Newsletter Articles

Risk Management in Intramural Quidditch

February 25, 2014

Jack Butler, Director of Intramural Sports, Northeastern University
Ryan Garcia Townzen, Intramural Coordinator, University of Minnesota

In the pages of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Quidditch is a sport played by wizards and witches whizzing about on magical flying brooms. “Muggles” quidditch is a version of the game played without the aforementioned and impossible magical equipment. Since its invention, the sport has grown in popularity across the globe. The sport’s governing body, the International Quidditch Association (IQA), boasts that the sport is now played at “over 300 universities and high schools throughout North America, Australia, and Europe” (IQA, 2013). However, the majority of these schools only offer it as a club sport. This article examines the rule and policy changes that need to be made in order to offer a safe, yet fun version of intramural quidditch.

What makes club quidditch potentially too unsafe to offer as an intramural sport? To begin with the rules allow for players to tackle one another as a means of playing defense. There can also be full speed collisions between “chasers” and “keepers.” Another problem is that the “snitch” and the “seekers” area of play is technically unlimited and can be well out of the officials range of vision. But just as the traditional rules of football, hockey and soccer can be modified to create a safer playing environment, so can “club” quidditch be tamed enough to make it an intramural sport.
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Event Security Planning

February 25, 2014

The Ball is In Your Court
By Katharine M. Nohr, J.D.

Security planning has recently been highly publicized in relation to the Super Bowl and the Olympic Games in Sochi.  High profile events and those that attract thousands of attendees and participants, such as the Boston Marathon, are potential terrorist targets, because of the media attention that will bring the terrorist’s message to the public.  Your sporting events very likely will not attract millions of television viewers, but that doesn’t mean that security shouldn’t be of prime consideration when you develop you risk management plan.

The first step to evaluating security needs begins with risk assessment.  What possible scenarios can you foresee at your event?  In order to evaluate this, you should look at the history of your organization’s events and considered what problems have occurred at similar events in your region and in other locales.  Have you had problems with fights breaking out in the stands?  Are you concerned about attendees carrying weapons?  Is there a risk of a riot post game?
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Eating Disorders — Understanding and Identifying

February 25, 2014

New Year’s Resolution and Spring Break Extremes
Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

How many times have you been to the gym since January 1st? As a regular patron of our wellness center, I get cracked up every year at the large volume of patrons coming into the facility eager to shed some additional weight gained during the “eating season” (what I refer to the time between Halloween and New Year’s), and attempt yet another New Year’s resolution.

Oftentimes, a different attitude for spending so much time in the fitness facility (I’m referring to the students) is dedicated to Spring Break (aka bikini week). Since most colleges/universities traditionally have spring break somewhere during the month of March, this leaves approximately 6-8 weeks from the start of the New Year for college students to get ‘beach ready.’ Since nearly every minute of college life seems to be documented and imaged via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) it appears as though both males and females feel extra pressure to appear fit and trim for the ritualistic southern migration to warmer climates.

Sadly, as our American culture has become obsessed with weight, we have in turn, created a monster. We chastise our own population for an obesity crisis, while seemingly ignoring the polar opposite, starvation. In my opinion, “diet” is now one of the worst four-letter words in our language because it is often carried to an extreme, not consistently followed, and repeated over and over again with no sustained positive long term effects.
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Preparing Your Staff for the Real Deal

January 15, 2014

The Importance of Red Shirt Drills

Gabby Marquez
Aquatics Program Director
Campus Recreation and Intramurals
Georgia Southern University

Henry Ford once said, “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success” and this is true for emergency readiness. Preparing your staff for an emergency can be like riding a bike; they may fall several times, but with practice and patience they will master the skills and they will never fall again. In this article, we will dissect the components of an audit system called ‘Red Shirt Drills’. Red Shirt Drills are scenarios that are put in place to test staff performance during an emergency situation. The main goal of this audit system is to create an environment where the staff can feel ready to perform under stressful situations and the element of surprise is diminished. Red Shirt Drills can be applied to any program area within your recreational facility; aquatics, intramural sports, fitness, facilities and beyond.

Phase 1: Assessing Your Staff’s Prior Knowledge
The main point for this phase is to determine what your staff already know or don’t know about the skills you want to implement. Begin by discussing your goals with the staff. Let them know that during this phase you want them act to the best of their abilities. Written and practical pre-tests can be your greatest tool in this phase. For example, a key component to any emergency response is the responder’s knowledge of CPR/AED and First Aid. To assess their knowledge, start with a written exam from your CPR/AED and First Aid provider. Then, have the staff demonstrate the skills they were asked about in the exam. Document your findings; where do they excel? Where are they weak? Read more

Mental Health

January 15, 2014

Where does Campus Recreation fit in?

Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

As more and more young adults come to colleges and universities seeking an education, they bring with them high-risk health behaviors that can impede their academic success. Post-secondary institutions have programs, services, and supports in place specifically designed to ease the transition into college, provide academic assistance services, promote a safe learning and living environment as well as facilities and departments dedicated to raising awareness of and maintaining physical and mental health.

Along with alcohol, mental health has become a major concern for institutions of higher education as many times, the two go hand in hand. What may be considered ‘typical’ college student behavior, could in fact, be masking underlying issues which can include, but are not limited to; lack of sleep and physical activity, drastic mood swings, and social isolation.

Growing concerns of behaviors among college students, most commonly associated with mental health, have resulted in a call for post-secondary institutions to consider implementing Healthy Campus 2020. Healthy Campus 2020 is the National College Health Associations adaptation of Healthy People 2020. Healthy People 2020 is a 10-year initiative sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services which monitors the health status and behaviors of Americans. The National College Health Association also partners with NIRSA, NASPA, ACPA and The BACCHUS Network. Read more

Hazing — Alive, Well, and Disastrous

January 15, 2014

Ryan Hamilton, PhD MSES
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of New Brunswick
Sport Psychology Consultant

Editors Note: This is one of two articles by Dr. Hamilton on Hazing. The next Newsletter discusses Hazing Strategies.

Hazing Defined
Hazing has been most often defined as “any activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate” (Hoover, 1999). Others have added to the hazing definition by stating that hazing includes, but is not limited to, an activity, no matter how traditional or seemingly benign, that sets apart or alienates any member of the group based on class, number of years in the group, or ability” Hazing usually occurs as a part of the initiation process and is prevalent in many spheres of society, including fraternities, the military, corporations, and athletics. Read more

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