July 22, 2011
BY CYNTHIA BILLHARTZ GREGORIAN
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:11 am
ST. LOUIS • Joseph Hayes told a fib. His mother asked the other day if he has been running during the ongoing heat wave.
"I said, ‘No, ma'am,' because I did not want to hear a lecture," said Hayes, 69, of St. Louis.
But there he was Thursday morning, getting ready to start a sweaty, six-mile slog with a group of retired men, ages 61 to 73, who call themselves "The Legends of Forest Park."
The group has been running together several times a week for more than 30 years. They run when it's 8 below zero with a windchill. They run when there's snow and ice on the ground and rain falling from the sky.
And they run when St. Louis is under an excessive heat warning. The current heat warning has been in effect since Saturday and will be until 7 p.m. Sunday.
The "Legends of Forest Park" know that some people think they're crazy.
After all, two people in the Metro East died of heatstroke Wednesday as the temperature hit 100 degrees.
Experts strongly recommend that most people move their workouts indoors. But elite and endurance athletes can survive exercising in saunalike conditions.
"After 30 years, you adapt," Hayes said. "Your body just gets used to it, whether it's cold or hot."
Jason Bennett, an instructor in the department of physical therapy and athletic training at St. Louis University, agrees.
Elite and endurance athletes are more efficient at dissipating heat, he said. "They sweat earlier than nonathletes because their systems respond more quickly to heat, and that can be both core and environmental temperatures."
Bennett points out that they also tend to be lean, so they don't have as much adipose tissue, or body fat, insulating their core. And they usually pay attention to hydration needs.
Bennett worked as an athletic trainer at a soccer tournament with hundreds of children running around in the heat last weekend.
"They were tolerating it because they're lean and they play in it all the time," he said. "But there were parents on the sidelines who aren't in it all the time and who have more body fat, and I had to call 911 because one of them was experiencing heat illness.
"If you haven't been acclimating as the temperature has been ticking up in the past several weeks," he added, "you shouldn't be out in it."
For athletes committed to playing or training in the heat, hydrating before, during and after is crucial, and Bennett recommends they keep tabs on the color of their urine. "If it's straw- or dark-colored, that's not good. It needs to be clear or light yellow," he said, adding that sports drinks are a must to replace electrolytes when exercising more than an hour.
The "Legends of Forest Park" have the same goal - to keep their blood pressure and cholesterol low, their hearts strong and their moods high.
Or as Elson Williams, 66, of St. Louis, put it: "We want to stay alive."
The men meet four times a week inside the Forest Park Visitors Center at about 8 a.m., then run six to 10 miles.
No one can pinpoint the exact year they began running together, but Hayes said he was running about 1.2 miles at Jones Park in East St. Louis in the late 1970s and decided he wanted to go farther.
He and a friend drove to Forest Park, where they found longer running paths and like-minded runners in the Visitor Center locker room.
"We all just kind of jelled," he said. "Runners seem to have a lot of the same values."
They philosophize and talk about current events and politics while they run. Thursday's topic was China's booming economy.
"We talked about dictatorships and what a dictatorship really is," said Gary Forde, 61, of St. Louis, as he cooled down by a water fountain. "Now, they aren't Princeton-Harvard discussions. They're laced with expletives to emphasize a point that's being made."
The group keeps socializing outside of running to a minimum. Too much time together, they figure, might cause squabbles.
Frank Allen, 73, of St. Louis and the eldest of the bunch, recalls several of them going to a funeral together a few years back. And every year or so, they picnic together with family members. They run road races together. But that's it.
"Sometimes I've been running and not known someone's name for the first several months," he said.
After their run Thursday, which took about an hour and 10 minutes, Allen ran up and down a flight of stairs in the Visitors Center while Forde stretched and walked backward.
Normally they run longer.
"But for this week, there's no sense in it," said Forde. "What purpose does it serve? We have a keen sense of our bodies, and we know how much we can push and how much to hold back. We know when to stop and drink or find a shady spot. We exercise judgment."
July 18, 2011
Dr. Tony Breitbach, Director of the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program, appeared on the KPLR11-TV evening news on Monday, July 18, 2011. He discussed youth sports in the heat with KPLR Sports Director Rich Gould.
To view the interview, click this link: http://www.kplr11.com/videobeta/?watchId=c46c1610-00d2-4cbb-bf98-18d2556eba9c
July 15, 2011
Heavy hitters: The sizing up of student athletes
By Sarah Baraba
Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 12:00 am
If you think linemen opposing your kid on the football field look a lot heftier than when you were in high school, you're probably right. Student athletes are getting bigger.
"What's happening is a trend, that to survive in a sport, you have to be bigger and stronger, otherwise you're at a disadvantage," said Anthony Breitbach, director of the athletic training program at St. Louis University.
Year-round training, beefier competition and tougher recruitment requirements are contributing to the sizing-up of student athletes. Consider recently graduated Granite City High School football right tackle and defensive player Casey Krohne. He's 6 feet, 4 inches — and 305 pounds.
Krohne said he worked to get so big for a simple reason: it gives him an advantage on the gridiron.
"No one plays a sport to lose," he said. "So you do what you need to do to get better, and in the sport of football, a large part of it is your size and strength."
There are also real downsides. The race to pump up can mean young players build muscle incorrectly, lose flexibility and even become injured. In rare cases, students are turning to supplements and steroids for speedy boosts in size. Breitbach said it's changing the way the games are played — and maybe even hurting kids.
"What you're seeing are athletes with less finesse, less skill," he said, "and more reliance on athleticism for success."
All sports, all the time
For today's student competitors, the last game of the season doesn't mark the last practice. An increasing number of high school and club teams are lifting weights and endurance training well into the off-season and it's adding to the bulk-up.
"Sports are pretty much year-round nowadays," said Waterloo High School softball coach Sarah Renner. Knowing numbers of her players are already in the weight room during for other sports, she's started to focus off-season work outs on mechanics rather than strength.
The workout regiment has spilled over to young kids — even elementary school students. Krohne said he started lifting weights and running in eighth grade to match his competition.
"You realize when you're a lot younger you need to do that stuff," he said. "Every one wants to be 'that guy' and be huge."
Coaches say their players try to emulate what has proven successful. In many cases, that's muscles.
"Athletes today know just by watching the professionals that they have to do anything that gives them an edge," said Collinsville head volleyball coach Tracy Plagemann.
At the same time, size has also become a draw for college recruiters. That's because stats on paper — scoring averages, number of tackles, but also weight and height — are often the first details a recruiter learns about a prospect, long before he or she is seen in real life. It's a make-or-break situation.
"When you get to those upper echelon schools, they look at size before they get in the door," said Dan Rose, Waterloo High School's head football coach. Stiff scholarship competition and penniless pockets are driving students to do everything they can to beef up.
"People are only able to do so much and kids do look for artificial means to get bigger," said Granite City High School Athletic Director Daren DePew. "As an athletic department, we try to encourage kids to do things the right way, and for the most part they do."
Coaches and officials agree that student athletes make up a huge portion of the supplement market, relying on the substances for a quick fix. In rarer circumstances, some are using anabolic steroids at a huge risk.
"They are potentially very harmful to someone who is not done growing," said Dr. Tyler Wadsworth, of the Center for Orthopedic and Sports Medicine at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville. He said muscle boosting steroids can cause adolescents' growth plates to close, prematurely stopping growth.
Bigger isn't necessarily better
While being the biggest kid on the field may catch a college recruiter's eye — it isn't necessarily helping out the team.
"The bigger you are, the more energy it takes to make you move," Wadsworth said. "If someone is big and bulky and they're in a position that makes them move, that's going to be a problem."
Though many kids are bulking up on muscle, others are just trying to increase size by whatever means possible — and some are becoming obese. High blood pressure, muscle strains and ankle injuries are all effects of excess poundage on athletes. Sports medicine experts say many youth athletes mistake "beach muscles" with the muscles that help them out in their sport.
"The muscles that make you a good athlete aren't the ones you can see in the mirror," Breitbach said.
Coaches stressed without guidance, young athletes may overbuild muscles that can hinder their game.
"We've run into kids that are training in ways that do not help their sport and in some cases actually cause injury," DePew said. "It's something we as coaches and athletic trainers have to educate kids on."
Many coaches said they give their players sport-specific weight training programs that target the muscles they'll need for their position. For the motivated athlete however, the demand for size is a top priority.
"I don't think it's possible," Krohne said, "to be too big or too strong."
Contact reporter Sarah Baraba 618-344-0264 ext. 105
July 11, 2011
Dr. Kitty Newsham, a faculty member in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Saint Louis Athletic Trainers' Association on July 9, 2011. The presentation was on "Vocal Cord Dysfunction" and the meeting was held at The Orthopedic Center of St. Louis in Chesterfield, MO.
July 06, 2011
Congratulations to the Saint Louis University MAT Class of 2011....all 8 of the graduates passed the Board of Certification Examination on the first attempt. It is a tribute to all of their hard work in the classroom and clinical settings over the past 2 years.
July 01, 2011
The construction of the new Education Union and Recreation/Track and Field Complex on the Saint Louis University Medical Center Campus is nearly finished. They both are set to be up and running by when the students arrive for Fall Semester.
|The new Saint Louis University sign facing Compton Ave., complete with the decorative planting of the SLU Fluer-de-Lis logo.|
|The Receation Complex is located adjacent to the Allied Health Building, Center for Advanced Dental Education and the Hickory East Garage.|
|The 8 lane 400 meter track still awaits striping, but the complex has added significant green space to the Medical Center Campus.|
|The sleek facade of the Education Union provide an attractive gateway to the Medical Center Campus.|
|The Clock Tower sits tall at the middle point of the Medical Center Campus, while concrete work and landscaping is being completed around the Education Union.|