Important Parameters of the Football Industry in Cyprus: Challenges and Opportunities

Abstract

An in-depth study of the current football industry in Cyprus was undertaken to evaluate the financial situation of the first division football clubs, the competitive balance of the national league, the management practices of the football clubs and national league, and the negative effects of football hooliganism on the industry. Research involved both an extensive literature review of secondary sources from the Cyprus Sport Organization, the Cyprus Football Association, and the football clubs, as well as a qualitative data collection tool which included personal interviews and focus groups. Challenges and opportunities facing the football industry in Cyprus were identified.

Introduction

There is no doubt that football is the most popular sport worldwide. It is the king of sports. Because of the popularity of football all over the world on all continents, it is no surprise that on many occasions people address football as the “universal language.” According to Murphy, Williams, and Dunning (1992) “Soccer is, without any shadow of doubt, the world’s most popular sport.”

The hero of Liverpool FC, the late Bill Shankly, who managed to turn Liverpool Football Club into a big European football power, emphasized that football is a “more important matter than life or death.” It is true that “there appears to be something about the structure of soccer that gives it a very wide appeal in the modern world, an appeal that appears to be relatively independent to the level of development of countries, the socio-political character of the regimes by which they are ruled, their allegiances and the alliances that they are involved in” (Murphy, Williams, Dunning, 1992).

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world governing body of football, commissioned the social research company in Zurich, Lamprecht and Stamm SE BAG, to conduct the FIFA Big Count 2006. A survey that was conducted through the 207 national football associations worldwide, in which data was gathered on the numbers of participating players in football at all levels. The results of the survey are impressive indicating how big football is worldwide. The president of FIFA, Joseph S. Blatter, in view of the published results of the survey stated, “Football’s popularity remains undiminished and is actually increasing.”

Some of the impressive findings of the 2006 survey as presented in a press release by FIFA on June 12, 2007, indicated the following:

· The overall number of 265 million male and female players is almost 10 percent higher than the number recorded six years ago (242 million). Of the 265 million, 26 million, or around 10 percent, are women.

· Since 2000, the number of registered male and female footballers has increased by around 23 percent to over 38 million.

· The growth in women’s football is particularly striking, with the number of registered players up 54 percent to 4.1 million, while the number of registered players in the men’s game has likewise seen an increase of 21 percent to 34.2 million.

· The number of unregistered occasional players, which was first recorded in the previous Big Count study, is up seven percent to 226 million.

· There are now a combined total of over one million futsal and beach soccer players (both male and female).

· The number of clubs (301,000) is similar to the figure recorded in 2000. That said, the total number of teams (1.7 million) has increased by approximately 200,000.

The FIFA president further noted, “If you count the relatives and close friends of active participants in football, who share in their passion for the game as fans and support them in other ways, the total number is even more impressive: Well over a billion people worldwide are involved in football at all levels of society and across all borders.” Based on the figures provided, FIFA stated that a grand total of 270 million people, male and female players, which represents four percent of the world’s population, are involved in one way or another in football. According to the FIFA press release, it is not only the television audiences and match attendances that are increasing but the number of people playing football on all continents. It is not only popular as a spectator sport but as a participant sport as well. It is worth noting that based on FIFA records, out of these 270 million people, 99.8% are amateur football players with 80% being youth players.

With all those figures available, the FIFA president is happy to state, “Football is truly the world’s game. It is played in every conceivable place, on every corner of the world by men, women, boys, and girls of all ages. It is played in narrow streets, in muddy fields, and in packed stadiums on grass, concrete, earth, and sand. Any differences between people fade away in its unifying light.”

The figures and all this related information display a picture of football’s development worldwide. However, besides this success in football’s development, which is proven by the increasing numbers, there are critics of the work of FIFA. Sugden and Tomlinson (2005) noted that FIFA has transformed itself from an international nongovernment organization into a business international nongovernment organization. FIFA has been increasingly profit driven and presents one of the leading examples of the professionalization and commercialization of modern sports. They define this as “sport’s emergence at the heart of the worldwide cultural industries” (Sugden and Tomlinson, 2005). Thus, Sugden and Tomlinson were willing to “… show what happens in an international nongovernmental organization when the pursuit of profit overwhelms an ethic of service” and in view of this they presented an analysis of the crisis in world football (Sugden & Tomlinson, 2005).

Along the same lines as this critical approach and perspective, Allison set a series of questions trying to set sports in the right perspective in this era of globalization; he emphasized, “… how worried should we be about the nature of power in international organizations?” (Allison, 2005).

There is no doubt that “football has been transformed over the years to a gigantic commercial operation” (Boyopoulos & Milakas, 2005). However, besides this truth, nobody can underestimate the cultural significance of football as elaborated by Norbert Elias in his civilizing process theory.

On the one hand, nobody can argue the fact that football has become commercialized and is big business now, as noted above; on the other, nobody should overemphasize the problems and challenges of the game by ignoring its power and what it can offer to different societies.

Sports generally, and football precisely, presents unique situations whereby we have the coexistence of profit making on the one hand, and nonprofit making and voluntary organizations on the other. In the football world, there is this uniqueness where profit making is an activity that is conducted in many instances by nonprofit or voluntary organizations where they all have common goals and objectives (Capling, 2004; Murphy et. al. 2001; Rachman, 2002).

In many instances, the financial dimensions of football are increasing without actually leading to profitability for the football clubs. In fact, all over the world, and in Cyprus too, many football clubs are facing severe financial problems. Although, there are occasions where the big football clubs in different nations are profitable (Capling, 2004; Deloitte, 2005; Booth, 2004; Rachman, 2002).

The finances of football clubs for many years and in many instances where not made public for many various reasons. In many situations, proper financial records were not kept, and in many countries, this presented a chaotic situation where records and information were not readily available (Kartakoullis, 2005). The introduction of the UEFA club licensing system by the Union des Associations Europeenes de football (UEFA), the European governing football body, assisted in many instances and actually contributed to the sorting of the finances of football clubs in Europe as clubs were forced to prepare financial statements, accounts, and budgets to be submitted to their national football associations; otherwise, they would not be granted permission to compete in national and European competitions.

Purpose of the Study

Football is an international cultural phenomenon which is currently characterized by two major challenges: professionalization and commercialization.

The purpose of this study was to examine specific parameters of the football industry in a small country, Cyprus, where there are certain unique characteristics. The specific parameters addressed were the financial situation of the first division football clubs, the competitive balance of the national league, and management practices in the football industry. What major challenges exist in the football industry of a small country such as Cyprus, away from this globalized form football is taking with the two major characteristics of professionalization and commercialization? What are the challenges facing such an industry away from huge contracts, profitable television rights, sponsorships, and so many vested interests, as one can see them in the international football arena?

The Republic of Cyprus became an independent state in 1960. It became a member of the United Nations in 1960, of the Council of Europe in 1961, and of the European Union in 2004. It has an area of 9,521 square kilometers and a population of approximately 800,000. Since 1974, it has been de facto divided. Efforts to solve this problem in Cyprus and reunify the island have not been successful yet. Nicosia (Lefkosia in Greek; Lefkosa in Turkish) is the capital city.

Three geographic characteristics of Cyprus have determined much of its fate: location, size, and the fact that it is an island. It is located at a strategic position in the eastern Mediterranean, at the crossroads of three continents. Its strategic location, long exposed coastline, and small size always made it an attractive and easy target for outsiders. Its history and demography reflect the ebb and flow of peoples and powers in the region. In the course of its long history, Cyprus has been controlled by most of the major powers that had interest in, or sought control of, the Middle East. The list of its successive rulers include the Egyptians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Asssy6rians, Persians, Ptolemies, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, Ottoman Turks, and British. It gained its independence from Britain in 1960 (Joseph, 2000).

Cyprus has been considered a football-loving nation, arising from the fact that football competitions draw good attendance in Cyprus as well as from the fact that it is extensively covered in the media. It is not surprising for example that when the two big football teams of the country play against each other, they attract crowds of more than 25,000 people, which is indeed large, bearing in mind the small size of the country. This fact is further reinforced by the results of the football survey (2005-2006), conducted on behalf of the Cyprus Football Association by the Centre for Leisure, Tourism, and Sports Research and Development. The results of the research clearly indicated that Cyprus is a football-loving nation. For example, the fact that 77% of men aged between 21-70 years old support a football club, and another 20% who do not support a club, still follow football in Cyprus and are well informed about the results of the national league, clearly displays there is great interest. Additionally, the fact that 16,000 kids are registered and play football in football academies all over the island displays this love for the game.

Method

A combination of methods has been used to gather the material required to analyze the football industry in the country. Thus, as a first step, all related information was collected from the Cyprus Sport Organization, the Cyprus Football Association, and the first division football clubs in Cyprus. The task of collecting information for the football clubs was not as hard and difficult as initially predicted, as this was already done by the National Football Association, who collected all related material for the UEFA club licensing scheme. However, a review of available material was definitely not enough for such a purpose. That was only one aspect of this research.

Participants

In view of this, personal interviews and focus groups were conducted in the attempt to collect as complete and as accurate information as possible. Interviews were conducted with the presidents or secretaries general of all 14 footballs clubs in the first division of the national league, the professional clubs in Cyprus. This was done in order to collect qualitative data which was going to complement the material already collected in the first phase of the research. Qualitative data was useful in this respect in gaining additional information in relation to the issue under investigation. Qualitative data according to Straus and Corbin (1990) is “any kind of research that produces findings not arrived at by means of statistical procedures or other means of quantification.” Qualitative interview studies are usually conducted with small samples (14 in this case) and the “aim is usually to gather an authentic” understanding of people’s experiences (attitudes, knowledge, beliefs about football in Cyprus in this case) and it is believed that open ended questions are the most effective route towards this end” (Silverman, 1993). Thus, this method involved an open ended interview study which encouraged the top decision makers of the football clubs in Cyprus to offer their own attitudes, knowledge, definitions and understanding of the football industry.

Design and Procedure

Two focus groups were utilized as the means to collect data for the analysis of the football industry. For Morgan (1988), focus groups are basically group-oriented discussions that rely on interaction within the group based on the topic that the moderator supplies. The advantage is that through focus groups, the moderator assists, especially at the first stages of the interaction, by providing information that could be helpful to participants in placing the focus group in context.

According to Morgan (1988) focus groups are basically group interviews; they rely on interaction within the group, based on the topic that the researcher supplies; with the researcher taking the role of a moderator. Furthermore, Morgan (1988) notes that focus groups can be used as a supplement for collecting data when using either qualitative or quantitative methods. Additionally, focus groups can be used as follow-up research to clarify findings in the other data collected, but more importantly, according to Morgan (1988) the goal in using focus groups is to get closer to participants’ understandings of the researcher’s topic. In view of this, the use of the focus groups in this case provided a valuable insight into the variables examined for the football industry. Focus groups are thus helpful in investigating what participants think, uncovering why participants think as they do, crucial in the attempt being made to investigate the perspectives analyzed above. There are both strengths and weaknesses of focus groups as a setting in which to collect qualitative data; in this particular case the use of focus groups was considered appropriate in supplementing the data already collected. Additionally, focus groups were useful to conduct as they produced valuable data from group interaction on the specific topic under examination; a focus group can delve deeper as participant’s contributions can trigger further comments of other participants. Two focus groups were conducted; each group consisted of six persons (members of executive committees of football clubs, football players, referees, coaches, sports journalists, sponsors, supporter’s clubs, and representatives of the Cyprus Football Association) under the moderation of Dr. Andreas Theophanous, who has experience of more than 20 years in qualitative research. The focus was on obtaining a good representative sample of persons associated with the football industry in Cyprus. The focus group sessions lasted for almost two hours each, and the data collected was then analyzed using the coding technique of content analysis. Thus, a series of categories or coding frames have been developed in relation to the finances of the clubs, the governance and management of the clubs, the competitive balance of the league, and the major problems that the industry is facing today.

Analysis or coding of qualitative data represents the operations by which data are broken down, conceptualized, and put back together in new ways; it is the central process by which theories are built from data (Straus and Corbin, 1990). This technique entails defining a series of categories of answers in which the researcher is interested (Breakwell, 1990). In addition, according, to Breakwell (1990), if the researcher does not wish to push responses into categories because this loses some of the individuality of the original statements, then content analysis can be used in a different way whereby in the report produced of the findings there are lots of quotations which will show the depth of the opinions expressed. More precisely, for analyzing the data gathered in this section, a classification system or coding was used where responses were classified in schemes using coding frames.

Results

Based on the data collected, it is evident that football clubs in Cyprus have four major sources of revenue (M. Gavrielides, A. Michaelides, D. Seraphim, personal communications, April 10, 2007). This include the income from tickets sold for the home matches, the television rights, membership fees and financial support from friends of the clubs, and commercial activities including sponsorship. The expenses of the football clubs are usually more than their income, and this was actually identified as the major cause of the financial problems that football clubs are currently facing in Cyprus during the focus groups (A. Michaelides, personal communication, March 20, 2007).

The major expenses of the football clubs involve salaries to the football players, coaches, and administrative staff, accommodation and board when the club is traveling for away games, transfer fees, and expenses for the organization of matches. (K. Koutsokoumnis, personal communication, April 6, 2007). This issue with the salaries of players and coaches is addressed extensively in the discussion section that follows.

For securing confidentially, the budgets of the different clubs discussed in the focus groups could not be presented separately, but Table 1 provides the total budgets of the 14 first division clubs for the 2004-2005 season in terms of their income and expenditures. For the purpose of analysis, the 14 teams are divided into two groups: the first group is comprised of the five largest teams in the country, and the second group includes the remaining nine teams. It became clear from diligent examination and discussion of the budgets submitted by all 14 first division clubs that most of the teams will have difficulty meeting the criteria of the UEFA club licensing scheme, which prescribes balanced income and expenditures of club members. From the study of the budgets submitted, as well as from the analysis of the data collected through the interviews and the focus groups, it appears that most of the budgets are over-ambitious. Additionally, the profit and loss accounts of the clubs were diligently studied. In most cases, it appeared that there was an over-estimation of expected income for the clubs.

Eight major points were identified by the research team in relation to the financial situation of the clubs in Cyprus.

· The 14 clubs of the first division submitted in their budgets their incomes for the period under examination, and total incomes for all clubs were calculated at Euro 17,530,250, which corresponds to Euro 1,252,404, for each club. The biggest income declared by any club was Euro 2,853,364, and the lowest income declared was Euro 744,319

· Total expenditure was calculated at Euro 17,629,349, which corresponds to Euro 1,259,239, for each club. The biggest expenditure declared by a club was Euro 2, 392,004 and the lowest was Euro 744,319.

· Six clubs declared that they were expecting losses in the period under investigation; while the other eight clubs expected to have a profit.

· The biggest profit to be made was estimated at Euro 640,725, and this was by a club which by the end of the season was relegated to the second division.

· Paying the salaries of players, foreign and domestic, and coaches consumed 75% of every club’s budget.

· From the data gathered, it was clear that foreign players were paid better salaries than the domestic players.

· Season tickets contributed an average of 10% of the total income for the clubs. The highest contribution from season tickets to total income was 20%, and the lowest was 1%.

· The television rights for the period under examination were calculated to Euro 934,177, which represented 5.3% of the total income of clubs.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus acknowledges the importance of football in Cypriot society. In view of this, the government has provided different forms of financial support to the sport. The Cyprus Sports Organization, which is the semi- governmental organization in charge of sports, has provided annual financial support to the Cyprus Football Association which comes to Euro 4,613,223 per year. However, in view of the financial problems of the football clubs in the country and in the attempt by the government to assist the clubs to get through this financial crisis, the government decided two years ago to provide a grant of Euro 10,251,608 over a four year period. Additionally, the Cyprus Sport Organization returns to the individual football clubs a total sum of Euro 717,612 per year, which represents taxes collected on gate income as well as community taxes (T. Christofides, personal communication, April 10, 2007). Furthermore, another amount of Euro 683,440 per year is given by the Sports Organization to pay the police forces in charge of security during the football matches (K. Papakosta, personal communication, March 15, 2007).

From the qualitative data gathered, it emerged that there was a consensus among the different parties involved in the football industry that there are three major challenges facing football in Cyprus. Football violence, bad governance and management of clubs, and prejudice against referees and officials are major challenges that the industry is facing, and although there is potential for further development, these problems do not allow the industry to grow to its full potential. (K. Zivanaris, personal communication, April 10, 2007). Peristianis, Kapardis, Loizou, Fakiolas, and Puloukas (2002) noted that the football industry in Cyprus is facing a major crisis in the face of football hooliganism, which can destroy the sport if this is not controlled. It is an ongoing problem that has not been controlled for years now and can lead to the financial collapse of the industry (Peristianis et al, 2002; Aristotelous & Pouloucas, 1996).

Another major issue that was addressed in the focus groups was the fact that there is no competitive balance in the national league, which poses a serious threat to the football industry. (T. Antoniou, K. Malekkos, C. Constantinou, C. Theodotou, personal communications, 12 April, 2007). The clubs are split into two groups: the five large ones in the first group and the other nine in the second group, which represent the weak teams struggling for survival. Out of the five clubs in the first group, three of those, namely APOEL, OMONIA and ANORTHOSIS, are the only ones that compete for the national championship each year. This has been the case for years now, and this competitive imbalance leads to a reduction of interest in the football industry (L. Kyriakou, personal communication, March 6, 2007). The results show, for example, that in the 2005-2006 season a total of 507,000 tickets were sold with 337,661, which represents 66% of the total, being utilized by the big five group. Table 2 shows the distribution of tickets during this season between the big and the weak teams of the league.

As Figure 1 identifies, the gap between the big and the weak teams in the sale of tickets is growing larger, which clearly presents the problematic situation existing because of this competitive imbalance in the national league.

Clubs are recruiting increasing numbers of foreign players, which increases their expenditures considerably, and this is causing Cypriot players to become a scarce commodity. (A. Michaelides, personal communication, April 10, 2007). Over a typical weekend with seven games on the national league calendar, approximately 190 players were used including substitutes during the 2005-06 seasons. Out of those 190 players, only 75 were Cypriots. This is a trend which is increasing every year; whereby last season, there was a point where there were teams starting without a single Cypriot player in the first eleven. Back in the 1992-1993 season, for example, the clubs in Cyprus used to have eight Cypriot players and only three foreigners in the starting eleven. (M. Gavrielides, personal communication, March 22, 2007). It is not surprising then that during that period, clubs were in a much better financial situation. In many countries, this is the trend, but in large developed countries, the football industry is big enough to cope with such expenses. In England, for example, the figures show that in the 1992-1993 season, only 10% of the players starting the games were not British. Conversely though, during this current season, only 37% of the players starting in the first eleven were British.

This is the issue actually. Clubs in small countries, like Cyprus, should not try to copy what is happening in other countries where the football industry is huge. The clubs’ officials need to be very realistic and down to earth when trying to build their teams. However, it is sad to identify that things are getting out of control according to the discussions held in the focus groups (L. Kyriakou, M. Gavrielides, T. Antreou, personal communications, April 10, 2007).

Discussion

Due to the popularity of football worldwide, the game has grown into a huge industry. Gratton and Henry (2001) estimated that in the big European countries, the football industry contributes 3% of the gross domestic product of those countries. According to Theophanous and Kartakoullis (2004), in Cyprus, the football industry contributes only 1.84% of the gross domestic product. This was actually expected as Cyprus is a small country. However, something which is alarming and risky as well is the fact that out of this 1.84%, which totals an amount of Euro 223,826,788, a great percentage of this, which comes to Euro 153,774,130, derives from the betting industry. Thus, the betting industry forms a substantial part of the football industry in the country, and this is something that for some years now is leading to various forms of problems and issues, the major of which is prejudice. In certain instances, rumors are spread concerning fixed matches and for referees that have been influenced by officials and players betting huge amounts of money on specific fixtures. This is a major issue for the football industry as the huge amounts of money spent in the betting industry have led to prejudice against the sport and, in turn, is destroying the image of the game in Cyprus. Similar sorts of problems with betting and fixed games have been identified in other countries all over the world.

In relation to the above issue, there are some additional complications and issues that are raised because of the betting situation. As noted in the results section, the clubs in the first division are split into two categories: the big five and the remaining small or weaker clubs. In view of the fact that 66% of the total income from games derives from the big five, a series of other questions are generated having to do with the influence that these clubs have in the decision-making processes, in the appointment of referees and in the allocation of television rights among the clubs. Television rights are handled by the Cyprus Football Association, which has developed a scheme for allocating income to the clubs. Again, in relation to this scheme of allocation, there are issues and concerns as it seems that the big five at some stage will start handling their own rights with television stations. The big five will secure good deals with the stations in the country, and the small ones will remain financially exposed, as they will lose a good portion of their incomes from the rights. The television rights totaled a sum of Euro 934,177, which represents almost 6% of the total income of the clubs. This is expected to rise to almost 12% of the total income of the clubs in the next two years, based on the new deals to be signed.

In relation to the distribution of income for football clubs, Back et al. (2004) estimated that the three major sources of income for football clubs should deliver roughly the same amounts. That comes to approximately 33% contribution to total income from each of the three categories of income: tickets, television rights, and commercial activities. For example, for Manchester United in the period of 1992-2002, this was calculated to 40% from tickets, 34% from television rights, and 26% from other commercial activities. When considering the distribution of income for the clubs in Cyprus, this is far from this equal distribution.

It should be noted that this issue of big and weak football clubs is not only a problem in Cyprus but a challenge for European football as well. In the Friedlander Report (2001) by the Centre for Research into Sport and Society of the University of Leicester, it is stated that the gap between the big clubs and the rest is ever growing bigger, so this is something that needs to be addressed.

Another major concern that is leading to great controversy has to do with the contracts and salaries of players. As can be deduced from the expenditures of the clubs (Table 1), 75% of the total expenses of the clubs were on salaries for players, coaches, and the support staff. The football players’ salaries came to 65% of expenditures. Each club in the first division has 25 registered professional players plus another six to ten persons in the support team (fitness trainer, physiotherapist, medical doctor, or administrators). The salaries of foreign players playing in Cyprus are considerably higher to those paid to Cypriot players; however, there is a great concern as to whether the contribution of foreign players to the team is greater than that of the Cypriots, thus justifying their bigger salaries. There are cases of foreign players in Cyprus who signed yearly contracts of Euro 341,720, which is really surprising for such a small industry. Along the same lines, there are coaches in Cyprus coming from Europe with contracts of Euro 256,290 per year, which is again on the very high side bearing in mind the size of the football industry in the country.

In relation to the above, Deloite (2004, 2005), in the annual review of football finances, noted that there is a tendency for decreasing the percentage of salaries on total expenditures. In the premier league, for example, in England, salaries represented 62% of total expenditures in 2001-2002, 61% in 2002-2003, and a further reduction to 60% in the following season. The same tendency for reducing salaries could be observed in other European countries. On the contrary, in Cyprus, the exact opposite is happening; there is an increasing tendency in this respect which is very dangerous indeed, when realizing that most of the clubs, if not all, are in a very bad financial situation. Thus, on the one hand, the clubs, due to their difficult financial situation, are seeking government support, but on the other, they are spending on salaries and contracts amounts with which the size of the industry in Cyprus cannot cope. The financial dimensions of the football industry in Cyprus are getting too big for such a small country, which is an alarming and dangerous trend for the future of the industry.

When all the financial statements and budgets of the clubs were examined from the documents submitted for the UEFA club licensing system, it was again obvious that clubs were in a bad financial situation. The great majority of clubs had big debts, and in order for them to meet the club licensing criteria, they postponed payments for years to come. For example, if a club had agreed to pay a player Euro 200,000 for a salary, they signed an agreement with the player stating that he is going to receive this money in the years to come. However, this is not solving the problem, but the problem is just postponed to the next few years.

The data from the qualitative analysis was enlightening in discovering the beliefs and opinions of the officials involved, top decision makers of the football clubs. It was indeed very interesting on the one hand, and very contradictory on the other, to identify from this research the commonly felt concern of all officials involved in football in Cyprus, and especially of the clubs’ top decision makers. There was a consensus that the expenditures of the clubs are growing, and the football industry is not currently ready to afford such a burden. However, beside this issue, which was overwhelmingly accepted, the club officials are doing absolutely nothing to resolve the problem. They clearly know the facts, they understand that football is in crisis, and still each year there is an average increase of 10% in the expenditures of the teams. This is indeed contradictory and illogical. The officials of the clubs, when asked why this happens, could not provide an answer. “There is no logic in football,” said one of the representatives of the big clubs. It should be noted that there are certain things that clubs can do to reduce their budgets, but the managers are still doing nothing about it. Actually, they are moving in the exact opposite direction.

The issue of overspending is something that can be observed in football clubs all over the world. Williams and Neatrour (2002) noted that clubs engage in this overspending practice by taking excess risks in view of the tough competition in football, and then, when things do not go the way they expect, in terms of performance, they cannot meet their financial obligations.

Football clubs in Cyprus are in crisis. This is proven by the results of this research, and it is justified in every respect. Clubs are currently in a struggle for survival as they have big debts that they need to repay. However, the situation is even more alarming considering the fact that clubs, despite this financial crisis, annually increase their budgets, with the result that the football industry is becoming too big and too risky for the country as well. Although clubs are operating on considerably big budgets, the structure they have still relies mostly on voluntary work without good governance or responsible management. Bad management and bad governance are major characteristics of clubs, and this was made clear in the qualitative data gathered. The clubs’ governing boards are comprised of volunteers, who for many different reasons become involved in the game. They are not always involved for the good of the Game but for many other different reasons. In view of this, when people become involved in the running of a club, they want immediate results, and they are not willing to plan for the future, as they wish to get the credit when they are on board. Thus, there is no strategic direction in the clubs, and, in view of this, no future plans for development. It is more of a day-to-day struggle for survival than anything else. There is an urgent need for better management of the football clubs and, additionally, a need for professionals to become involved in the football industry. The football industry in the country is getting too big for volunteers to run it. There is urgency for professionalism at all levels. Professionalization of the game is only happening with increasing numbers of professional players arriving from abroad; apart from this, there is no professionalization in any other respect.

Competitive balance refers to the ability of any of the football clubs in the national league to win the championship at the end of the season. Where there is competitive balance, clubs have equal chances to winning the league, and this makes the league very interesting as the outcome is not known. However, this is not the case in Cyprus, where at the beginning of each season, for years now, only three clubs are competing for the championship title. Thus, there are three favorites for the title and inevitably this leads to reduced interest on behalf of the fans, both for attending the matches as well as for watching them on TV. Additionally, it leads to a series of related problems with the remaining clubs that can not compete with the three favorites on equal terms; thus, the clubs are facing both competition and financial challenges. This limited interest at some stage during the football season by the indifferent clubs leads to problems and concerns with fixed matches and other related controversies. In view of this competitive imbalance, it is no surprise that out of 66 leagues organized in Cyprus, 50 were won by the three favorites. Nobody can question this issue, which was again extensively addressed by participants in the focus groups.

The issue of competitive balance in the national leagues is a major issue of concern for the football industry, as this is a critical success factor for the industry. In view of this, extensive work on the competitive balance of national leagues has been conducted by Holt et al. (2004), Michie and Oughton (2004 and 2005), Michie et al. (2004) and Forrest et al. (2005).

Despite the problems and issues identified, the club officials and top decision makers were still quite optimistic in relation to certain issues or opportunities that they identified. For instance, they identified the fact that an increasing number of big organizations and companies are interested in becoming involved in the industry as sponsors. This is quite true as there is a kind of new sponsorship culture that is developing lately on the island. The club officials emphasized this fact as they considered that this is a golden opportunity for the clubs to capitalize on. However, again this is an opportunity and a challenge. Sponsors are willing to join the football industry as long as they are going to get a good return. Gone are the days when companies donated money to football clubs in the form of charity (Kartakoullis, 2007). Consequently, the message is clear. On the one hand, there is potential in this area, but in order for the football clubs and the industry to utilize this, there is the need for expertise in the area.

Conclusion

The aim of the study was to gather data and examine important parameters of the football industry in Cyprus. This was the very first time that such an attempt has been made in Cyprus, which is indeed a football-loving nation. The research team approached the analysis from a purely critical perspective for the good of the game in Cyprus and for no other reason.

The football industry in Cyprus is facing a series of challenges that need to be addressed urgently. Bad management and governance are major characteristics in the industry, and it is no surprise that the football clubs, the major stakeholders in the industry, are in severe financial crisis. They have huge debts that they cannot pay; they have very high payrolls, which the industry can not handle in such a small country, and no strategy for development. Football hooliganism and the lack of competitive balance in the national league complete this picture of football in crisis in the small country of Cyprus. The financial dimensions, as denoted by the different parameters studied of the football industry, are growing, and the country cannot cope with it for the time being, as all football clubs are experiencing losses based on their profit and loss accounts studied. It is obvious that sports authorities need to invest in developing football and, precisely, in the management and structure of football; otherwise, the future of the game will be very gloomy and without hope.

Government support is good as provided, but this will not do much in saving the game, unless good management, governance, professionalism, and accountability are introduced at all levels of the game. In view of this, all those involved in the football industry need to realize the new opportunities and challenges in the world of sports and should introduce innovations at all levels of the game (Westerbeek & Smith, 2003). There is no doubt that all stakeholders in the football industry of Cyprus wish to upgrade football in this country, bringing it up to European standards. On the other hand, they should definitely have in mind all related concepts and issues in relation to this “Europeanization” of elite football (Martin, 2005). Above all, they need to be very realistic and down to earth, always having in mind the size of the football industry and the country as well.

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Cyprus Football Association, the Football Clubs, and their officials in conducting this research. Additionally, the financial support of the Cyprus Football Association was greatly appreciated in conducting this research.

Table 1

Total Budgets for the Football Clubs 2005-2006

Income

€ 5 Big Clubs

€ 9 Weak Clubs

Total

% of

Budget

Tickets

4.421.957

2.184.865

6.606.823

37.69%

Commercial Activities

1.940.964

2.115.351

4.056.315

23.14%

Television Rights

452.779

481.398

934.177

5.33%

Funding

1.021.726

1.608.198

2.629.925

15.00%

Other

1.403.371

1.898.915

3.302.287

18.84%

Total

9.240.800

8.288.729

17.529.529

100.00%cmunisteri2009-03-13T14:37:00

Thousands & hundreds should be separated by commas not periods

Expenditure

€ 5 Big Clubs

€ 9 Weak Clubs

Total

% of

Budget

Foreign Players

2.843.174

2.709.558

5.552.732

31.50%

Cypriot Players

2.931.119

2.702.899

5.634.019

31.96%

Coaches

860.458

884.255

1.744.714

9.90%

Field Expenses

106.753

292.751

399.505

2.27%

Sports Equipment and Materials

29.046

230.046

259.092

1.47%

Transport

32.036

49.737

81.773

0.46%

Hotel Accommodation and Board

123.873

144.530

268.404

1.52%

Medical Expenses

90.555

160.523

251.078

1.42%

Field Security

12.643

59.288

71.932

0.41%

Transfer fees

3.417

321.217

324.634

1.84%

Expenses for European Competition

34.172

15.377

49.549

0.28%

Expenses for pre-season training abroad

129.853

203.569

333.423

1.89%

Complementary tickets

17.940

0

17.940

0.10%

Soccer Academies/Development Programmes

61.509

184.101

245.611

1.39%

Miscellaneous

1.475.777

919.724

2.395.501

13.59%

Total

8.752.331

8.877.582

17.629.913

100.00%

Table 2

Tickets Sold by the Big and the Weak Teams

Competition Season

Average no. of tickets

Average of the big teams

Average of the weak teams

Average of tickets sold without the big five

1996/97

1.387

5.065

882

541

1997/98

1.815

6.216

970

539

1998/99

1.911

6.581

955

414

1999/2000

1.813

6.130

941

454

2000/01

2.502

7.208

1.291

584

2001/02

2.553

7.720

1.258

491

2002/2003

3.091

8.458

1.624

707

2003/04

2.943

8.721

1.332

406

2004/05

2.790

7.655

1.563

652

Total

2.311

7.087

1.202cmunisteri2009-03-13T14:42:00

Thousands & hundreds separated by commas not periods

532

Figure 1\

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Comparison of 5km Running Performance after 24 and 72 hours of Passive Recovery

Abstract

Recovery from a hard running effort determines when a runner can run at an intense level again. Overtraining is often caused by insufficient recovery, which ultimately hurts endurance performance. The number of recovery hours needed to sufficiently restore the body back to peak racing condition is unknown. The purpose of this study was to compare 5km running performance after 24 hours and 72 hours of recovery. Twelve well-trained runners (9 males and 3 females) completed two successive 5km performance trials on two separate occasions. Immediately following the baseline 5km trial, runners recovered passively for 24 hrs (R24) and 72 hrs of passive recovery (R72), and then performed a second 5km trial. The 5km time trial sessions were separated by 6-7 days of normal training and performed in a counterbalanced order. R24 (19:59 + 1.9 min) was significantly (p = 0.03) slower than baseline (19:49 + 1.9 min). However, no significant differences (p = 0.21) were found between R72 (19:30 + 1.5 min) and baseline (19:34 + 1.6 min). HRave for R24 (177.3 + 6.3 b/min) was the same as baseline (177.3 + 7.3 b/min), yet R72 HRave (177.9 + 6.3 b/min) was significantly higher (p = 0.04) than baseline (175.4 + 6.5 b/min). RPEend for R24 (19.5 + 0.8) was not significantly different (p = 0.39) than baseline (19.6 + 0.8), but R72 RPEend (19.8 + 0.6) was significantly (p = 0.01) greater than baseline (19.3 + 0.9). For the R24 trials, 9 participants ran a mean 17.4 + 12.1 secs slower and 3 participants ran a mean of 13.3 + 6.8 secs faster than baseline. During R72, three individuals ran a mean 10.3 + 5.7 secs slower, five individuals ran a mean 17.4 + 12.9 secs faster, and four individuals ran within 3.3 + 1.8 secs of their first run. Results indicate that 72 hrs of passive recovery, on average, permits maintenance of successive 5km time trial performance, yet individual variability existed regarding rate of decline of 2nd trial performance. Future research is needed to determine if a longer or shorter recovery time will maintain or improve 5km racing performance.

Introduction

Coaches and runners constantly strive to identify legal methods to improve runners’ performances. Factors such as tempo runs, hill repeats, long-slow distance days, striders and build-ups, intervals and repeats, dietary intake, and sleep patterns, are continually tested and adjusted to produce better performance. However, one factor often overlooked is recovery. Many runners feel that to race faster, they should have longer daily runs, run more miles per week, or train faster and harder. This often leads to overtraining, which hurts performance. Recovery from hard running efforts plays a vital role in determining when a runner can run at an intense level again (Fitzgerald, 2007).

Previous studies have focused on recovery from long endurance races such as marathons and ultra-marathons (Gomez et al., 2002; Martin & Coe, 1997; Noakes, 2003). Recovery from these endurance efforts revolves around repairing of damaged muscle fibers and replenishing glycogen stores (Fitzgerald, 2007; Gomez et al., 2002; Nicholas et al., 1997). In shorter duration endurance activities, such as a 5km (3.1 miles), 10km (6.2 miles) race, or hard training runs, Foss and Keteyian (1998) indicate that muscle and liver glycogen levels may be normalized 24 hrs after exercise, but muscle function may not be fully recovered and performance measures may be sub-optimal.

Former University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman first popularized the concept of hard/easy training, indicating that intense workouts such as an interval session, tempo run, or long run, should be followed the next day by an easy run (Dellinger & Freeman, 1984). Using Bowerman’s method, a runner would have an intense workout every 48 hrs to allow muscle function to be restored to normal (O’Conner & Wilder, 2001). Also, New Zealander Jack Foster indicated a runner should take one recovery day for every mile completed in a race [Brown & Henderson, 2002; Galloway, 1984; Henderson, 2000; Higdon, 1998; Sinclair, Olgesby, & Piepenburg, 2003). However, Henderson indicated that it may be better to take one easy day per kilometer (Brown & Henderson, 2002; Henderson, 2000). Although, Bowerman, Henderson, & Foster’s statements about recovery days after a race or hard effort seem reasonable, the appropriate recovery duration as well as what is considered “easy” has not been previously studied.

Gomez et al. (2002) determined that strength and power capabilities of distance runners after a 10km race normalized after 48 hrs of passive recovery. Thus, it is likely that participants would be fully recovered, which would allow them to maximize performance during another 10km race. Because 5km is half the distance of 10km, it may be logical to presume only 24 hrs of passive recovery may be needed, instead of the required 48 hrs for 10km. However, this hypothesis was not supported when we tested two distance runners of above average abilities in a pilot study as the participants were not able to achieve similar 5km performance after 24 hrs of passive recovery. Twenty-four hours may not be a sufficient amount of time for the dissipation of muscle fatigue or soreness (Brown & Henderson, 2002). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare 5km running performance after 24 hrs of passive recovery versus 72 hrs of passive recovery.

Methods

Participants

Participants for the study were 12 well trained male (n = 9) and female (n = 3) runners currently engaged in rigorous training. Runners from the local road running and track club, local triathlon competitors, and former competitive high school and college runners, were recruited by word of mouth. Participant inclusion criteria included: (a) Subjects must have been currently involved in a distance running training program, (b) Had previously run 16-22 min for male runners or 18-24 min for a female runner for 5km, (c) Currently averaging at least 20-30 miles (running) per week, (d) Have previously completed at least five 5km road or track races, (e) Have a VO2max of at least 45 ml/kg/min (females) or 55 ml/kg/min (males), and (f) Provided sufficient data (from running history questionnaires, Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaires, and Health Readiness Questionnaires) that reflected good health.

Participants completed a short questionnaire regarding their running background, racing history, and current training mileage. All participants were volunteers and signed a written informed consent outlining requirements and potential risks and benefits resulting from participating.

Procedures

Participants were assessed for age, height, body weight, and body fat percent using a 3-site skinfold technique (Brozek & Hanschel, 1961; Pollock, Schmidt, & Jackson, 1980). Participants were fitted with a Polar Heart Rate Monitor and then completed a graded exercise test (GXT) to exhaustion lasting approximately 12-18 minutes. VO2max, heart rate (HR), and Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) were collected every minute.

All GXTs were completed on a Quinton 640 motorized treadmill. The test began with a 2 min warm-up at 2.5 mph. Speed was increased to 5 mph for 2 min, followed by 2 min at 6 mph, 2 min at 7 mph, and 2 min at 7.5 mph. At this point, incline was increased two percent every 2 min thereafter until the participant reached volitional exhaustion (ie., the felt like they could no longer continue running at the required speed and grade). Once the participant reached volitional exhaustion, they were instructed to cool down until they felt recovered.

Approximately five days later, participants performed their first 5km race between the hours of 6:30 am and 7:30 am. The time of day for each performance trial was consistent throughout the study. All performance trials were completed on a flat hard-surfaced 0.73 mile loop. Prior to each trial, participants completed visual analog scales pre and post a 1.5 mile warm-up run, regarding their feelings of fatigue and soreness within the quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, lower body, and total body muscle groups. Visual analog scales were 15 cm lines where participants placed an “X” on the line indicating their feelings (with 0 = no fatigue or soreness and 15 = extreme fatigue or soreness). The visual analog scales evaluated participants’ status before the start of every time trial. Participants were also required to rate their perceived exertion (RPE) after the warm-up, prior to the start and during each 5km, to see if feelings of effort remained consistent between each trial, as well as during each lap and after each performance trial.

Participants underwent a 1.5 mile warm-up prior to every 5km performance trial (Kaufman & Ware, 1997). Participants completed successive 5km performance trials on two separate occasions. Immediately following a baseline 5km trial, runners recovered passively for 24 hrs (R24) or 72 hrs of passive recovery (R72) and then performed a second 5km trial. The 5km time trial sessions were in a counterbalanced order and were separated by 6-7 days of normal training. All participants were required to have 24 hrs of passive recovery prior to each baseline. Passive recovery was deemed as no exercise or extensive physical activity during the allotted recovery hours. During each time trial, average HR (HRave) and ending RPE (RPEend) were recorded to determine if effort for each 5km trial was consistent. All runners competed with runners of equal ability to simulate race day and hard training conditions with verbal encouragement provided often and equally to each participant. At the end of every performance trial, each runner was instructed to complete a low intensity 1.5 mile cool-down. Each testing session required approximately 60 min.

Statistical Analysis

Basic descriptive statistics were computed along with Repeated Measures of Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) for making comparisons between R72 and R24 performance trials regarding finishing times, HRave, RPEend, and fatigue/soreness responses. All statistical comparisons were made at an a priori p < 0.05 level of significance. Data was expressed as group mean + standard deviation and individual results.

In order to evaluate individual responses, data from each participant’s first 5km trial was compared to their second 5km trial using a paired T-test. The least significance group mean difference (p < 0.05) was determined and group mean finishing time was adjusted to determine the amount of change in seconds, between baseline and treatment trials, needed for significance. The time change between the first trial run and the adjusted baseline run was divided by the first trial run and expressed as a mean number of seconds and as a percent for both the R24 (9.5 secs or 0.8%) and R72 (7.0 secs or 0.6%) trials. The percent values were applied to each individual baseline time in order to determine how many seconds (positive or negative) the second performance trial time had to be over or under the first performance trial, in both R24 and R72 conditions, to quantify as a response. Participants were then labeled as non-responders, positive-responders (faster during successive trial), and negative-responders (slower during successive trial).

Results

Descriptive characteristics are found in Table 1. The participants were between the ages of 18 and 35 (majority of subjects were between ages of 20-28) years. All participants were trained runners or triathletes (where running was their specialty event).

Table 1
Participant (Males = 9 & Females = 3) Descriptive Statistics

Mean Standard Deviation

________________________________________________________________________

Males Females Group Males Females Group

Age (yrs)

25.6

22.0

24.7

5.0

1.0

4.6

Height (cm)

175.3

168.0

173.5

6.2

18.2

10.0

Weight (kg)

78.0

61.7

73.9

10.9

10.0

12.6

Body Fat (%)

10.9

21.9

13.7

1.3

2.0

5.1

VO2max (ml/kg/min)

63.3

59.7

62.4

5.0

7.9

5.6

Pre-study 5km Personal Best (min)

18:57

21:31

20:19

1:54

2:05

2:02

Average Weekly Mileage

31.7

30.1

30.5

7.4

7.7

7.5

Days Per Week

4.9

4.6

4.7

1.5

1.1

1.2

________________________________________________________________________

Mean finishing times, HRave, and RPEend for 1) R24 vs baseline and 2) R72 vs baseline are found in Table 2. R24 was significantly (p = 0.03) slower (10 secs) than baseline, where as R72 was not significantly (p = 0.21) different from baseline. Regarding HRave, no significant differences (p = 1.00) were found between R24 and baseline, yet R72HRave was significantly (p = 0.04) greater than baseline. Significance (p = 0.39) was not found between R24 RPEend and baseline, but R72 RPEend was significantly (p = 0.01) higher than baseline.

Table 2

Comparison of R24 (24 hrs) vs R72 (72 hrs) Trials

________________________________________________________________________

Baseline R24 Baseline R72

________________________________________________________________________

Finish Time (min)

19:49 + 1.9

19:59 + 1.9*

19:34 + 1.6

19:30 + 1.5

Average HR (b/min)

177.3 + 7.3

177.3 + 6.3

175.4 + 6.5

177.9 + 6.3*

Ending RPE

19.6 + 0.8

19.5 + 0.8

19.3 + 0.9

19.8 + 0.6*

________________________________________________________________________

R24 trials = 24 hrs of passive recovery between baseline and R24

R72 trials = 72 hrs of passive recovery between baseline and R72

*indicates significant difference between respective baseline trial.

Figure 1 displays individual differences between R24 and R72 performance trials. To be considered a non-responder, the individual time change had to fall within 0.8% of baseline performance for R24 and 0.6% of baseline performance for R72.

 

Figure 1

Figure 1. Changes in Individual Finishing Times (R72 vs R24)

Positive and negative responders (Table 3) were identified when individual time change was greater than 0.8% for R24 trials and 0.6% for R72 trials, with a positive responder being one whose 2nd performance trial time improved (expressed as a negative value) and a negative responder being one whose 2nd performance trial time slowed (expressed as a positive value).

Table 3

Comparison of Individual R24 and R72 Performance Trials
________________________________________________________________________

Participant Baseline R24 Time Baseline R72 Time

(min) (min) Change (min) (min) Change

(secs) (secs)

________________________________________________________________________

1

16:41

17:06

+25*

16:42

16:36

-6*

2

17:38

17:17

-21*

17:25

17:32

+7*

3

17:44

17:50

+6*

17.44

17:37

-7*

4

18:58

19:13

+15*

18:38

18:48

+10*

5

19:00

19:11

+11*

20:05

20:08

+3

6

19:05

19:38

+33*

19:35

19:49

+14*

7

20:17

20:09

-8*

19:49

19:48

-1

8

21:01

21:14

+13*

20:13

20:05

-8*

9

21:05

21:21

+16*

20:49

20:37

-12*

10

21:53

22:24

+31*

21:30

20:36

-54*

11

22:07

21:56

-11*

21:14

21:20

+6

12

22:18

22:25

+7*

21:05

21:02

-3

MEAN

19:49

19:59@

9.8

19:34

19:30

-4.3

________________________________________________________________________

R24 trials = 24 hrs of passive recovery between R24 and baseline

R72 trials = 72 hrs of passive recovery between R72 and baseline

* = responder

– = faster

+ = slower

@ = significance

Three individuals responded negatively to R72 by running a mean 10.3 + 5.7 secs slower during R72. Five individuals responded positively to R72 by running a mean 17.4 + 22.9 secs faster than baseline. Four individuals were considered non-responders to R72 with a mean time change of 3.3 + 1.8 secs.

Nine individuals responded negatively to R24 by running a mean 17.4 + 12.1 secs slower than baseline. Three individuals responded positively to R24 by running a mean 13.3 + 6.8 secs faster. There were no non-responders to the R24 trials. It is important to note that only two (participants 3 and 10) of three individuals who were negative responders to R72 also responded negatively to R24. Also, there were no individuals who positively responded to both R72 and R24.

There were no significant differences between R24 and baseline trials vs R72 and baseline trials for soreness and fatigue regarding pre and post warm-up scores on the fatigue/soreness visual analog scales (Table 4).

Table 4

Soreness and Fatigue Responses: R24 vs R72 Trials

________________________________________________________________________

Pre Warm-up Post Warm-up

________________________________________________________________________

Soreness

Fatigue

Soreness

Fatigue

R24 Trials

Baseline

6.8 + 1.3

7.0 + 0.6

6.7 + 0.9

6.3 + 0.8

Day 2

7.1 + 1.0

6.6 + 0.8

6.9 + 1.1

6.5 + 0.6

R72 Trials

Baseline

5.8 + 1.3

5.9 + 0.9

6.2 + 0.6

6.3 + 1.4

Day 2

6.3 + 0.6

5.8 + 0.5

6.5 + 0.9

5.9 + 0.8

________________________________________________________________________

No significant differences were found between trials
Subjects appeared to be fully recovered before each trial

 

Discussion

The primary purpose of this study was to compare 5km racing performance after 24 hrs of passive recovery versus 72 hrs of passive recovery. Other than a few somewhat related studies by Bosak et al. (2008 & 2009), the necessary duration of passive recovery from 5km time trials has not previously been studied. Results indicate that 72 hrs of passive recovery, on average, permits maintenance of second 5km time trial performance, yet individual variability existed regarding rate of decline of 2nd trial performance. Individuals must therefore test themselves or coaches must test their athletes to determine optimal recovery time that allows for improved performance during successive 5km efforts.

R24 was significantly (p = 0.03) slower (10 secs) than baseline. However, no significant differences (p = 0.21) occurred between R72 and baseline (Table 2). Due to the catabolic nature of the running process, pain results from microtears and swelling (edema) within the muscle, which require sufficient passive recovery time prior to undergoing another intense running effort (Brown & Henderson, 2002). Increased passive recovery time can also be used to reduce the reflex muscle spasm and spastic conditions that accompany pain. Thus, it is logical to assume longer hours of passive recovery following a 5km race, may attenuate soreness and fatigue prior to the next race or hard running effort, which would potentially allow performance to be maintained or at least minimize impairment (Fitzgerald, 2007). Therefore, in this study, it is hypothesized that 72 hrs of passive recovery facilitated a more effective recovery allowing participants to actually run a few seconds faster than baseline. Since, subjects were required to have 24 hrs of passive recovery before each baseline it is likely that subjects were more fully recovered for R72 than for either baseline performance trial, thereby producing slight improvements during R72 performance trial.

There were no significant differences between R24 and baseline trials versus R72 and baseline trials for soreness and fatigue (Table 4) regarding pre and post warm-up scores on the fatigue/soreness visual analog scales. These results indicated that all runners tended to feel the same prior to each baseline and treatment trial. The assumption, therefore, is that each runner felt a similar level of preparedness before every trial. However, individual variability (Figure 1) existed among runners, which makes it important to focus on the effects of passive recovery (24 hrs and 72 hrs) on each individual.

Four individuals were considered non-responders to R72 with a mean time change of positive or negative 3.3 + 1.8 secs. It is possible that the intensity needed to complete the 5km performance trial was less than what was needed to fatigue these 4 non-responders.

Five individuals responded positively (Table 3) to R72 running a mean of 17.4 + 12.9 secs faster during the second trial. The potential reason for improved performance during R72 may be due to the fact that the 5 participants may have been in a more rested state as compared to their status prior to the first trial. Several of those subjects who did run faster during R72 verbally indicated that they “felt better” (regarding fatigue and muscle soreness) prior to the start of the second 5km as compared to how they were feeling before the baseline trial.

Despite the fact that as a group the participants ran a mean 10 seconds slower during R24 vs baseline, three individuals responded positively to R24 by running a mean 13.3 + 6.8 secs faster than baseline. The improvements during R24 could have been due to the fact that the 5km distance may not have been sufficient enough to fatigue these individuals from baseline, which allowed each runner to be recovered before the start of the second trial.

In terms of participants who ran slower (Table 3) during R24 and R72 performance trials, 9 individuals ran a mean time of 17.4 + 12.1 seconds slower after 24 hrs of passive recovery. Apparently, 24 hrs of passive recovery was not sufficient enough to allow muscle function to return to normal (Brown & Henderson, 2002). However, despite having 72 hrs of passive recovery, 3 participants still ran a mean of 10.3 + 5.7 secs slower than baseline. The decreased performance during R72 may have been a result of the runners having a “feeling of staleness” in their legs from completing no exercise for 72 hrs as explained by Mujika et al. (2001), where he suggested that many collegiate and post-collegiate runners often complain of feeling “stale” if they haven’t run in a few days. A potential loss of “feel” during exercise has been implied to occur in competitive athletes as a result of a reduction in training frequency (Mujika et al., 2001).

Despite R72 HRave being significantly (p = 0.04) greater than baseline and R24 HRave being the same as baseline, there were no consistent patterns of HRave and increased or decreased performance among participants during all R72 and R24 trials. It can be assumed that a lower HRave was associated with less effort since HR and intensity levels are related. However, only participant 7 ran faster and had a higher HRave during R24 and R72. During the R72 trials, only participants 4, 10, and 12 ran slower and had a lower HRave during second trial performance. During the R24 trials, only 1, 3, 5, 6, ran slower and had a lower HRave during second trial performance.

As for RPEend, no significant difference (p = 0.40) occurred between R24 and baseline, yet R72 was significantly (p = 0.01) greater than baseline. Also, scores on the pre and post warm-up fatigue/soreness visual analog scales were not significantly different between R24 and baseline trials vs R72 and baseline trials, indicating that all runners individually tended to feel the same prior to each 5km trial. Therefore, since inconsistencies exist between HRave, RPEend, and performance trials, while no significant differences occurred regarding fatigue/soreness responses, it is assumed that all participants displayed similar efforts during each 5km performance trial.

Conclusion

The results of the study indicate that 72 hrs of passive recovery, on average, permits maintenance of second day 5km performance. The study displays evidence that in most runners, 24 hrs of passive recovery did not provide sufficient recovery time for restoration of proper muscle function in agreement with Foss and Keteyian (1998) and Sinclair, Olgesby, & Pierpenburg (2003). For most runners, performance after 24 hrs of passive recovery may be impaired due to the inability to recruit sufficient muscle fibers in active muscles, as a result of residual muscle fatigue (Noakes, 2003). On average, more than 24 hrs of passive recovery is necessary for most runners to achieve optimal 5km race performance (Bosak et al., 2008). Since it was apparent that individual variability in recovery occurred in our study, individuals and coaches must therefore test themselves and their athletes to determine optimal recovery time, which may vary even within individuals depending upon other factors.

References

Bosak, A., Bishop, P., & Green, M. (2008). Active vs passive recovery in the 72 hours after a 5km race. The Sport Journal, 11 (3).

Bosak, A., Bishop, P., Green, M., & Hawver, G. (2009). Impact of cold water immersion on 5km racing performance. The Sport Journal, 12 (2).

Brown, R. L. & Henderson, J. (2002). Fitness Running (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Brozek, J. & Hanschel, A. (1961). Techniques for Measuring Body Composition. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.

Dellinger, B. & Freeman, B. (1984). The Competitive Runners’ Training Book: Techniques and Strategies to Prepare Any Runner for Any Race. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Fitzgerald, M. (2007). Brain Training for Runners. New York, NY: Penguin Group, Inc.

Foss, M. L. & Keteyian, S. J. (1998). Fox’s Physiological Basis for Exercise and Sport. Ann Arbor, MI: McGraw-Hill.

Galloway, J. (1984). Galloway’s Book on Running. Bolinas, CA: Shelter Publications, Inc.

Gomez, A. L., Radzwich, R. J., Denegar, C. R., Volek, J. S., Rubin, M. R., Bush, J. A., Doan, B. K., Wickham, R. B., Mazzetti, S. A., Newton, R. U., French, D. N., Hakkinen, K., Ratamess, N. A., & Kramer, W. J. (2002). The effects of a 10-kilometer run on muscle strength and power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 16, 184-191.

Henderson, J. (2000). Running 101: Essentials for Success. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Higdon, H. (1998). Smart Running. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, Inc.

Kaufmann, D. A. & Ware, W. B. (1977). Effect of warm-up and recovery techniques on repeated running endurance. The Research Quarterly, 2, 328-332.

Martin, D. E. & Coe, P. N. (1997). Better Training for Distance Runners (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Mujika, I., Goya, A., Ruiz, E., Grijalba, A., Santisteban, J., & Padilla, S. (2001). Physiological and performance responses to a 6-day taper in middle-distance runners: influence of training frequency. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 23, 367-373.

Nicholas, C. W., Green, P. A., Hawkins, R. D., & Williams, C. (1997). Carbohydrate intake and recovery of intermittent running capacity. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 7, 251-260.

Noakes, T. (2003). Lore of Running (4th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

O’Conner, F. G. & Wilder, R. P. (2001). Textbook of Running Medicine. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Pollock, M. L., Schmidt, D. H., & Jackson, A. S. (1980). Measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in the clinical setting. Comprehensive Therapy, 6, 12-27.

Sinclair, J., Olgesby, K., & Piepenburg, C. (2003). Training to Achieve Peak Running Performance. Boulder, CO: Road Runner Sports Inc.

Authors’ References:

  1. Dept. of Sport Health Science, Life University, Marietta, GA 30060
  2. Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
  3. Dept. of Health, PE, and Recreation, University of North Alabama, Florence, AL 35632
  4. Dept. of Health and Human Performance, Georgia Southwestern State University, Americus, GA 31709
  5. Dept. of Health, Exercise Science, and Secondary Education, Lee University, Cleveland, TN 37320

Physical Education Teacher Candidates and Professional Codes of Ethics

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the levels by which the students in Departments of Physical Education agree with the professional codes of ethics for physical education teachers. One hundred twenty-two students receiving education in Departments of Physical Education and Sports in three universities participated in the research. A questionnaire consisting of 32 items was used as the data collection tool. Physical education teacher candidates studying in different universities stated that they fully agreed with the professional codes of ethics for physical education teachers. However, they were observed to have different opinions regarding some ethics codes depending on gender, class, and school variables.

Introduction

Ethics lies on the basis of all relationships established by humans. There are such values as love, respect, gratitude, and trust in a relationship between two persons. (Kuçuradi, 1996). Ethical behavior considers the rights and interests, as well as the existence of others (Haynes, 2002). The goal of an ethical relationship is being able to show that ethical action is a basic characteristic of human existence; that is being able to teach to love people (Pieper, 1999). Studies on ethics deal with the standards used in the rightfulness or wrongfulness of human behavior. They seek answers to such questions as to which behaviors are good, desirable, and acceptable (Gözütok, 1999).

Professional ethics resulted from an increase in ethical problems in certain professions or from the awareness of these increasing problems. Ethics of medicine, law, sports, press, and education are some examples of professional ethics (Tepe, 2000). Professional ethics are a set of general rules that look at the work performed by the members of the profession from an ethical point of view and that are complied with by the majority of these members (Sockett, 1990; Kultgen, 1988). Ethical codes laid down by professional organizations and supported by sanctions will guide the person who applies them and help him/her to decide in potential dilemmas (Fain, 1992). Even though professional codes of ethics are regulated separately for every profession, such codes as honesty, legality, reliability, professional loyalty, and respect apply to all professions (Wiley 2000).

When education was taken up as a multidimensional system, ethical conduct came to be one of these dimensions (Barcena & Gıl, 1993). Ethics of education interests all of society. Behaviors related to students are central to the ethics of education. It is the duty of all educators to provide the student with humane living conditions within the environment of education. The relationship between the teacher and the student must be based on love and respect (Bilgen, 1994).

Ethical relationships are expected to be experienced within the environment of education. For this reason, ethics codes that are determined for education must have compliance by educators. Universal values such as honesty, fairness, loyalty, and respect are taken as basis when determining ethics codes. The basic purpose of ethics codes is to make application most beneficial, to provide public benefit, to protect the profession, to discipline the members, and to guide the teachers in solving ethical dilemmas they may encounter during daily applications (Campbell, 2000).

Physical education teachers are faced with making ethical decisions while they are fulfilling their duties in schools and sports facilities (Harrison and Blakemore, 1992). Physical education teachers must act in compliance with professional ethics while they are performing their duties in order to protect service ideals, regulate competition within the profession, and raise the quality of the service provided. The first known codes of ethics in literature for physical education teachers were proposed in 1950 by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (AAHPER) professional ethic board, and published in the Journal of Physical Education and Recreation in 1950 (Resick, Seidel, & Mason, 1975). A major part of these professional codes of ethics regulate the relationship between the teacher and the student. Other ethics codes are concerned with the relationship of teachers and their colleagues, their responsibilities towards the society, participation in professional organizations, and professional development.

It was observed that the definitions made related to ethical dilemmas were more successful, their theoretical and practical knowledge concerning ethical dilemmas increased, and their solutions and recommendations for ethical problems became more successful at the end of their education (Bergem, 1993). In a study conducted by Priest, Krause, and Becah (1999), ethical value choices of students were discovered to have changed positively at the end of a four years higher education.

The pre-service education received by teachers will have an influence on the decisions to be made by them in ethical incidents they encounter during the course of their professional lives. In research conducted by Tirri (1999), teachers stated that they encountered ethical dilemmas in matters related to passing courses, education, lessons and success, moral dimensions of student behavior, cheating, negative student behavior, and general rules in school. Some very sensitive situations were expressed by some of the teachers who took part in the research. For instance, if a teacher has to touch his/her student as required by his/her profession, s/he is faced with a dilemma. The teacher must decide on the limits of the help s/he will provide to his/her students. Such dilemmas are mostly encountered by special education and physical education teachers (Tirri, 1999).

Physical education teachers in Turkey are educated in Schools of Physical Education and Sports in universities and Departments of Physical Education and Sports connected education faculties. Students take special skill examinations in order to be admitted to these departments. Physical education teacher candidates receive four years of higher education consisting of general knowledge, professional knowledge for teaching, and field education knowledge. The physical education teacher training program, which was prepared centrally by the Higher Education Council in 1997, is applied in all universities. All physical education teacher candidates graduate from programs consisting of the same courses and contents. With a recent amendment made to the program, optional courses have been proposed to be introduced for the students to acquire professional ethics (YÖK, 2007).

The education received by physical education teachers has a major influence on their behavior inside the school and the classroom. Therefore, physical education teacher candidates should acquire the qualifications of being able to act in compliance with the professional ethics along with professional knowledge and skills during their pre-service education.

The basic aim of this study was to determine the levels by which the students in departments of physical education agree with the professional codes of ethics for physical education. With this aim was an intent to determine whether or not the opinions of students in Departments of Physical Education regarding the levels of agreement with the professional codes of ethics displayed differences depending on gender, class, and school variables.

Method

The survey method was used in this research. The scale developed by Özbek (2003) was used in order to measure the levels by which physical education teacher candidates agreed with of professional codes of ethics for physical education teachers. The validity and reliability of the measuring tool, was studied again. Factor analysis was carried out for the structural validity of the measuring tool and total correlation analysis of items was evaluated. Before conducting factor analysis, the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) value was observed in order to determine the suitability of the size of sampling to factor analysis and the KMO value was found to be .90. The minimum KMO value must be .60 in order for a factor analysis to be realized on the data (Pallant, 2005). The .90 KMO value, which was observed in this case, showed that the data were suitable for factor analysis. On the other hand, the Barlett test result for the factor analysis of 32 items was found to be 2837.291, (p < 0.001). The KMO and Barlett test results indicated that a factor analysis could be conducted on these data. As a result of the factor analysis, the scale was decided to be one-dimensional. The total declared variance was calculated as 46.4 %. A declared variance of 30 % or more is considered sufficient in single-factor scales (Büyüköztürk, 2002). The factor load values of the items included in the scale ranged between .37 and .83. A factor load value of .30 or more was taken as basis while deciding on including an item in the scale. None of the items was excluded from the scale in this case (see Table 1). The correlation coefficient of the items included in the scale, on the other hand, ranged between .37 and .81 (See Table 1). The total correlation coefficient of items is required to be at least .30 (Pallant, 2005). According to this, no items were excluded from the scale. All of the 32 items in the original scale were kept without any change. The internal consistency coefficient Alpha, which is calculated for the reliability of the scale, was found as .95. Therefore, the scale was considered valid and reliable.

Table 1.
Factor Load of the Items in the Scale and Their Total Correlation Values

Item

No

Factor Load

Item

Total r

Item

No

Factor Load

Item

Total r

1

.41

.39

17

.75

.71

2

.37

.37

18

.71

.69

3

.41

.40

19

.69

.65

4

.72

.68

20

.73

.69

5

.78

.75

21

.78

.74

6

.69

.68

22

.68

.64

7

.60

.57

23

.81

.76

8

.66

.62

24

.75

.71

9

.53

.50

25

.66

.63

10

.73

.71

26

.56

.53

11

.62

.59

27

.77

.74

12

.64

.63

28

.83

.81

13

.52

.51

29

.76

.73

14

.62

.60

30

.82

.78

15

.48

.46

31

.79

.76

16

.60

.60

32

.83

.80

The scale contained the 32 professional codes of ethics given chart 2 along with personal information. The options of the scale and their points were determined as, Fully disagree (1 point), Somewhat agree (2 points), Moderately agree (3 points), Mostly agree (4 points), and Fully agree (5 points). The formula (5-1 = 4; 4/5 = 0.80) was used in determining the range coefficient of the scale. According to this the option ranges were determined as Fully disagree (1.00-1.79), Somewhat agree (1.80-2.59), Moderately agree (2.60-3.39), Mostly agree (3.40-4.19), and Fully agree (4.20-5.00). Whether or not there was a difference between the opinions of physical education teacher candidates based on class and gender was tested with the unrelated t test. Whether the opinions displayed differences based on the school variable, on the other hand, was tested with the unilateral variance analysis and the LSD test.

A Physical Education Teacher must,

         A Physical Education Teacher must,

C1 – take the mental, emotional, and social developments of students into

         consideration along with their physical skills while evaluating their success.

C2 – attach importance on education and health rather than being a champion or winning a

         competition.

C3 – accept losing in competitions as natural as winning.

C4 – work in cooperation and solidarity with his/her colleagues.

C5 – help those who are new in the profession gain professional knowledge and experience.

C6 – not display an action based on violence towards his/her students.

C7 – approach the students who do not succeed in competitions with understanding.

C8 – take the necessary measures in conditions that might arise in students such as physical

         discomfort, dehydration, or fatigue.

C9 – include activities by which all students take part in sports activities rather than providing a

        group of students with the school’s facilities.

C10 – ensure that all students benefit from the tools, equipment, and facilities of the school.

C11 – not use grades as an instrument of pressure.                                                      

C12 – prefer honesty over winning in sports.                        

C13 – prefer discipline over winning in sports.        

C14 – act with tolerance towards his/her students in their lessons.  

C15 – reward proper behavior of students.    

C16 – evaluate the success of students objectively.  

C17 – take care to ensure that both s/he and his/her students conform to the lesson and training

           hours.

C18 – attach more importance on the health and security of his/her students than sportive

           success.                    

C19 – not intervene with the transfers of athlete students by following his/her own interest.

C 20 – show special attention to disabled students in order to ensure their participation in the

            lesson.

C21 – consider the course of physical education as an integral and complementary part of

           general education.

C22 – value the opinions of students during the lesson.                                                                                                                                                     C23 – not talk in a way to humiliate his/her athlete students.

C24 – not allow tests, measurements, or drug testing that would endanger the health of his/her

           athlete students.

C25 – keep confidential the private information concerning his/her students.                          

C26 – keep confidential the religious, political, and ethnical matters discussed within the

           classroom environment.

C27 – not conduct training exercises that would endanger the health of athlete students.                                                                                                                                                                                  

C28 – take the education and health of the athlete students into consideration during club

           transfers.

C29 – avoid applications that would hold back other lessons of the students who will

           participate in competitions.

C30 – not insult his/her students.                          

C31 – not talk in a way to humiliate the athletes and coaches of the competitor school team.

C32 – act aggressively and offensively in his/her relationships with his/her colleagues.

Figure 1. Professional Codes of Ethics for Physical Education Teachers                                                                                                                                                        

Participants

The research covered the students, who were receiving education in the Departments of Physical Education and Sports in the Gazi University School of Physical Education and Sports, Hacettepe University, School of Sport Sciences and Technology, and Ankara University School of Physical Education and Sports during the 2005 – 2006 academic year. There were 278 students in the freshman and senior classes of the three universities. The study aimed to reach the relevant segment of students fully. However, the data collection tool could only be applied to a study group consisting of 122 students. Twenty-five percent (n = 26), 53 percent (n = 64), and 26 percent (n = 32) of the students participating in the survey consisted of the students of Hacettepe University, Gazi University, and Ankara University, respectively. When the gender distribution was examined, 60 percent (n = 73) of the students were observed to be male and 40 percent (n = 49) female. 62 percent (n = 76) of the students participating in the survey were freshmen while 38 percent (n = 46) consisted of senior class students. Personal information regarding the study group of the survey has been provided in Chart 3.

Table 2
Personal Information Regarding the Study Group

Personal Information

Sub categories

f

%

    School

Hacettepe U.

26

21

Gazi U.

64

53

Ankara U.

32

26

Total

122

100

    Class

Freshman

76

62

Senior

46

38

Total

122

100

    Gender

Male

73

60

Female

49

40

Total

122

100

Results

Findings regarding the opinions of physical education teacher candidates about their agreement with the professional codes of ethics were interpreted based on gender, class, and school variables.

The mean averages of the levels by which the physical education teacher candidates agreed with the professional codes of ethics based on gender, class, and school variables have been given in Table 3. As seen in Table 3, it was observed that the teacher candidates receiving education in three universities fully agreed with the professional codes of ethics [Hacettepe University ( = 4.66), Gazi University ( = 4.64), Ankara University ( = 4.66)]. The mean average of the levels by which the students in freshman and senior classes agreed with the professional codes of ethics [freshman ( = 4.63), senior ( = 4.69)] was realized as “full.” The mean average of the levels by which the male and female students agreed with the professional codes of ethics, on the other hand [male ( = 4.62), female ( = 4.71)], was again realized as “full”.

Table 3
The Mean averages of the Levels by which the Physical Education Teacher Candidates Agreed with the Professional Codes of Ethics based on Gender, Class, and School Variables

School

N

Mean

Class

N

Mean

Gender

N

Mean

Hacettepe U.

26

4.66

Freshman

76

4.63

Male

73

4.62

Gazi U.

64

4.64

Senior

46

4.69

Female

49

4.71

Ankara U.

32

4.66

The averages of the opinions of physical education teacher candidates concerning the professional codes of ethics based on their genders have been provided in Table 4. As seen in Table 4, a noteworthy difference was observed in three items as a result of the unrelated t test conducted among the averages regarding the opinions of physical education teacher candidates based on their genders, while no significant differences were seen in other items.

Male teacher candidates agreed at the level of ( = 4.61), and female teacher candidates at the level of ( = 4.87) with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must value the opinions of students during the lesson” (C22). There was a significant statistical difference between the averages of the opinions of male and female physical education teacher candidates [ t (120) = 2.15, p<.05]. More female teacher candidates agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should value the opinions of students during the lesson compared to male teacher candidates.

While male student candidates agreed with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must not allow tests, measurements, or drug testing that would endanger the health of his/her athlete students” (C24) at a level of = 4.75, the level of agreement by female teacher candidates was = 4.93. There was a significant statistical difference between the averages of the opinions of male and female physical education teacher candidates [t (120) = 2.11, p < .05]. More female teacher candidates agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should not allow tests, measurements, or drug testing that would endanger the health of his/her athlete students, compared to male teacher candidates.

While male teacher candidates agreed with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must not insult his/her students” (C30) at a level of = 4.65, the level of agreement by female teacher candidates was = 4.85. There was a significant statistical difference between the averages of the opinions of male and female physical education teacher candidates [t (120) = 2.04, p < .05]. More female teacher candidates agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should not insult his/her students, compared to male teacher candidates.

Table 4
Descriptive Statistics on the Opinions of Physical Education Teacher Candidates concerning the Professional Codes of Ethics based on their Genders

Item

No

Gender

Mean

s

t

p

Item

No

Gender

Mean

s

t

P

1

M

4.79

.525

.231

.817

17

M

4.78

.650

.342

.733

F

4.81

.486

F

4.81

.391

2

M

4.24

.909

.255

.799

18

M

4.47

.818

1.48

.141

F

4.20

.889

F

4.67

.625

3

M

4.49

1.04

1.29

.198

19

M

4.65

.767

.738

.462

F

4.24

1.03

F

4.75

.630

4

M

4.68

.664

.847

.399

20

M

4.68

.761

.368

.714

F

4.77

.421

F

4.63

.782

5

M

4.75

.547

.631

.529.

21

M

4.68

.642

.915

.362

F

4.81

.527

F

4.79

.676

6

M

4.71

.588

1.11

.266

22

M

4.61

.810

2.15

.033*

F

4.83

.624

F

4.87

.525

7

M

4.61

.637

.521

.603

23

M

4.71

.676

1.117

2.66

F

4.55

.737

F

4.83

.472

8

M

4.68

.598

.471

.639

24

M

4.75

.640

2.11

.037*

F

4.73

.531

F

4.93

.316

9

M

4.71

.513

.518

.605

25

M

4.65

.730

1.92

.056

F

4.65

.751

F

4.85

.408

10

M

4.82

.419

.299

.766

26

M

4.42

.848

1.23

.219

F

4.79

.539

F

4.59

.642

11

M

4.46

.958

1.43

.128

27

M

4.78

.583

.052

.959

F

4.69

.683

F

4.77

.510

12

M

4.45

.972

1.93

.055

28

M

4.57

.797

1.59

.113

F

4.73

.638

F

4.77

.586

13

M

4.41

.796

.861

.391

29

M

4.46

.851

1.28

.203

F

4.53

.680

F

4.65

.693

14

M

4.50

.728

.673

.502.

30

M

4.65

.671

2.04

.044*

F

4.59

.609

F

4.85

.408

15

M

4.39

.701

1.76

.097

31

M

4.76

.589

.295

.769

F

4.59

.574

F

4.73

.604

16

M

4.67

.727

1.36

.173

32

M

4.78

.671

.045

.964

F

4.81

.441

F

4.77

.586

df = 120 NMale = 73 NFemale = 49 N = 122 P* < .05

The averages regarding the opinions of physical education teacher candidates concerning the professional codes of ethics based on their classes have been given in Table 5. As seen in Table 5, a noteworthy difference was observed in three items as a result of the unrelated t test conducted among the averages regarding the opinions of physical education teacher candidates based on their classes, while no significant differences were seen in other items.

While freshman students agreed with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must take in consideration the mental, emotional, and social developments of students into consideration along with their physical skills while evaluating their success” (C1) at a level of ( = 4.73), the level of agreement by senior students was ( = 4.91). There was a significant statistical difference between the averages of the opinions of physical education teacher candidates in freshman and senior classes [t (120) = 2.09, p < .05]. More teacher candidates in senior classes agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should take in consideration the mental, emotional, and social developments of students into consideration along with their physical skills while evaluating their success, compared to those in freshman classes.

While freshman students agreed with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must evaluate the success of students objectively” (C16) at a level of ( = 4.64), the level of agreement by senior students was ( = 4.86). There was a significant statistical difference between the averages of the opinions of physical education teacher candidates in freshman and senior classes [ t (120) = 2.27, p < .05]. More teacher candidates in senior classes agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should evaluate the success of students objectively, compared to those in freshman classes.

While freshman students agreed with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must attach more importance on the health and security of his/her students than sportive success” (C18) at a level of ( = 4.46), the level of agreement by senior students was ( = 4.71) There was a significant statistical difference between the averages of the opinions of physical education teacher candidates in freshman and senior classes [ t (120) = 2.09, p < .05]. More teacher candidates in senior classes agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should attach more importance on the health and security of his/her students than sportive success, compared to those in freshman classes.

Table 5
Descriptive Statistics on the Opinions of Physical Education Teacher Candidates concerning the Professional Codes of Ethics based on their Classes

Item

No

Class

Mean

s

t

p

Item

No

Class

Mean

s

t

p

1

Freshman

4.73

.574

2.09

.038*

17

Freshman

4.80

.632

.191

.849

Senior

4.91

.354

Senior

4.78

.417

2

Freshman

4.22

.946

.092

.927

18

Freshman

4.46

.855

2.09

.039*

Senior

4.23

.821

Senior

4.71

.501

3

Freshman

4.35

1.11

.519

.605

19

Freshman

4.73

.660

.796

.428

Senior

4.45

.911

Senior

4.63

.798

4

Freshman

4.71

.649

.264

.793

20

Freshman

4.59

.911

1.57

.119

Senior

4.73

.443

Senior

4.78

.417

5

Freshman

4.76

.585

.408

.684

21

Freshman

4.69

.748

.694

.489

Senior

4.80

.453

Senior

4.78

.467

6

Freshman

4.77

.665

.328

.743

22

Freshman

4.71

.745

.212

.832

Senior

4.73

.419

Senior

4.73

.681

7

Freshman

4.63

.689

.867

.388

23

Freshman

4.71

.689

1.36

.174

Senior

4.52

.657

Senior

4.84

.419

8

Freshman

4.67

.640

.924

.357

24

Freshman

4.77

.623

1.54

.125

Senior

4.76

.431

Senior

4.91

.354

9

Freshman

4.68

.657

.099

.921

25

Freshman

4.71

.708

.614

.541

Senior

4.69

.552

Senior

4.78

.467

10

Freshman

4.77

.531

1.18

.240

26

Freshman

4.46

.870

.572

.568

Senior

4.86

.340

Senior

4.54

.585

11

Freshman

4.56

.884

.138

.891

27

Freshman

4.73

.640

1.22

.224

Senior

4.54

.853

Senior

4.84

.363

12

Freshman

4.51

.901

.862

.390

28

Freshman

4.61

.815

.730

.467

Senior

4.65

.749

Senior

4.71

.544

13

Freshman

4.40

.751

.966

.336

29

Freshman

4.61

.815

1.39

.167

Senior

4.54

.751

Senior

4.41

.747

14

Freshman

4.53

.738

.031

.975

30

Freshman

4.75

.535

.297

.767

Senior

4.54

.585

Senior

4.71

.501

15

Freshman

4.39

.713

1.88

.063

31

Freshman

4.78

.617

.845

.400

Senior

4.60

.536

Senior

4.69

.552

16

Freshman

4.64

.743

2.27

.025*

32

Freshman

4.78

.717

.240

.811

Senior

4.86

.340

Senior

4.76

.480

df = 120 N Freshman = 76 N Senior = 46 N = 122 P* < .05

The averages regarding the opinions of the physical education teacher candidates based on their schools have been given in Chart 7. As seen in Chart 7, a noteworthy difference was observed in two items as a result of the unilateral variance analysis conducted among the averages regarding the opinions of physical education teacher candidates based on their schools, while no significant differences were seen in other items.

A difference of .05, which was worth noting, was found among the averages as a result of the variance analysis conducted on the averages of the points concerning agreement levels with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must not display an action based on violence towards his/her students” (C6) [F (2, 119) = 3.11, p < .05]. As a result of the LSD test, which was applied in order to find the group that created the difference, a significant difference was observed between the opinions of Hacettepe University and Gazi University students. While the students of Hacettepe University agreed with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must not display an action based on violence towards his/her students” (C6) at a level of = 4.96, those of Gazi University stated that they agreed with this principle at a level of = 4.64.

A difference of .05, which was worth noting, was found among the averages as a result of the variance analysis conducted on the averages of the points concerning agreement levels with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must reward proper behavior of students” (C15) [F (2, 119) = 5.51, p < .05]. As a result of the LSD test, which was applied in order to find the group that created the difference, a significant difference was observed between the opinions of Ankara University students and Hacettepe University and Gazi University students. While the students of Ankara University agreed with the principle stating “a physical education teacher must reward proper behavior of students” (C15) at a level of ( = 4.15), those of Hacettepe university and Gazi University stated that they agreed with this principle at levels of ( = 4.61) and ( = 4.57), respectively.

Table 6
Descriptive Statistics on the Opinions of Physical Education Teacher Candidates concerning the Professional Codes of Ethics based on their Schools

Item

No

School Averages

F

P

Item

No

School Averages

F

P

1

2

3

1

2

3

1

4.76

4.82

4.78

.162

.850

17

4.73

4.84

4.75

.514

.600

2

4.26

4.14

4.37

.756

.472

18

4.61

4.57

4.46

.322

.725

3

4.26

4.40

4.46

.270

.764

19

4.69

4.70

4.68

.006

.994

4

4.73

4.71

4.71

.004

.996

20

4.53

4.67

4.75

.548

.579

5

4.76

4.78

4.78

.005

.995

21

4.80

4.70

4.71

.238

.789

6

4.96

4.64

4.84

3.11

.048*

22

4.92

4.60

4.78

1.94

.148

7

4.53

4.59

4.62

.117

.889

23

4.69

4.73

4.87

.798

.453

8

4.69

4.68

4.75

.134

.875

24

4.80

4.82

4.84

.031

.969

9

4.65

4.70

4.68

.058

.944

25

4.73

4.70

4.81

.323

.725

10

4.80

4.79

4.84

.106

.900

26

4.46

4.56

4.37

.647

.525

11

4.65

4.50

4.59

.329

.721

27

4.69

4.82

4.75

.612

.54

12

4.62

4.50

4.65

.401

.670

28

4.69

4.65

4.62

.061

.941

13

4.50

4.39

4.56

.603

.549

29

4.61

4.56

4.43

.405

.668

14

4.57

4.53

4.53

.045

.956

30

4.73

4.70

4.81

.379

.692

15

4.61

4.57

4.15

5.51

.005*

31

4.76

4.78

4.68

.274

.761

16

4.65

4.71

4.81

.470

.626

32

4.84

4.78

4.71

.285

.753

df (Between groups: 2, Within groups: 119, Total: 121) P* < .05
N1 = 26 N2 = 64 N3 = 32 N = 122
1 = Hacettepe University 2 = Gazi University 3 = Ankara University.

Discussion and Conclusion

According to the results of the survey, it was determined that physical education teacher candidates in different universities fully agreed with the professional codes of ethics for physical education teachers based on school, gender, and class averages. However, it was observed that they thought differently in some codes of ethics according to these variables.

More female teacher candidates agreed with the principles that a physical education teacher should value the opinions of students during the lesson and should not insult his/her students, compared to male teacher candidates. Again, female teacher candidates agree with the principle that a physical education teacher should not allow tests, measurements, or drug testing that would endanger the health of his/her athlete students, more than male teacher candidates. It may be said that the female teacher candidates approached their students with more tolerance and compassion. Training applications that would ensure that the male teacher candidates think as the female teacher candidates should be included during pre-service education.

Teacher candidates in senior classes agreed with the principles that a physical education teacher should take the mental, emotional, and social developments of students into consideration along with their physical skills while evaluating their success, and that s/he should evaluate the success of students objectively, more than those in freshman classes. In addition, more teacher candidates in senior classes agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should attach more importance to the health and security of his/her students than sportive success, compared to those in freshman classes. According to this result, it is possible to say that the physical education teacher training program has resulted in positive changes in the opinions of teacher candidates.

The teacher candidates in Hacettepe University agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should not display an action based on violence towards his/her students, more than those in Gazi University. Applications of these findings would ensure that the teacher candidates in Gazi University become more sensitive with regard to application of violence towards students.

The teacher candidates in Gazi and Hacettepe Universities agreed with the principle that a physical education teacher should reward proper behavior of students, more than those in Ankara University. Activities that would strengthen the knowledge of teacher candidates in Ankara University that rewards constitute an important and useful instrument in education.

The fact that a difference exists among the opinions of physical education teacher candidates concerning some codes of ethics makes us think that training programs for physical education teachers are not effective enough in ensuring that students acquire behaviors related to professional codes of ethics. Physical education teacher candidates are expected to be more sensitive about the professional codes of ethics. Techniques such as case study analysis and role playing may be used in order to provide higher quality training on professional codes of ethics.

It is known that theoretical and practical information concerning ethical dilemmas are increasing and solutions and recommendations for ethical problems are becoming more successful in the formal education received by teacher candidates (Bergem, 1993). Therefore, more efficient ethical training must be included in pre-service education (Fain & Gillespie, 1990; Priest, Krause & Becah, 1999). Some problems may be encountered in applying ethical principles. It is always possible for a teacher to find himself/herself in an ethical dilemma and experience conflicts with the roles s/he has undertaken. In this context, ethical behavior is a hard job. This difficulty will be alleviated if teachers acquire the characteristics that constitute ethical conduct, such as doing the right thing and being fair, honest, and helpful, during the pre-service education (Frank, 1996; Oser & Althof, 1993).

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A Study of Alcohol Responsibility Among College Athletes

Abstract

This study examined alcohol related behaviors among college athletes and the impact of a one year, alcohol responsibility intervention program on reported behaviors. A sample of 150 athletes was selected to go through three specific alcohol responsibility intervention programs, funded by an NCAA Choices grant. The interventions involved the establishment of a peer mentoring and counseling program to encourage alcohol responsibility and address behavioral concerns; educational opportunities; and alcohol free socials associated with athletic events. Findings of this study indicated a decrease in problematic issues in two of the six indicator areas examined.

Introduction

Problematic drinking on college campuses remains a significant concern for students in general and a growing concern for athletes in particular (Hingson, Heeren, Winter & Wechsler, 2005). Obviously when drinking behaviors among athletes become problematic, there is the potential to impact competitive performance, academic success and social development. This concern prompted the NCAA to establish the Choices Grants, aimed at combating irresponsible and problematic drinking among athletes. I utilized the funding from this grant to implement a 12 month intervention program on a campus that had been plagued with alcohol related issues among both the athlete and general student population. The intervention program involved peer training and mentoring, educational seminars, and social activities to address irresponsible alcohol behaviors.

Doumas, Turrisi, and Wright (2006) studied 249 college freshmen and found a disturbing prevalence of binge drinking among students and an even greater prevalence among athletes. They found that college athletes consumed an average of 5.07 drinks per weekend, former high school athletes 4.19 and non-athlete students 3.5 drinks per weekend. Thompson and Sherman (2007) further reported that between 1989 and 2005 the number of collegiate student-athletes who reported drinking 10 or more drinks in one sitting during the past 12 months significantly increased. This definition fits the description of problem drinking; however, this definition has been a debatable issue. Hanson (2007) defined problematic drinking in the college as five drinks for males and four drinks for females during one drinking experience. Although some consider this to be the problematic drinking threshold, alcohol experts, Lederman, Stewart, and Travis (2007) pointed out that the size of the drink, the body weight of the drinker, gender, and the length of time during the drinking experience are major factors that should be taken into consideration when defining problem drinking.

Brenner and Swanik (2007) reported the elevated consumption pattern of athletes over non-athletes. They examined the consumption patterns based on NCAA. The NCAA classifies schools into one of 3 categories based on the number of intercollegiate sports that a university offers, with Division One supporting the largest number of athletic teams, followed by NCAA II and lastly, NCAA III. They found that Division One schools reported more high risk or problematic drinking athletes (78%) as contrasted to NCAA II athletes (76%) and NCAA III athletes (67.5%) in a 12 month period. Nativ, Pubber and Green (1997) found that NCAA I athletes involved in contact sports, such as ice hockey and football, consumed alcohol at a greater frequency and quantity than their non-contact sport counterparts. This pattern was consistent among both males and females.

Wechsler, Davenport, Dowdall, Grossman, and Zanakos (1997) noted that 29% of male college athletes and 24% of female college athletes reported binge drinking three or more times in the past two weeks. In a subsequent study, Wechler, Lee, Kueo, Seibring, Nelson, and Lee (2002) reported that student-athletes were more likely to be occasional and frequent binge drinkers than non-athletes and that college students in general were more likely to be problematic drinkers than non-college students. DeHass (2006) noted problematic drinking has been shown to increase among athletes while they are out of their respective competitive season. Martin (1998) earlier brought attention to this finding by reporting that 56% of college athletes reported binge drinking while they were not in season, while 35% reported binge drinking in season.

Reasons for Abuse

Martens, O’Connor, and Beck (2006) speculated that the environment a college athlete faces itself could lead to alcohol abuse. Stainbeck (1997) theorized that college athletes travel more and are exposed to social settings that promote alcohol abuse. Some have suggested that athletes, as a result of their success, may also gain status in certain social settings where alcohol is more visible. To support this perspective, Crompton (1993); Neal, Sugarman, Hustad, Caska, and Carey (2005); and Madden and Grube (1994) presented theories noting a historical cultural link between alcohol and sporting events. Martens et al. (2006) speculated that the excessive time demands for college athletes may also lead to problematic alcohol problems. He also noted the possibility of social isolationism, as athletes are often separated from their non-athlete peers. He noted possible psychological pressures athletes feel as they experience demands to excel and to live up to coaches, fans, and family expectations. Physically, they also speculated that when athletes are injured, they may feel stressed about recovery and thus turn to alcohol. Lastly, Martens et al. noted another possible problem as a college athlete’s career ends, he or she may find it hard to define an identity outside of athletics, which could also lead to alcohol abuse.

There is also research that indicates problematic drinking among athletes may be over estimated by the athletes themselves. Leeper (2006) for example, identified studies which showed that college athletes overestimate the normal drinking rates both on campus and among their teammates. Leeper suggested that this inaccurate social norm, in and of itself, may lead to an increase in personal alcohol use as the athlete tries to keep up with the perceived, yet false norm. Clark (2008) found that only 20% of students reported drinking the previous night, yet they believed 50% of their student peers drank the previous night. Martens et al. (2006) stated that the theory of inaccurate social norms suggests that the tendency to abuse alcohol may frequently be motivated by perception.

Existing Intervention Programs

The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (2006) found that 71% of universities had a drug and alcohol education program for their students. The NCAA noted that most of the programs in athletic departments were funded by the Health and Safety Speakers Grant Program, the NCAA Champs/Life Skills programs, or the NCAA CHOICES alcohol education grant. Green, Uryasz, Petr, and Bray (2001) noted alcohol education programs in college athletic departments in 76% of NCAA I schools, 50% of NCAA II, and 41% of NCAA III athletic departments.

Mantel (2006) reported that over 2,400 colleges are using online courses to help reduce binge drinking among students. Austin (1997) reported that Woodson College administrators experimented to see if certain intervention strategies would decrease the use of alcohol among students. The college implemented a social norms campaign, alcohol-free socials and a peer education program. Austin noted the success of the program as students’ perceptions of the binge drinking rate on campus decreased and the reported number of drinks consumed per week decreased. Similarly, a nationwide study of students at 4 year colleges, Welschler, Seibring, Chao Liu, & Ahl (2004) documented the success of social norm campaigns in addressing responsible drinking. They found that 64% of students reported behavioral change due to social norm campaigns at their respective schools.

The NCAA (2008) has implemented and funded alcohol education programs in the name of “Choices” grants, aimed at encouraging social responsibility, not merely abstinence. The NCAA encourages expansion beyond education into the areas of social norms and provision of responsible activities along with the use of peer mentoring and referral training.

Brown (2008) reported on another program titled, “My Playbook.. The effort was initiated by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro in 2007, and was aimed at correcting erroneous social norms and equipping athletes with the tools to make better choices regarding alcohol.

To summarize, there have been many approaches, including restrictions from alcohol, social norm campaigns, peer mentoring, and educational programs, all established with an attempted to alleviate alcohol related problems among college students and athletes. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2002) summarized the research findings and programs and placed efforts into one of three tiers based on student’s perception of effectiveness and on empirical data related to prevalence of alcohol related problems among students. The first tier represented programs that had the best documented success rate when it came to reducing alcohol related problems and consumption on college campuses. These programs focused on cognitive-behavioral skills with norms clarification and motivational enhancement; brief motivational enhancement interventions; and programs that challenged alcohol expectancies. The NIAAA found that tier 2 programs, which focused on rules and sanctions and tier 3 programs, which focused on policy and education were both less effective. One common problem that surfaces in literature examining programs designed to reduce problematic drinking is that many of the success claims are reported in terms of either administrator’s or student’s perception of success as contrasted to empirical studies.

The purpose of this study, with the funding support of the NCAA, was to incorporate an NCAA Choices alcohol responsibility program at a public, regional NCAA II university. The intervention involved a combination of a social norm campaign; athlete peer mentoring and referral training, opportunities for non-alcohol parties associated with athletic contests and educational seminars regarding alcohol responsibility. The hypothesis of this study was that a 12 month, comprehensive alcohol responsibility initiative would have a significant impact on the reported behaviors and perceptions of collegiate athletes in an NCAA II institution.

Methods

This study was designed to incorporate a comprehensive alcohol responsibility initiative among college athletes with the intent of influencing alcohol consumption levels, attitudes, and problematic issues stemming from alcohol abuse. The specific focus was to incorporate and then subsequently examine the impact of a 12 month initative. The program was funded by an NCAA grant. It was directed toward the varsity athletes at a public, regional, NCAA II institution. The intervention consisted of four components. First, a social norm campaign was established which used athletes as poster models to depict social activities that were free of alcohol and to attempt to dispel false myths about the prevalence of alcohol consumption. This was to combat the student perception that alcohol was a requirement for fun and that everybody wanted alcohol at parties. Second, three alcohol and substance abuse educational sessions for athletes were presented to the athlete subject population. This consisted of a three part series of speakers, designed to bring attention to the perils of irresponsible drinking. Third, an athlete-peer mentoring and referral training program was created with two athletes from each team selected by their coaches to be participants. This group was trained in recognition of problems in the personal lives of athletes, particularly with alcohol abuse, and then in appropriate response and referral of their peers if necessary. There were also three campus-wide, alcohol-free parties hosted by participants in the initiative.

Subjects

The subjects consisted of a random sample of 150 athletes in the fall of 2007 who were not subject to any intervention and 150 randomly selected athletes in the fall of 2008 that went through a 12 month intervention program. The 2008 subjects served as the quasi treatment group of this study. The total population of athletes was 282 during the entire study period. All participants were assured of anonymity and agreed to provide informed consent prior to participating in the Core Survey.

Instrumentation

To measure the impact of the programs, the short form of the CORE Drug and Alcohol Survey (Core Institute, 2006) was given to the 2007 subjects and then to the 2008 subjects 12 months later. The survey was designed for use by universities and colleges to determine the extent of substance use and abuse on their campuses, including problematic drinking. The instrument generated responses that were categorized in to one of six broad-based areas, which I analyzed. The areas examined were (a) any alcohol use in past 12 months, (b) more than one binge occasion within past two weeks, (c) serious personal problem related to alcohol, (d) public misconduct in past 12 months, (e) belief that peers drink weekly, and (f) prefer no alcohol at parties.

For this study, problematic drinking was defined the same as binge drinking or as five or more drinks or beers at one setting. Serious alcohol associated problems were defined as concerns such as suicidal tendency, being hurt or injured, unsuccessfully trying to stop sexual assault. Public misconduct was defined as some form of undesirable activity such as trouble with police, fighting, excessive argument, vandalism, or driving while intoxicated. The Core Institute (2006) has documented the reliability and validity of the instrument.

Data Analysis

The responses of the 2007 control group subjects were compared to the responses of the 2008 treatment intervention subjects in the six different assessment areas of the Core Survey. This analysis was used to measure the alcohol related behaviors and attitudes of the 2007 control group as contrasted to the 2008 treatment intervention group. For purposes of this study, a one-tailed t test was used to determine if a significant difference existed between the responses of the control and treatment groups on the responses in the 6 categorical areas of the short form of the Core Survey. The 0.05 level of confidence was used.

Results

The self-reported behaviors of athletes were significantly impacted during the 12 month period of this study in 2 of the 6 categorical areas examined. There were no significant changes in the remaining 4 categorical areas. The 2008 subjects, collegiate student-athletes enrolled in a state supported, regional NCAA II University, were exposed to a systematic 12 month alcohol responsibility intervention program that focused on education, peer mentoring, social norm campaigns, and alcohol free, social opportunities.

As seen in Table 1, the findings indicated a statistically significant improvement ( t = 2.093, p = .041) in the number of athletes reporting binge drinking occasions within the two weeks prior to the administration of the Core Survey. The number dropped from 65% to 42% of the subjects. Also, there was a significant decrease (t=1.72, p=.039) in the reported alcohol-related personal problems of the treatment group. These problems may have been issues such as suicidal tendency, being hurt or injured, sexual assault, or arrest. Reported problems dropped from 41% to 18% of subjects reporting such incidents.

Table 1

Athletes Reporting of Alcohol Responsibility Issues and Perceptions Before (2007) and After (2008) an Alcohol Responsibility Intervention Program (N=300)

some use in last 12 months≥1 binge occasion in recent 2 weeksserious personal problem related to alcohol≥1 public mis-conductbelieve peers drink weeklyprefer no alcohol at parties

2007 88% 65% 41% 56% 100% 22%
2008 73% 42% 18% 39% 82% 28%
t 1.27 2.09 1.72 1.68 1.49 0.81
Sig. .214 .041* .039* .269 .272 .371

Note. *p< .05, one tailed test, df=∞

Discussion

There was a significant decline in the reported prevalence of alcohol binge activity and serious personal problems related to alcohol following the 12 months of the alcohol responsibility program intervention. The decline may be credited to a diverse intervention that included education, peer mentoring and referral training, social norm campaigns, and alcohol free socials. However, it was difficult to control outside variables which also could have had an impact. One example was the infusion of new coaches on to the athletic staff during the 12 month intervention period.

Nonetheless, there is something about athletes that generates a higher level of problematic drinking. Is it the innate, risk-taking personality that may be required to be a college athlete or the basic competitive nature that lends itself to drinking games as suggested by Martens, et al. (2006). It may be the pressure or as Doumas et. al. (2006) suggested, the attachment avoidance documented among college athletes, which may result in a feeling of isolation on campus. This isolation could be the stimulus that encourages athletes to turn to alcohol.

Doumas, et al. (2006) proposed that the problem may already be ingrained by the time the athlete graduates from high school and may not be the result of any collegiate influence, opportunities or pressures. He supported this theory by documenting that collegiate non-athletes who were former athletes in high school exhibited a greater prevalence of problematic drinking than the general student population. If this is the case, the research population needs to change to a much younger age and the emphasis of intervention programs needs to shift to the high school athlete population.

Regarding norms, the finding that 28% of subjects in this study indicated a preference to not have alcohol at parties while the subjects of this study believed that 82% of their peer athletes consumed alcohol weekly presents a dichotomy. In general, there appears to be an inaccuracy between what athletes assume is normal for a social life and what they prefer, related to alcohol.

There are some general implications from the findings of this study that may be applicable for coaches and administrators. First, an active alcohol responsibility initiative involving education, awareness, peer influence and opportunities for alcohol free activities are likely to have an influence on irresponsible drinking. Additionally, the value of correcting erroneous social norms among athletes cannot be underestimated and is deserving of more investigation.

To better understand and identify the sources of the problems related to alcohol abuse, it appears that studies aimed at the high school level, or younger, might reveal helpful information regarding athletes. Perhaps the culture of linking sports to alcohol, both form a spectator and competitor viewpoint, is learned at the high school level or earlier and should be a target for study. Regardless, attention to the high prevalence of problematic drinking among college athletes remains important as coaches try to assist in the total development of their protégés.

References

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Prevention of ACL Injuries in Female Athletes through Early Intervention

Abstract

With respect to physical education, increased participation in sport equals success. One of the main goals of physical educators is to enable individuals to become proficient in lifelong activities. Hopefully, this proficiency will lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life. Beginning with Title IX and continuing over the last two decades, there has been an explosion of youth sports opportunities. As children have begun to participate in sports programs at earlier ages, parents have started feeling pressure to enroll their children in similar programs in order for them to remain competitive. As a result, children become increasingly proficient at their respective sports at earlier ages. This proficiency, while benefiting the respective sport, is not without its consequences. One of the most notable consequences of increased participation in sports at an earlier age is in the area of sports injuries (Rentrom, 2008).

Introduction

Over the last two decades, female participation in sport has risen dramatically. Moreover, the rate of females acquiring injuries to their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) has risen at an alarmingly dramatic rate. According to recent studies by Arendt (1995), females are between two to eight times more likely to injure their ACL than their male counterpart in similar sporting events. Typically, these injuries are occurring in sports such as basketball, volleyball and soccer. Participants in these sports are usually involved in a lot of quick cutting motions, jumping motions and rapid slowing or decelerating movements. ACL injuries generally prevent a student from participation throughout the remainder of the season, and some injuries can permanently end a student’s ability to successfully participate (Rentrom, 2008).

The Cost

ACL injuries usually come at a very high cost to the participant and their family. The cost of the medical treatment alone can easily run thousands of dollars. Moreover, this type of injury can greatly reduce an athlete’s self esteem and confidence. Therapy must also be considered, which places a high burden on family members with respect to the time lost and money spent. These losses combined, often make ACL injures catastrophic losses to athletes and their families.

Causes

With approximately 70% of ACL injuries coming from non-contact incidents, many studies have been conducted in order to find causes or preventative measures to counteract the problem. These studies have attempted to narrow the causes and help reduce the occurrence of ACL injuries in female athletes. Presently, research has narrowed its focus to a handful of probable causes. In female athletes, the factors include, but are not limited to: Increased valgus movements during landing, pre-menstrual hormone levels, narrower intercondylar notch width and smaller AC ligaments (Griffin, L. Y., 2000). Research has also noted different firing sequences of leg muscles in male and female athletes. These firing differences help explain some of the different responses that females exhibit to athletic movements and thereby expose themselves to higher risk during those movements. As a result, females find themselves at a biomechanical disadvantage to males when it comes to ACL strength and stability (Ireland, 2002).

Prevention

The good news is that studies have concluded that the incidence of ACL injuries can be reduced through neuromuscular training (Roniger, L. R., 2007). With this type of training, females have been shown to reduce valgus moments when landing (Foster, J. B., 2007). Moreover, as a result of the training, female athletes can incorporate more muscular control and experience less ligament dependence during movements such as cutting, landing, jumping and rapid deceleration. With appropriate training, which can and should be done in the physical education classroom, female athletes can significantly reduce their risk of a catastrophic non-contact ACL injury (Mandelbaum, 2005).

Muscular training to reduce the risk of ACL injuries is not a difficult task. Furthermore, the training falls right into the Physical Education guidelines of helping individuals lead healthier and more satisfying lives. Certainly all of the muscles in the leg would benefit from strength training and stretching, however, this paper will focus on the larger muscles in the Hamstrings and Quadriceps. Most athletes have strong quads because of the amount of work that those muscles do during exercise. A study by Chappell, J., et.al. in 2007 concluded that females landed with less knee flexion, increased quadriceps activation and less hamstring activation. This resulted in increased ACL loading during the landing phase and therefore increased the risk of damage. With this in mind, greater hamstring strength should be a priority in most female athletes. The hamstrings, however, are often overlooked during training. There is much debate, but generally the hamstrings should optimally fall within 60 – 80% of the strength of the quads. The following hamstring strengthening exercises would work well for school Physical Education programs. The first exercise is the squat. A slight bend in the waist and a deep knee bend are necessary to lower your hands to the floor. After your hands have touched the floor and you have counted to three, then return to the starting position. Throughout the exercise, your back must be straight so that the legs and buttocks do the work. The second exercise is the leg curl. This exercise is done from the standing position, preferably facing a table or a stage. While keeping the right leg straight, bring the left foot up toward the buttocks. You should feel the strain in your hamstring as you touch your left heel to your buttocks. Repeat the exercise until the hamstring is fatigued. Repeat with the exercise with the right leg as you keep the left leg straight. The third exercise is the kickback. Stand close to and facing a wall. While keeping the right leg straight, kick the left backwards as far as possible. This will vary from one to three feet depending upon flexibility. Keep the left leg at the furthest position for a count of one. Move the left leg to the initial position. There should be very little bend at the waist and both the legs must be kept straight throughout the exercise. Repeat the procedure for the right leg while keeping the left leg straight. Toe raises will also help stabilize the knee. Simply stand with you feet about shoulder width apart and lift your heals, one at a time, as high as possible before lowering them back to the ground. Start off with sets of 10 and increase as possible.

The final area which can be easily addressed in physical education programs and will help reduce the risk of ACL injures is jump training. These jumping exercises should be conducted with proper form. Proper form includes keeping the legs together, not allowing the knees to come apart, landing softly with bent knees, and finally, forcing the individual to remain balanced at all times. Do not allow anyone to rush through the exercises. These jumps should be over a small cone and should incorporate both legs at the same time. The first set should be done by jumping forward over the cone and then jumping backwards to the initial starting position. The second exercise would be to have the individual jump from side to side over the cone and then jump back to the original position.

These exercises, if done correctly and in conjunction with a proper stretching regimen, could help reduce the incidence of ACL injuries in female athletes. Further tracking of female students participating in a structured physical education setting would substantiate the reduction of this type injury.

References

Arendt, E., Dick, R. (1995). Knee injury patterns among men and women in Collegiate basketball and soccer: NCAA data and review of literature. Am J Sports Med, 23, 694-701.

Griffin, L. Y., et al. (2000). Noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injuries: Risk factors and prevention strategies. J Am Acad Orthop Surg, 8, 141-150.

Roniger, L. R. (2007, October). ACL prevention programs show benefit for teen athletes. J Biomechanics.

Foster, J. B. (2007, November). Soft landing studies find effects beyond sagittal plane of knee. J Biomechanics.

Mandelbaum, B.R., Silvers, H. J., Wantanabee, D.S., et al. (2005). Effectiveness of a neuromuscular and proprioceptive training program in preventing anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes: 2-year follow-up. Am J Sports Med, 33, 1003-10.

Rentrom, P., Ljungqvist, A., Arendt, E., et al. (2008). Non-contact ACL injuries in female athletes: An international Olympic committee current concepts statement. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 42, 394-412.

Ireland, M. L. (2002). The Female ACL: Why is it more prone to injury? Orthopedic Clinics of North America, 33, issue 4.

Chappell, J.D., Creighton, R.A., Giuliani, C., Bing Y., Garrett, W.E., (2007). Kinematics and elecgtromyoghrapy of landing preparation in vertical stopping. Am J Sports Med, 35, 235-241.