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Better Early Than Late? A Philosophical Exploration of Early Sport Specialization

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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Factors Influencing Concussion Reporting Intention in Adolescent Athletes

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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Rapid Weight Loss in Competitive Judo and Taekwondo Athletes: Attitudes and Practices of Coaches and Trainers

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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Performance Enhancement and Health Care Professionals’ Ethical Obligation

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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Beliefs and Information Sources of High School Athletes Regarding Muscle Development

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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Participant Observation and Research into Football Hooliganism: Reflections on the Problems of Entrée and Everyday Risks

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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Food and Fluid Intake in Adolescent Female Judo Athletes before Competition

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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Injuries in Boxing: Evaluations and Policy Decisions

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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A Phenomenological Investigation of the Psychology of Big-Wave Surfing at Maverick’s

Lenny D. Wiersma

Extreme sport athletes perform in environments that are characterized by danger, unpredictability, and fear, and the consequences of a mistake include severe injury or death. Maverick’s is a big-wave surfing location in northern California that is known for its cold water temperatures, dangerous ocean wildlife, deep reef, and other navigational hazards. The purpose of this study was to use a phenomenological framework to understand the psychology of big-wave surfing at Maverick’s. Seven elite big-wave surfers completed in-depth phenomenological interviews and discussed the psychology related to various stages of big-wave surfing, including presurf, in the lineup, catching the wave, riding the wave, wiping out, and postsurf. Big-wave surfers described a variety of experiences associated with surfing at Maverick’s and discussed several ways that they coped with its challenges. The results provide a greater understanding of the psychology of participating in an extreme environment.

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Confidence Frames and the Mastery of New Challenges in the Motivation of an Expert Skydiver

John H. Kerr and Susan Houge Mackenzie

The main objective was to further unravel the experience of motivation in an expert male skydiver by investigating: (1) his general experience of motivation and perception of the dangers of skydiving; (2) his pursuit of new challenges and learning new skills as factors in maintaining motivation; (3) evidence of a mastery-based confidence frame in his motivational experience. This was a unique case study informed by reversal theory. The participant’s perception of skydiving was that it was not a risky or dangerous activity and a primary motive for his involvement in skydiving was personal goal achievement. Maintaining control and mastery during skydiving was a key motivational element during his long career and pursuing new challenges and learning new skills was found to be important for his continued participation. Data indicated that his confidence frame was based on a telic-mastery state combination, which challenged previous reversal theory research findings and constructs.