The Athletic Department at Sizeable State University has struggled both on and off the field in recent years. With a majority of their teams finishing in the bottom half of the conference 3 years in a row, student attendance at home athletic events is at an all-time low. Despite these challenges, the women’s basketball team has found success in recent years even finishing first in the conference last season and making a trip to the NCAA tournament. With an incoming student class made up of majority females, and a growing mound of research on female sports fandom, the athletic director has challenged the marketing team to specifically target female college students with their marketing initiatives in the upcoming season. Driven by a largely female leadership team at Sizable State University, Grace Perkins, the associate athletic director for marketing, has been tasked with developing these new marketing strategies which will drive female student attendance at home athletic events, with particular focus on home women’s basketball games.
Liz Sattler, Claire Trattner, and Rebecca Achen
Evan L. Frederick and Ann Pegoraro
The purpose of this commentary is to present the state of sport, social media, and crisis communication research. Existing crisis-communication research involving athletes and coaches; collegiate institutions; teams, leagues, and governing bodies; journalists; and other sport entities are discussed. The commentary concludes with a discussion of directions for future research, including (a) interviewing industry professionals, (b) employing survey design to examine user response, (c) employing experimental design with social media manipulations, (d) validating and developing frameworks, and (e) examining additional social media platforms.
Matthias Hovorka, Peter Leo, Dieter Simon, Clemens Rumpl, and Alfred Nimmerichter
Purpose: The purpose of the current investigation was to retrospectively assess possible differences in physiological performance characteristics between junior cyclists signing a contract with an under-23 (U23) development team versus those failing to sign such a contract. Methods: Twenty-five male junior cyclists (age: 18.1 [0.7] y, stature: 181.9 [6.0] cm, body mass: 69.1 [7.9] kg, peak oxygen uptake: 71.3 [6.2] mL·min−1·kg−1) were assigned to this investigation. Between September and October of the last year in the junior category, each cyclist performed a ramp incremental exercise test to determine certain physiological performance characteristics. Subsequently, participants were divided in 2 groups: (1) those signing a contract with a U23 development team (JUNIORU23) and (2) those failing to sign such a contract (JUNIORNON-U23). Unpaired t tests were used to assess possible between-groups differences in physiological performance characteristics. The level of statistical significance was set at P < .05 two tailed. Results: No significant between-groups differences in submaximal (ie, gas exchange threshold, respiratory compensation point) and maximal physiological performance characteristics (ie, peak work rate, peak oxygen uptake) expressed in absolute values (ie, L·min−1, W) were observed (P > .05). However, significant between-groups differences were observed when physiological performance characteristics were expressed relative to the cyclists’ body weights (P < .05). Conclusions: The current investigation showed that junior cyclists stepping up to a U23 development team might be retrospectively differentiated from junior cyclists not stepping up based on certain physiological performance characteristics, which might inform practitioners and/or federations working with young cyclists during the long-term athletic development process.
Emma J. Kavanagh, Chelsea Litchfield, and Jaquelyn Osborne
While the topic of athlete welfare has gained significant attention in academic literature, to date there has been a primacy placed on physical settings and their ability to augment or thwart the welfare of athletes. The discourse has, therefore, neglected the advent of social media spaces and their potential to have a significant impact on athlete welfare. Social media platforms are now a vital component in the lives of athletes who are increasingly reliant on maintaining an online presence and following. In this commentary, we consider the scope of social media and its potential impact on the welfare of athletes, particularly female athletes. In doing so, we identify and discuss some of the positive health and well-being outcomes associated with increased online communication and self-representation in social media spaces. We examine the scholarship concerning the threats posed by social media spaces, consider power in virtual environments and its impact on welfare, and finally suggest some future directions for scholarship in this field.
Timothy D. Griest, Michael J. Saunders, Christopher J. Womack, and Nicholas D. Luden
Purpose: The primary objective was to assess the performance benefits of caffeine (CAF) supplementation in habitual users. Importantly, this investigation was designed to account for the potential confounding effects of CAF withdrawal (CAFW), which are inherent and common in previous work. Methods: Ten CAF-consuming (394  mg·d−1) recreational cyclists (age 39.1 [14.9] y; maximum oxygen consumption 54.2 [6.2] mL·kg–1·min–1) completed four 10-km time trials (TTs) on a cycle ergometer. On each trial day, 8 hours before reporting to the laboratory, subjects consumed 1.5 mg·kg–1 CAF to prevent withdrawal (no withdrawal [N]) or a placebo (PLA; withdrawal [W]). Then, 1 hour prior to exercise, they received either 6 mg·kg–1 CAF or PLA. These protocols were repeated 4 times, employing all combinations of N/W and CAF/PLA. Results: CAFW did not impair TT power output (PLAW vs PLAN P = .13). However, preexercise CAF only improved TT performance when compared to PLA in the W condition (CAFN vs PLAW P = .008, CAFW vs PLAW P = .04), not when W was mitigated (PLAN vs CAFN P = .33). Conclusions: These data indicate that preexercise CAF only improves recreational cycling performance when compared to bouts preceded by CAF abstinence, suggesting that habitual users may not benefit from 6 mg·kg–1 of CAF and that previous work may have overstated the value of CAF supplementation for habitual users. Future work should examine higher doses of CAF for habitual users.
Emily Bremer, Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Brianna Tsui, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, Sarah A. Moore, Krista L. Best, and Christine Voss
Purpose: To examine the feasibility and utility of the Fitbit Charge HR to estimate physical activity among ambulatory children and youth with disabilities. Method: Participants (4–17 y old) with disabilities were recruited and asked to wear a Fitbit for 28 days. Feasibility was assessed as the number of participants who adhered to the 28-day protocol. Heat maps were generated to visually examine variability in step count by age, gender, and disability group. Between-group differences for wear time and step counts by age, gender, and disability type were assessed by independent sample t tests for gender and disability group, and a 1-way analysis of variance for age group. Results: Participants (N = 157; median age = 10 y; 71% boys; 71% nonphysical disabilities) averaged 21 valid days of wear time. Wear time was higher in girls than boys (mean difference = 18.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.8 to 29.1), and in preadolescents (mean difference = 27.6; 95% CI, 15.5 to 39.7) and adolescents (mean difference = −21.2; 95% CI, −33.6 to −8.7) than children. More daily steps were taken by boys than girls (mean difference = −1040; 95% CI, −1465 to −615) and individuals with a nonphysical disability than a physical disability (mean difference = −1120; 95% CI, −1474 to −765). The heat maps showed peaks in physical activity on weekdays before school, at recess, lunchtime, and after school. Conclusion: The Fitbit is a feasible tool for monitoring physical activity among ambulatory children and youth with disabilities and may be useful for population-level surveillance and intervention.
Eric M. Martin, Megan Byrd, Adriana Amador, Emma Ridenhour, and Carolena Charalambous
Context: The influence of several psychological characteristics on the willingness of athletes to report concussion behaviors has not been well explored. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to understand how athletic identity and sport passion predicted participants’ willingness to report symptoms above what was explained by athlete demographics, concussion knowledge, and perceived seriousness of concussions. Design: The study was cross-sectional. Methods: Three-hundred and twenty-two male and female high school and club sport athletes completed survey measures of concussion knowledge, athletic identity, harmonious and obsessive passion, and degree to which athletes indicated they would report concussions and concussion symptoms. Results: Athletes scored moderately high on their knowledge of symptoms and other concussion information (mean = 16.21; ± = 2.88) and above the midpoint on their attitudes and behaviors toward reporting concussion symptoms (mean = 3.64; ± = 0.70). There were no differences between gender, t(299) = −.78, P = .44, and previous concussion education, t(296) = 1.93, P = .06, related to concussion knowledge. Results of a hierarchical regression indicated that after entering athlete demographics, concussion knowledge, and perceived seriousness of concussions, of the 3 psychological variables in the final stage of the model, only obsessive passion was a significant predictor of athlete’s attitudes to report a concussion. Conclusions: Perceived seriousness of concussion, perceived threat to long-term health, and obsessive passion were the strongest predictors of athlete’s willingness to report concussions. Athletes who did not believe concussions posed a threat to their current or future health, and those that held an obsessive passion for sport were most at risk for not reporting concussions. Future research should continue to investigate the relationship between reporting behaviors and psychological factors.
Sarah Evans and Stephen M. Llano
Tryhard is a derogatory term aimed to insult players who are “trying too hard” in video games. In the past few years, there have been notable controversies surrounding tryhard, most insidiously in a memetic permutation of the term via the TriHard emote on Twitch. We will use the case of the meme “tryhard” and the racist deployments of the emote “TriHard” to show how the meme generates meaning from circulation, enabling a variety of interpretations. We argue that claims about banning particular memes or emotes on Twitch are part of this battle over the stability of the meaning of the utterance, not a solution to the potential for memes to carry negative or harmful meanings. The implication is that decisions like banning a meme or restricting its circulation will eliminate the problem of inappropriate meaning. We argue that such policies remove this reconstitutive ability from communities, eliminating the opportunity for rearticulation and, therefore, new definitions.
Ricardo J.S. Costa, Kayla Henningsen, Stephanie K. Gaskell, Rebekah Alcock, Alice Mika, Christopher Rauch, Samuel N. Cheuvront, Phil Blazy, and Robert Kenefick
The study aimed to determine the effects of two differing amino acid beverage interventions on biomarkers of intestinal epithelial integrity and systemic inflammation in response to an exertional-heat stress challenge. One week after the initial assessment, participants (n = 20) were randomly allocated to complete two exertional-heat stress trials, with at least 1 week washout. Trials included a water control trial (CON), and one of two possible amino acid beverage intervention trials (VS001 or VS006). On VS001 (4.5 g/L) and VS006 (6.4 g/L), participants were asked to consume two 237-ml prefabricated doses daily for 7 days before the exertional-heat stress, and one 237-ml dose immediately before, and every 20 min during 2-hr running at 60% maximal oxygen uptake in 35 °C ambient conditions. A water volume equivalent was provided on CON. Whole blood samples were collected pre-, immediately post-, 1 and 2 hr postexercise, and analyzed for plasma concentrations of cortisol, intestinal fatty acid protein, soluble CD14, and immunoglobulin M (IgM) by ELISA, and systemic inflammatory cytokines by multiplex. Preexercise resting biomarker concentrations for all variables did not significantly differ between trials (p > .05). A lower response magnitude for intestinal fatty acid protein (mean [95% CI]: 249 [60, 437] pg/ml, 900 [464, 1,336] pg/ml), soluble CD14 (−93 [−458, 272] ng/ml, 12 [−174, 197] ng/ml), and IgM (−6.5 [−23.0, 9.9] MMU/ml, −10.4 [−16.2, 4.7] MMU/ml) were observed on VS001 and V006 compared with CON (p < .05), respectively. Systemic inflammatory response profile was lower on VS001, but not VS006, versus CON (p < .05). Total gastrointestinal symptoms did not significantly differ between trials. Amino acid beverages’ consumption (i.e., 4.5–6.4 g/L), twice daily for 7 days, immediately before, and during exertional-heat stress ameliorated intestinal epithelial integrity and systemic inflammatory perturbations associated with exercising in the heat, but without exacerbating gastrointestinal symptoms.