Campus Recreation

Campus Recreation in the 21st Century:

January 17, 2012

Addressing Over-Exercise and Eating Disorders

Adrian A. Shepard
Coordinator of Integrated Wellness
Winona State University

The college experience prepares young adults for meaning, purpose, and success by providing the tools necessary for living well-balanced lifestyles. Life-long learning transcends the classroom and extends well into student life and, more specifically, campus recreation. Recreation significantly impacts and influences the lives of college students via the missions set forth by campus recreation departments and woven into the fabric of university life. With an overall shift towards whole person wellness how do we address high-risk behaviors such as over-exercise and eating disorders occurring within the campus recreation setting?

Questions seeking best practices and the identification of universities with established protocols for addressing over-exercise and eating disorders in campus recreation are routinely posed through professional association listservs and at conferences. Though few, campus recreation literature specific to the subject including the role campus recreation professionals can play and suggested strategies has been published in the Recreational Spots Journal (RSJ) in 1989 and 1998.

In December 2009 an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) research clearinghouse approved study was administered to NIRSA members about over-exercise, anorexia, and bulimia. The NIRSA National Center (NNC) identified a sample population that included one professional from each of the NIRSA member institutions with a professional fitness and/or wellness employment position. During a two-week span 128 of 258 people responded for a 50% response rate. In 2011, the results and implications were published by RSJ in an article titled Assessing Over-Exercise, Anorexia, and Bulimia in Campus Recreation.
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Evidence-Based Risk Management: Changing the Zeitgeist

January 17, 2012

Matthew D. Griffith, M.S., RCRSP
Georgia Institute of Technology

In the past two decades, a new way of thinking has taken over the practice of medicine. The central premise is that decisions in medical care should be based on the latest and best scientific knowledge. Dr. David Sackett and colleagues define evidence-based medicine as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients” (1996). The movement has now grown into a storm of physicians committed to conducting, disseminating, and applying valid and reliable research to clinical care.

If you found yourself thinking “what else besides evidence would guide my doctor’s decisions?” then you are naïve about how humans generally make decisions. Although there are thousands of medical studies conducted each year, physicians don’t use much of it. In How Doctors Think, Dr. Jerome Groopman references research that show only about 15% of physician’s decisions are based on sound evidence (2008). Instead of evidence, doctors more often rely on obsolete knowledge gained in medical school, long-standing but never proven traditions, patterns gathered from experience, methods they are most skilled in applying, and information from vendors with products to sell.

Unfortunately, the same behavior holds true for risk managers in recreation and sport. In fact, it could be argued, that risk managers are far more ignorant than doctors about which prescriptions are reliable–and less willing to find out. It’s time to move the zeitgeist away from making decisions based on ideology and unsystematic experience toward those based on the best available evidence.

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How Accessible are You?

December 08, 2011

An examination of the 2010 ADA Standards

Lexi Christoules-Chaput
Assistant Director, Informal Sports & Student Personnel
CAMPUS RECREATIONAL SPORTS
Indiana University

Ira Wrestler
Assistant Director, Aquatics and Safety
University Recreation
Central Michigan University

On July 26th, 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. The law would prove to be a huge victory for Americans with disabilities in gaining equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. In celebrating the 20 anniversary of the act, the Department of Justice revised regulations and the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design were signed into law, and the revisions are sure to impact campus recreation facilities nationwide.

Below is a brief history of the act got to where it is today
1968 — Architectural Barriers Act (ABA)- First act put into place defining access standards
1990 — Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
1991 — Access Board publishes ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and Department of Justice signs into law
2002 — ADAAG is revised (adopted in 2004) — this is the first time recreation facilities are mentioned
2010 — ADAAG Standards for Accessible Design is created and signed into law

There are two major parties involved in the creation, implementation and enforcement of ADA standards and laws. The first party is The Access Board, an independent Federal agency created in 1973 to ensure access. It operates with 28 full time staff members. Half (14) of the representatives are appointed from most Federal departments, and the other 14 members are appointed by the president to a four-year term, a majority of whom must have a disability. The board is responsible for creating standards that are adopted by others, maintaining design criteria and providing technical assistance and training. This is the group who deals with standards for all new construction and can and should be contacted for consultation when facility planning is being done. This responsibility falls mainly with the architect of the facility, but the organization managing the facility after completion can also contact the Access Board with questions.

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The Uncertainty Factor in Risk Management

November 23, 2011

Kneejerk Reactions Do More Harm Than Good

Matthew D. Griffith, M.S., RCRSP
Georgia Institute of Technology

Hearing the words “high dive” evokes strong memories and great stories from many adults. It was almost a right-of-passage at the local pool. Unfortunately, there are not many 3-meter diving boards left in North America, and today’s kids will not have that terrorizing, yet exhilarating experience of their first jump from ten feet. The removal of diving boards is indicative of a spreading and disturbing phenomenon in risk management, the unsubstantiated elimination of programs and activities resulting from kneejerk reactions and poor analysis.

To be an effective risk manager, it is necessary to have an appropriate working definition of risk. The problem is that there is no agreed upon definition of risk, in fact, a quick internet search produced at least 25 different definitions. While realizing that risk does indeed have different meanings in different applications and industries, a good general definition for use in recreational risk management is the probability of a hazard to lead to a loss. It is critical to understand that “risk” is the probability, which can be measured and quantified.

In addition to understanding the definition of risk, a thorough understanding of the difference between risk and uncertainty is important to a risk manager’s success. Uncertainty is not the same as risk, it is inherently immeasurable. With risk, the odds are known, or at the least, there is information and data that can be used to quantify it. This is the case with the lottery, although someone who buys a Mega Millions ticket may not know the odds of winning, it can be calculated using available information. With uncertainty though, the odds, by definition, cannot be known. Differentiating between risk and uncertainty underscores the many challenging decisions a risk manager must make.

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The Scariest Four Letter Word in Campus Recreation: Part I

July 19, 2011

Matt Campbell, J.D.
Assistant Director, Campus Recreation
Marshall University

Acknowledging the most feared four letter word in Campus Recreation is the first step in understanding it : R-I-S-K.

Risk…there, it’s out in the open. And now that it has been acknowledged, perhaps we can move beyond the knee-jerk reaction and discuss how risk is controlled, or in legal terms, mitigated. Because as scary as risk may be, nothing is more terrifying than finding out your plan to control that risk is inadequate or outdated.

This article will explore why risk is such an ominous topic for recreation professionals, what the current standard is for mitigating risk in campus recreation, and where the legal decisions are trending with regard to mitigating risk.

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The Scariest Four Letter Word in Campus Recreation: Part II

July 19, 2011

Matt Campbell, J.D.
Assistant Director, Campus Recreation
Marshall University

In Part I of this article, we discussed the risk assessment tool developed by Peter Sandman dubbed the “Outrage Model.” In the Outrage Model, Sandman defines risk as hazard plus outrage. Applying this model to risk in campus recreation, we can assign hazard as the objective factor, such as the safety of a playing surface or wear and tear to equipment, and outrage as the subjective factor, such as the criticism and emotional reaction to these hazards. These criticisms and emotional reactions have lead to an increase in litigation and a paradigm change regarding assumption of risk. In Part I, a table showing which jurisdictions are likely to uphold a waiver or assumption of risk clause and which are not was produced. In this article we will outline how to move away from legal jargon and develop an effective, dynamic waiver document.

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