The Untold Role of the Media in Promotion of Sports

Sports have many fans that attend arenas and field to enjoy the game. However, it is not until sports were seriously covered in the media that it grew to new heights and soared to greater horizons. The role & importance of the media may have been unprecedented but not less important.

Stories about sports make up a large part of today’s news coverage. In particular, information and news about star players are what drive headlines, and celebrity athletes can play a significant role in strategic communication efforts. In the past, audiences relied on traditional media outlets to acquire this news. Now, social media essentially opens a window into these athletes’ lives – exposing both the bad and the good stories that might have previously been overlooked.
“For the media, social media makes it easier in a way because athletes can self report and can get whatever messages they want out to the public, without relying on us,” Just said. “Journalists no longer need to break news as much because athletes break it themselves on Twitter. For example, high school athletes who are ‘addicted’ to Twitter will announce which school they are committing to through this platform.”

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The role of media has become even more important with the start of social media. The media includes any form of promotion of sport, such as;

  • TV and Radio – Show (or commentate on) matches and competitions. There are also highlights; documentaries and quiz shows about sports!
  • Cable and Satellite TV – These show events on a pay-per-view basis
  • Ceefax and Teletext – Have up-to-date information about events in the world of sport
  • Internet – All teams and major athletes have their own websites where you can find all kinds of information about the team/athlete/matches
  • Newspapers and Magazines – Print predictions and results, as well as articles about athletes and clubs
  • Books and Films – Biographies are big business for ex sports players

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Sports coverage has moved from TV, radio, cable, and satellite TV to newer horizons such as teletext and social media. The following are the positive and negative effects of the media coverage on sports;

Positive Effects

The media coverage of sport has good effects:

  • Money – Media companies pay for the rights to show a sporting event. Also, sports shown on the TV generate more sponsorship
  • Education – People learn the rules of the sport from watching it on TV
  • Role models – Seeing good sports people on TV and in newspapers makes them a role model for people to look up to
  • Inspiration – Media brings sport to people who may not normally get to experience it otherwise. This can encourage people to get involved
  • Coaching aid – Watching professionals on the TV can help you see how a technique should be performed which could help your performance

Negative Effects

The media can also have a negative effect on sport:

  • Bias – Only the really popular sports get much attention on the TV and in newspapers etc. This doesn’t help encourage people into the less popular sports
  • Lack of Attendance – For matches that are shown on TV, ticket sales often drop
  • Overload – There is a lot of sport on TV nowadays, some say too much!
  • Attention – Sport stars often complain of too much attention being paid to their private lives
  • Demands – The media can put pressure on the organizers of sporting competitions to make the viewing experience better for TV audiences. For example, in a previous Olympics, the marathon was run at a time, which suited TV companies, even though it was at the hottest time of day!

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The Case of the Unwanted Sports Injuries

Exercise and sports is amazing; the feeling of knowing your healthy and enjoying the burst of energy each day is marvelous. However, the boring part comes when you have an injury that prevents you from functioning normally.

Many people play sports in some way or another, whether they are playing for fun in their backyard or competitively on a team. Exercising by playing sports can be very beneficial to your health, but sometimes these benefits to your health are outweighed by negative things, such as an injury. The severity of these injuries can range from minor to very serious, with some injuries requiring surgery to fully heal. These injuries may be caused from poor training practices, improper equipment, flawed techniques, or may just be an accident. Injuries can also occur when a person is not properly conditioned to play the sport, such as not warming up or stretching muscles beforehand.

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The severity of the injuries will vary with each individual depending on the level of strain. There are two kinds of sports injuries: acute and chronic. Acute injuries occur suddenly when playing or exercising. Sprained ankles, strained backs, and fractured hands are acute injuries. Signs of an acute injury include:

  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Not being able to place weight on a leg, knee, ankle, or foot
  • An arm, elbow, wrist, hand, or finger that is very tender
  • Not being able to move a joint as normal
  • Extreme leg or arm weakness
  • A bone or joint that is visibly out of place.
    Chronic injuries happen after you play a sport or exercise for a long time. Signs of a chronic injury include:
  • Pain when you play
  • Pain when you exercise
  • A dull ache when you rest
  • Swelling.

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Chronic injuries will be characterized by pain during exercise or sporting activity and a faint ache while resting. Luckily, it is possible to prevent frequent injuries with some tips especially n the case of the three most recognized activities; football, gymnastics, and cheerleading.

Football Injury Prevention Tips

  • Perform proper warm-up and cool-down routines
  • Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching
  • Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize cramps
  • Stay active during summer break to prepare for return to sports in the fall
  • Wear properly fitted protective equipment, such as a helmet, pads, and mouth guard
  • Tackle with the head up and do not lead with the helmet
  • Have a pre-season health and wellness evaluation
  • Speak with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about football injuries or football injury prevention strategies
  • Gymnastics Injury Prevention Tips:

  • Insist on spotters when learning new skills
  • Warm up muscles with light aerobic exercise, such as jumping jacks or running in place, before beginning training or new activities
  • Inspect equipment to ensure that it is in good condition, including padded floors, secured mats under every apparatus, and safety harnesses for learning difficult moves
  • Wear all required safety gear whenever competing or training — special equipment may include wrist guards, hand grips, footwear, ankle or elbow braces, and pads
  • Do not “play through the pain” — if you are hurt, see your doctor and follow instructions for treatment and recovery fully
  • Make sure first aid is available at all competitions and practices
  • As with any sport, proper conditioning and training are important to minimize injury, including:
  • Resistance exercises to gain strength in the lower back, stomach, and shoulders
  • Regular stretching, yoga, or pilates instruction to improve flexibility
  • Speaking with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer

Cheerleading Injury Prevention Strategies;

  • Stunt restrictions – In an attempt to curb the amount of catastrophic injuries in cheerleading, restrictions have been placed on stunts. They range from height restrictions in human pyramids, to the thrower-flyer ratio, to the number of spotters that must be present for each person lifted above shoulder level.
  • For example, the limit for pyramids is two body lengths for the high school level and 2.5 body lengths for the college level, with the base cheerleader in direct contact with the performing surface. Base supporters must remain stationary and the suspended person is not allowed to be inverted or rotate on dismount.
  • Basket toss stunts in which a cheerleader is thrown into the air (sometimes as high as 20 feet) are only allowed to have four throwers. The person being tossed (flyer) is not allowed to drop the head below a horizontal plane with the torso. One of the throwers must remain behind the flyer at all times during the toss.
  • Mats should be used during practice sessions and as much as possible during competitions. Cheerleaders should not attempt a stunt if they are tired, injured, or ill, as this may disrupt their focus and cause the stunt to be performed in an unsafe manner.
  • Training – The importance of a qualified coach is also critical. Coaching certification is encouraged. Precautions should always be taken during inclement weather for all stunts. Also, a stunt should not be attempted without proper training, and not until the cheerleader is confident and comfortable with performing the stunt. Supervision should be provided at all times during stunt routines.
    As with any sport, proper conditioning and training are important to minimize injury, including:
  • Resistance exercises to gain strength in the lower back, stomach, and shoulders
  • Regular stretching, yoga, or pilates instruction to improve flexibility
  • Speaking with a sports medicine professional or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries or cheerleading injury prevention strategies
  • Returning to play only when clearance is granted by a healthcare professional

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What is Overtraining?

The modern society is more aware of their health and their role to the promotion of wellness. The awareness of wellness and health has lead to people taking up healthier lifestyles that include taking up sports and other exercise activities. However, the interest to be fit has been overtaken by the need to be thin and acceptable by society, which has brought about overtraining.

Overtraining is a process of excessive exercise training in high-performance athletes that may lead to overtraining syndrome. Overtraining is a process of excessive exercise training that may, if left unchecked, lead to a condition termed ‘overtraining syndrome’. Overtraining syndrome is a neuroendocrine disorder characterized by poor performance in competition, inability to maintain training loads, persistent fatigue, reduced catecholamine excretion, frequent illness, disturbed sleep and alterations in mood state. Although high-performance athletes are generally not clinically immune deficient, there is evidence that several immune parameters are suppressed during prolonged periods of intense exercise training. These include decreases in neutrophil function, serum and salivary immunoglobulin concentrations and natural killer cell number and possibly cytotoxic activity in peripheral blood. The mechanisms underlying overtraining syndrome have not been clearly identified, but are likely to involve autonomic dysfunction and possibly increased cytokine production resulting from the physical stress of intense daily training with inadequate recovery.

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Research has shown that overtraining syndrome is a neuroendocrine disorder that is characterized by the following characteristics;

  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
  • Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Sudden drop in performance
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
  • Decrease in training capacity / intensity
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased incidence of injuries.
  • A compulsive need to exercise

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  • Elevated Resting Heart Rate
  • Stress fractures
  • Over-use injuries
  • Illness, or flu-like symptoms
  • Frequent infection
  • Chronic soreness
  • Loss of body weight
  • Anorexia
  • Obsessive/compulsive behavior with exercise

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The symptoms of overtraining syndrome include the following; headaches, insomnia, depression, and decreased appetite. There are several ways you can objectively measure some signs of overtraining;

1.One is by documenting your heart rates over time. Track your aerobic heart rate at specific exercise intensities, speed throughout your training, and write it down. If your pace starts to slow, your resting heart rate increases and you experience other symptoms, you may heading into overtraining syndrome.

2.You can also track your resting heart rate each morning. Any marked increase from the norm may indicate that you are not fully recovered.

3.Another way to test recover to use something called the orthostatic heart rate test, developed by Heikki Rusko while working with cross-country skiers. To obtain this measurement:

  • Lay down and rest comfortably for 10 minutes the same time each day (morning is best).
  • At the end of 10 minutes, record your heart rate in beats per minute.
  • Then stand up
  • After 15 seconds, take a second heart rate in beats per minute.
  • After 90 seconds, take a third heart rate in beats per minute.
  • After 120 seconds, take a fourth heart rate in beats per minute.

Well rested athletes will show a consistent heart rate between measurements, but Rusko found a marked increase (10 beats/minutes or more) in the 120 second-post-standing measurement of athletes on the verge of overtraining. Such a change may indicate that you have not recovered from a previous workout, are fatigued, or otherwise stressed and it may be helpful to reduce training or rest another day before performing another workout.

4.A training log that includes a note about how you feel each day can help you notice downward trends and decreased enthusiasm. It is important to listen to your body signals and rest when you feel tired.

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One of the most helpful tools to help in measuring overtraining syndrome is the use of a training log that includes a note about how you feel each day after you notice decreased enthusiasm. If you suspect you are overtraining, start with the following;

  • Rest and Recover. Reduce or stop exercise and allow yourself a few days of rest.
  • Hydrate, Drink plenty of fluids and alter your diet if necessary.
  • Get a sports massage. This may help relax you mentally and physically.
  • Begin Cross Training. This often helps athletes who are overworking certain muscles or suffering from mental fatigue.

Research on overtraining syndrome shows getting adequate rest is the primary treatment plan. New evidence indicating that low levels of exercise, or active recovery, during the rest period speeds recovery and Moderate exercise increases immunity.
Total recovery from overtraining can take several weeks and should include proper nutrition and stress reduction.

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