Most Division I college sports are money losers - including men's basketball and football. A few schools mint money on them and everyone else is willing to absorb the loss as a cost of doing business. Women's sports are generally money losers, but there are a few exceptions. This year women's volleyball eclipsed women's basketball in popularity and some schools were near past financial breakeven. The University of Nebraska appears to be leading the way.
Cigarette smoking: an underused tool in high-performance endurance training
The review paper is a staple of medical literature and, when well executed by an expert in the field, can provide a summary of literature that generates useful recommendations and new conceptualizations of a topic. However, if research results are selectively chosen, a review has the potential to create a convincing argument for a faulty hypothesis. Improper correlation or extrapolation of data can result in dangerously flawed conclusions. The following paper seeks to illustrate this point, using existing research to argue the hypothesis that cigarette smoking enhances endurance performance and should be incorporated into high-level training programs.
When Ronaldo da Costa broke the finish-line tape at the 1998 Berlin Marathon, he began dancing a samba. He deserved to party: The marathon world record had been stuck at 2:06:50 since 1988, after creeping down an average of just five seconds a year since the late ’60s. The wafer-thin Brazilian had shattered the mark by 45 seconds. And that was just the beginning: Including da Costa’s run, the record has been broken nine times, by a total of three minutes, 53 seconds, leaving us just two minutes, 57 seconds away from the two-hour marathon. The current world record of 2:02:57, set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto this year in Berlin, works out to 4:41.5 per mile; a sub-two would require less than 4:35 per mile. Will a human ever run that fast? To answer that question, we assembled a database of more than 10,000 top marathon performances going back half a century, using rankings compiled by the Association of Road Racing Statisticians. We crunched the numbers and plotted the trends to identify the factors that helped race times improve so dramatically since da Costa’s 1998 performance. Why? Because it’s those nine factors that will determine the likelihood of a sub-two-hour race—and they’ll all have to align to create the perfect race for the perfect runner.
Many assume that brain damage in football players is ok as the players are well paid adults. Unfortunately damage can happen much earlier - during high school and college. Very few make it into professional play so many have wondered about liability and social morality. A piece in the Washington Post reflects a growing sentiment.
One has to wonder if the fundamental game will change to something safer - there is historical precedent. On the other hand it is big business and a form of secular religion for many American males.
I wonder how many families are asking questions about having their teenage boys play football these days?
I don't know how this will square with the hyper-protection of kids, but one wonders about the long term survival of high school football with new informaiton on brain injuries.
New data from the United States’ largest repository of human brain samples has shown that an overwhelming majority of NFL players who submitted their brains for analysis after their death suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The Department of Veterans Affairs’ brain repository, based in Massachusetts, found that 76 of 79 former pro players had evidence of the condition, which can be caused by repeated head trauma.
The brains were submitted for study after death
The findings came as part of a wider study in which the department examined the brains of 128 deceased football players who had played the game at professional, semi-professional, college, or high school level. It found that even in the brains of those that had played at lower standards, the rate of CTE was high — of the 128 players, 101 tested positive for the disease. The brain condition is caused when blows to the head cause the production of tau, a protein that manifests as dense tangles around the brain’s normal cells and blood vessels. The degenerative condition can cause depression and fits of rage among its sufferers, and confusion, memory loss, and dementia later in life.