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Cesar R. Torres

In contemporary sport, it is common to see children initiating their specialization at ever younger ages with the hope that this early start will assist them in making the elite ranks at a later age. The growing acceptance of early sport specialization has led to equally growing concerns among researchers. Clearly, as this thematic volume attests, early sport specialization is a controversial phenomenon. Sport philosophers have started to study the challenging issues related to early sport specialization and thus there is emerging literature addressing such issues. This paper reviews the sport philosophy literature touching on early sport specialization and focuses on some fundamental philosophical issues raised by early sport specialization. These issues are related to the right of children to an open future, dangerous sports, competition and coaching, and doping and genetic enhancements. The paper concludes with a brief commentary on the relevance of these issues for policy making.

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Natalie Cook and Tamerah N. Hunt

down, and finally, they did not want to leave the game. The belief was that athletes who were better educated on the signs and symptoms and potential dangers of concussion would be more likely to report. 1 However, literature has shown inconsistent evidence on the efficacy of concussion education

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Ben-El Berkovich, Aliza H. Stark, Alon Eliakim, Dan Nemet, and Tali Sinai

categories according to their perceived risk to an athlete’s health: (a) Interventions with “little or no risk,” such as adapting a balanced diet over time, might be recommended by a nutritionist, and the dangers of nutritional deficiencies or damage to health were minimal. (b) Interventions with “moderate

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Katherine R. Newsham

Performance enhancement is a multibillion dollar industry, with little known about the efficacy or safety of many practices. Many sport governing bodies have banned certain equipment, supplements, and drugs, yet, some athletes use anyway. This use may pose a danger to the individual user, as well as to other participants, and can challenge the integrity of the sport. We must consider how we, as health care professionals, balance personal autonomy, individual safety, and the integrity of sport in fulfilling our social contract.

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Leonard Marquart and Jeffery Sobal

This study examined the beliefs and sources of information regarding muscle development among 742 high school athletes in one rural county. About 40% of the athletes stated that muscle development was very important and 50% said it was somewhat important. Most of them recognized the dangers of steroids but still thought these were important in muscle development. A majority also thought nutritional and genetic factors were important. Physicians were seen as providing the most accurate information about muscle development, followed by coaches and trainers. Understanding the athletes’ beliefs and information sources about muscle development may be useful in dispelling misconceptions and providing education on the topic.

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Richard Giulianotti

This paper discusses the author’s fieldwork experiences while initiating and undertaking substantive participant observation research with two rival groups of Scottish football hooligans (“football casuals”). Key problems examined are those that emerge from attempted entrée into the hooligan subcultures and the everyday risks of comparative research with violent fans. The author provides regular illustrations to highlight how dangers such as the researcher’s personal characteristics, lack of guiding sociological literature, and interaction with police officers can threaten the urban ethnographic project. The resultant ambivalence of some research subjects toward the author is interpreted as one reason for minimizing the prospect of his “going native.”

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Kimberly Long, Shawn Meredith, and Gerald W. Bell

Autonomic dysreflexia (AD), which occurs in individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) above T-6, is caused by an exaggerated sympathetic nervous system (SNS) response to a noxious stimulus. Blood pressure (BP) elevation is a chief symptom of acute AD; this rise in BP makes AD potentially life threatening. Autonomic dysreflexia is also referred to as autonomic hyperreflexia. For this discussion, autonomic dysreflexia will be the term used. It is estimated that approximately 90% of competitive athletes with quadriplegia have intentionally induced AD in order to enhance performance (Burnham et al., 1994). This practice, which is called “boosting,” appears to be an effective, but potentially dangerous, performance enhancement technique. Individuals who work with athletes with SCI above T-6 should be aware of the symptoms, dangers, and treatment of AD, as well as the practice of boosting in order to ensure the safety of these athletes.

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Nathalie Boisseau, Sonia Vera-Perez, and Jacques Poortmans

Judo is a weight-class sport, meaning that there are weight-defined classes in competitions. Regular body weight restrictions and/or nutritional imbalances can alter growth and maturation states in adolescents. The aim of the present study was to estimate to what extent female judo athletes (age 16.1 ± 0.3 years) modified food and drink intakes 3 weeks and 1 week before competition. Our findings indicate that unbalanced dietary intakes and “weight cutting” might occur in female adolescent competitors. We conclude that dietary recommendations are compulsory in order to educate coaches and young judokas about adequate nutrition and safe weight control behaviors, as well as the dangers of rapid weight loss and dehydration during adolescence.

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Michael Maliszewski

Combat oriented sports and activities have come under increasing scrutiny by the media and professional groups. In particular, within the last 5 years boxing has been a primary topic of concern. A variety of medical groups—neurological, pediatric, and general practice—have conducted extensive surveys and provided position policy statements regarding dangers associated with involvement in such an activity. Although the American Psychological Association recently endorsed a position advocating close scrutiny and eventual banning of amateur and professional boxing in 1987, surprisingly no serious review of the literature or empirical studies have been conducted with respect to a psychological evaluation of this sport. This article briefly reviews the evidence supporting the APA position on boxing.

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David A. Shearer, Stephen D. Mellalieu, and Catherine R. Shearer

While posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with survivors of traumatic events (e.g., combat), PTSD can occur after any situation in which victims perceive that their life or safety is threatened. In sport, athletes often place themselves in dangerous situations and are also exposed to the same lifestyle dangers as the general population. The literature on PTSD among athletes is sparse, and consequently, it is possible that many (non-clinical) sport psychologists would fail to recognize the symptoms and may subsequently fail to refer the athlete to the appropriate professional for clinical assistance. In the following case study, we present an example of an athlete suffering from PTSD following a serious bicycle accident in which she sustained head and facial injuries. We briefly detail the nature of PTSD and discuss how sport psychology services can be implemented alongside a parallel clinical intervention program. Finally, we offer recommendations for practice when working with athletes with PTSD.