Newsletter Articles

Eating Disorders and Over-Exercise in Collegiate Recreation (Part II)

October 18, 2015

A Reflection on the Last 15 Years

Adrian A. Shepard, MS, RCRSP
Recreation Management Program Faculty, Madison College

Editor’s Note: this is part 2 in the series

It’s essential for recreation professionals to know and understand their scope of practice. Unless qualified to do so, recreation professionals can’t diagnose eating disorders. However, they can look for observable signs that may signify eating disorders. The following table provides behaviors and symptoms associated with eating disorders as provided by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED). Read more

Eating Disorders and Over-Exercise in Collegiate Recreation (Part I)

September 15, 2014

Eating Disorders and Over-Exercise in Collegiate Recreation (Part I):

A Reflection on the Last 15 Years

Adrian A. Shepard, MS, RCRSP

Recreation Management Program Faculty, Madison College

The following information has been inspired by and extracted from the 2014 NIRSA Annual Conference & Exposition presentation, Eating Disorders and Over-Exercise: Reflection on 15 Years of Experience, conceived by the late Karen Miller from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and presented by Cathy Jewell from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Katie Kage from the University of Northern Colorado, Jill Urkoski from the University of Kansas and Adrian Shepard from Madison College.

Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series.

Collegiate Recreation has evolved from primarily intramurals and club sports to include aquatics, outdoor/challenge education, fitness, wellness, environmentalism and sustainability. With this growth comes great opportunity for recreation professionals to expand their knowledge and help meet the emerging needs of those they serve on a holistic level.

Research continues to show the positive impact Collegiate Recreation has on student recruitment, retention, academic performance, life skills development and wellbeing. However, this opportunity to impact others isn’t without challenges. In particular, (especially in fitness and facility operations), understanding what steps to take when there is a concern for students who may be struggling with high-risk behaviors such as eating disorders and over-exercise. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 95% of those with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26. The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders found that of this population, nearly 25% of college-age women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight management technique.

Contrary to popular believe, such behaviors aren’t limited to females as 10-15% of males struggle with anorexia or bulimia (Carlat and Camargo, 1997). Research also indicates that over one-half of females and nearly one-third of males attempt to control their weight by skipping meals, fasting and taking laxatives (Neumark-Sztainer, 2005). Media and perception complicates matters by reinforcing unhealthy behaviors as the body type portrayed in advertising as ideal is possessed by just 5% of American females (Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, 2003). As people attempt to lose weight, 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of this population, 20-25% progress to partial or full eating disorders.

As a result, campus personnel have dedicated more time and effort towards identifying program participants and recreation facility patrons who could be at risk (Shisslak, C.M., Crago, M., Estes, L.S. 1995). Read more

Feeding the Risk Gap

September 15, 2014

Feeding the Risk Gap
…. and getting buy-in from Risk Management

Mark Oldmixon
Director of Recreation, Adventure and Wellness
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Campus recreation programs struggle to find the balance between providing students with programs/sports/activities that are often perceived as ‘high-risk’ while avoiding administrative concerns for major liability. The advantage campus recreation programs have is the statistical research reflecting a generation who is exposed to risk-taking behavior at all times and are therefore going to engage in other risk taking behaviors which often lead to poor academic success. By providing the programs and opportunities for students to engage in more physical and social activities, the likelihood that they will engage in drinking, drugs, and other reckless behavior decreases.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ risk story has a large asterisk associated: *takes place in Fairbanks, Alaska.

  1. Residents of Alaska are naturally accepting of everyday risks and comfortable living with in environments not suitable to most in the lower 48 states.
  2. Temperatures in winter regularly dip below -30F.
  3. Children play at recess until -20F. Fairbanks’ shortest day sees a little more than 3 hours of sunlight.
  4. It is a notable day when it doesn’t snow in the winter.
  5. School is only cancelled in winter when temps climb too high and things melt.
  6. Over 5% of Fairbanks’ population doesn’t have running water, showers or toilets.

And these are just the urban risks! Risk increases significantly as soon as you leave the city boundaries and ultimately you must rely on self-rescue techniques. Read more

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

February 25, 2014

The importance of Accident & Incident Report Forms

Maggie Cattell
Aquatic Coordinator
Florida Southern College

It was my first week on the job and my first major event to be working. I was a risk management mentor. A job title that meant little to anyone who worked outside of our own Campus Recreation staff but to those who did work there I was the expert on anything accident or incident related. Whenever something occurred, it was my job to ensure the student staff acted accordingly and my responsibility to step in if they didn’t. I should have known that the combination of the high intensity water polo matches taking place and my own personal magnetism for accidents that something would happen. I was making my rounds when the call came over the radio for an ambulance. I and the supervisor on duty stepped up our fast walk to a run when we heard it was a head/neck/back injury. The lifeguard speaking on the radio was calm and descriptive so I expected for the response I was about to witness to be organized and thorough.

What I found was an upset and concerned lifeguard who was being told that the trainers would take care of the participant and that her services were not necessary. The lifeguard was anxious to provide the care she had been trained to give, the supervisor was irate that our emergency action plan wasn’t going as expected, however I wasn’t sure if we had authority over athletic trainers to call them off. The last thing this situation needed was a power struggle and I chose to reassure the staff and stand by in case the trainer changed their mind and did want our assistance. The toughest part of that day: finding a way to describe this accident in a report form.
Read more

Waivers 101

February 25, 2014

John Wolohan
Professor of Sports Law
Department of Sport Management
Syracuse University

There is perhaps no greater issue in the sport, recreation and health club industries than the use and interpretation of waivers. Considering how important waivers are, and how much they are being used, it is amazing that there is still such a great deal of misunderstanding over their legal value and the protection they can provide. This article attempts to demystify waivers and provide readers with a basic understanding of how they work.

Perhaps, first, and foremost, it is important to note that a waiver is a contract entered into between the user of the recreation or health club services and the service provider. In the contract, the user agrees to relinquish his or her legal right to sue the service provider in the event that the user is injured as a result of the provider’s negligence. In exchange for giving up their legal right to sue the service provider, the service provider agrees to allow the individual to use the recreation and health club’s services and facilities. It is important to note that as a general rule the waiver will only protect the service provider from liability for ordinary negligence and will not protect the service provider or its employees from gross negligence or reckless misconduct.

Second, the legality of a waiver is determined by state, not federal law, and therefore its validity will vary depending upon the state. Therefore, just because a recreation or health club facility uses a waiver legally in one state that does not mean that it will be valid in another state. It should be noted that in at least 43 states, a well-written, properly administered waiver, voluntarily signed by an adult, can be used to protect the recreation or sport business from liability for ordinary negligence by the business or its employees. It should also be noted that in three states: Louisiana; Montana and Virginia all waivers will be void since the courts have found them to violate public policy.
Read more

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