Newsletter Articles

Communicable Diseases

February 05, 2013

The holiday gift you don’t want to receive…

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

‘Tis the season for germs and no one wants to have their holiday fun ruined feeling under the weather. Having to stay in due to snow is one thing; staying home because you and your germs are not a welcome party guest is another.

This season, share the love, not the germs by keeping in mind that the best prevention is protection. On a personal level, some simple steps make a huge difference:

  • Hand washing
  • Covering your cough or sneeze
  • Staying home when you have a fever
  • Not sharing personal items such as towels, razors and uniforms jerseys
  • Covering an open wound
  • Constantly disinfecting high contact items (i.e. weight/bench equipment, doorknobs, computers, phones, bathrooms, etc.)

Typically during this time of year, we tend to be more concerned about colds/flu. However, since the initial hype in 2007 regarding MRSA, many of us may have let it slide off our radar. Consequently, it is important to remember that Flu and MRSA germs have very similar methods of transmission and can live outside the body for extended periods of time, and passed in droplet form by way of a sneeze or cough.
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Minimizing Risk Through Classification

February 05, 2013

Lexi Chaput
Assistant Director, Informal Sports & Student Personnel
Campus Recreational Sports
Indiana University

As another school year settles in and club sports get back in the swing of things, many universities and professionals are concerned with the level of safety and supervision that is being provided for the students participating. Although there is no way to ensure 100% safety at all times, there are some tools you can create and use to be sure the major risks involved in the various activities are thought through and minimized.

Classifying risk can assist a department and university in determining what type of risk they willing to assume, the level of risk they are already assuming and what measures should be taken to minimize the risk.

If you are not already assessing the risk of your club sports using one or more matrices, this is a great opportunity to start creating documents that can be used to put a quantitative value to an activity, classify it in a category, and have an easier way to determine the requirements that club must meet to safely be a part of the department and university.

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Weighing the Uncertain Outcome of Trial Against Settlement

February 05, 2013

Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Nohr Sports Risk Management, LLC

You may have followed the Barnhard v. Cybex International, Inc. product liability lawsuit in which the Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, reduced the lower court judgment by 31% to approximately $44 Million. Later, Cybex entered into a settlement agreement, agreeing to pay, net of insurance, $19,500,000.

The case arose out of an accident that occurred when Plaintiff Natalie Barnhard was working as a physical therapist and a 500 lb. Cybex exercise machine fell on her, resulting in paralysis. A jury awarded Plaintiff $66 million, finding Cybex 75% at fault.

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Transgender Participants in Campus Recreation

September 18, 2012

Samantha Edelman
Assistant Manager – Facilities
San Jose State University

The average recreation user faces many challenges when seeking to participate within recreation programs and facilities, including time, money, family, and other obligations. The following article seeks to shine some light on a population that is often times misunderstood and overlooked — the transgender community. The article also shares a ‘Steps to Inclusive Recreation’ section as well as a Transgender Audit a department can use to ensure they are taking steps in the right direction.

Here are some brief definitions that will be used in this article:

Gender Identity — One’s Internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or a boy or a girl). usually developed during early childhood as a result of parental rearing practices and societal influences and strengthened during puberty by hormonal changes. For transgender people, their birth-assigned sex and their own internal sense of gender identity do not match.

Gender Expression — External manifestation of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through “masculine”, “feminine” or gender- variant behavior, clothing, haircut, voice or body characteristics. Typically transgender people seek to make their gender expression match their gender identity, rather than their birth-assigned sex.

Sex — The classification of people as male or female. At birth, infants are assigned a sex based on a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitals.

Sexual Orientation– one’s natural preference in sexual partners; predilection for homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.

Transgender-An umbrella term (adj.) for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers and other gender- variant people. Transgender people may identify as female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF). Use the descriptive term (transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, FTM or MTF) preferred by the individual. Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.

Transsexual– a person having a strong desire to assume the physical characteristics and gender role of the opposite sex.
An older term which originated in the medical and psychological communities. While some transsexual people still prefer to use the term to describe themselves, many transgender people prefer the term transgender to transsexual.

Transman-“trans men” referred specifically to female-to-male transgender person

Transwoman-“trans woman” referred specifically to male-to-female transgender person

Heteronormativity– a term to describe the marginalization of non-heterosexual lifestyles and the view that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation. Those punitive rules (social, familial, and legal) that force us to conform to hegemonic, heterosexual standards for identity. The term is a short version of “normative heterosexuality.”

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Head Injuries

September 18, 2012

Head Injuries: TBI, Concussion and PCS
What does all this mean and why should we care?

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

TBI – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (, “a traumatic brain injury is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.” The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (, categorize TBI as mild, moderate or severe depending on the extent of the damage sustained to the brain. A person who sustains a mild TBI may only exhibit brief changes in mental state or consciousness, whereas a person with a moderate to severe damage can lapse into extended periods of unconsciousness, a coma, or die.

TBI symptoms — Constant or reoccurring headache; inability to control or coordinate motor functions or balance; changes in ability to hear, taste, see, dizziness and hypersensitivity to light or sound; shortened attention span; easily distracted, overstimulated by environment; difficulty staying on task, following directions or understanding information; feeling disoriented or confused; difficulty finding the ‘right words,’ expressing thoughts or slurred speech.

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Webinar on Concussions

September 18, 2012

Bob Liebau
Associate Director of Campus Recreation
University of Mary Washington

A recent article in September issue of Athletic Business entitled MAKING HEADLINES — THE CONCUSSIONS EPIDEMIC RETURNS TO A FAMILIAR THEME: HELMET SAFETY, author Michael Popke points out some recent changes to the game of football based on our new understanding of the seriousness of concussions. Pop Warner Football now bans head-to-head hits. A new high school and college rule requires any player losing his helmet on the field of play to leave the field for one play before returning. And it’s not just football. We are beginning to see more headgear worn by soccer players. More than 20 NFL and NHL have added Kevlar gear to their equipment and at least two dozen pros are using Concussion Reducing Technology (CRT) pads to their helmets.

Why? In the hope that such measures will make sport safer for all participants regardless of the level of play. But despite the best efforts, the reality is that concussions can happen to any person, at any time, in any sport. Are you prepared for that? How are you going to deal with concussions that happen in your Sport Clubs or Intramural programs?

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