I found the following passage in an article on the website for the Aquatic Exercise Association by Will Corley, an undergraduate in the Exercise Physiology program at West Virginia University: 

    Many different injuries are seen in returning veterans of modern warfare. Since the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, 50,420 United States service members have been wounded in action. Injuries range from chronic lower back pain to multiple limb amputations due to the large forces of present day weapons. Cognitive impairments, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), can make a veteran’s return difficult as well. These injuries and mental disorders can be managed using aquatic therapy and exercise programs… but are there enough nationwide?

    READ MORE: Water Warriors

    For those owners and managers who might not have given the idea any thought, however, maybe the time is nigh. 

    For those of us who aren’t in a position to institute such programs, we can always use our voices to support the idea of opening up aquatic centers to vets, free of charge. You might also consider hosting a fundraiser or donating to the Wounded Warrior Project, which is doing important work helping our wounded service personnel integrate into society. 

    There is always some way you can help. 

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to meeting wounded vet needs. Given the flexibility and power of aquatic therapy, however, our industry is arguably well positioned to offer an important and helpful part of the answer. 


    Eric Herman is senior editor of AB's sister publication AQUA magazine.

     

  • How To Deal With Negativity on Social Media

    by Chris Yandle May 2014

    I hate that I’m addicted to Twitter. There, I said it. It’s already bad enough that there are moments (a lot of moments) that my wife will hide my iPhone so I can’t check Twitter.

  • The Importance of Goal-Setting in Your Career

    by Chris Yandle May 2014

    Did you know that napkins can be used in a multitude of ways? Of course, as the parent of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, I know that a stack of napkins usually provides enough entertainment for our kids when we are out dining at a restaurant.

  • Blog: Think About Your Water Ways

    by Andrew Barnard May 2014

    This spring, I’ve been flying and driving a lot. If you pay attention to it, it’s amazing to witness the impact that water has on the land and on our development patterns. 

  • Rutgers AD Back in Headlines with Headline Comment

    by Michael Gaio April 2014

    Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann is not making any friends with the local media.

  • Blog: Every Athlete Deserves a Certified Athletic Trainer

    by Mike Hopper, Guest Contributor March 2014

    Youth sports injuries seem to continue to pile up. Unfortunately so do the fatalities. In recent years, we’ve heard about many football players who have died after suffering brain trauma. We’ve heard reports of athletes who have died of sudden cardiac death. And we’ve heard of athletes dying of heat illnesses such as exertional heat stroke or sickle cell anemia. In response to that, there have been significant regulations in the way of law or league policies for these various cases.

  • 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.

  • Customer Service Targeting the Club Membership Majority

    by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein February 2014

    No good deed goes unpunished. Said differently, we’ve decided that at times we provide customer service that is too good.

    We don’t mean that arrogantly. What we mean is that we can’t care about things that aren’t important to the majority of our customers. It’s just too hard, and it takes a toll on us financially, professionally and emotionally.

  • Video: Augie Nieto Prepares to Walk on IHRSA Stage

    by Michael Gaio February 2014

    They told him it would never happen. As the paralysis gripped Augie Nieto's body and the awful effects of ALS took away his ability to move, doctors told him he would never walk again.

    But Augie refused to listen.

  • Blog: Don't Let Sexual Orientation Define Sam

    by Michael Gaio February 2014

    "I'm not afraid to tell the world who I am. I'm Michael Sam: I'm a college graduate. I'm African American, and I'm gay," he said. "I'm comfortable in my skin."