Posts Tagged ‘sports’

Leading Issues in the News: Concussions in Sports

“I demand that football change its rules or be abolished. Brutality and foul play should receive the same summary punishment given to a man who cheats at cards! Change the game or forsake it!”

–President Theodore Roosevelt, after the Chicago Tribune reported that 18 college football players had died and 159 were seriously injured during the 1905 season

The escalating violence and the number of injuries and deaths in the early history of American football led to rule changes and equipment improvements aimed at making the game safer, both at the collegiate and professional levels. However, football players—as well as athletes in other sports—continue to put themselves at risk of injury every time they participate in a practice or game.

In the past couple decades the risks associated with repetitive head injuries have come to the forefront. Mike Webster, a Hall of Famer who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974 to 1990, became the first former NFL player to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)–a progressive degenerative brain disease–after his death at the age of 50 in 2002. The release in 2015 of the movie “Concussion”, which chronicled the work of forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu, who performed autopsies on former NFL players, put the public spotlight directly on this serious issue.

A recent addition to SIRS Issues Researcher’s list of over 340 Leading Issues—Concussions in Sports—is one that any student who participates in sports—as an athlete and/or fan—can relate to. It provides young researchers with an in-depth look at this problem that affects all athletes—from those participating in youth leagues to the professional athlete. The Concussions in Sports Timeline provides a history of the issue and a list of key events that have had an impact on past and current players, and highlights efforts to improve player safety and continue research on concussions and their effects.


Screen cap from SIRS Issues Researcher

Screen cap from SIRS Issues Researcher


Celebrate National Skating Month!

U.S. Figure Skating recognizes January as National Skating Month. It is a time for ice skating rinks and figure skating clubs to celebrate and promote the sport. When I was growing up, I dreamed of becoming a figure skating coach. I started taking ice skating lessons when I was five and fell in love with the sport. In honor of National Skating Month, I would like to share some interesting facts about three of my favorite female figure skaters.

Dorothy Hamill Research Topic Screencap

Dorothy Hamill Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Dorothy Hamill: At 19-years-old, Dorothy Hamill captured the gold medal in women’s figure skating at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Hamill quickly became known as “America’s Sweetheart” because of her sweet personality, bobbed hairstyle, and skating skills—she invented her own signature spin, the “Hamill camel.” Shortly after the Olympics, Hamill won the World Championship title in Gothenburg, Sweden. She then decided to turn professional and toured with the Ice Capades from 1977-1984. Hamill won a Daytime Emmy award for her performance in the 1983 production of “Romeo & Juliet on Ice.” She also competed on the 16th season of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2013.

Katarina Witt Research Topic Screencap

Katarina Witt Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Katarina Witt: Katarina Witt is a two-time Olympic champion, four-time World champion, and six-time European champion. The East German figure skater captivated both judges and spectators with her technical skating skills, beauty, charisma, and showmanship. She won her first Olympic gold medal in women’s figure skating at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, and her second at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She became the first female figure skater since Sonia Henie to retain her Olympic title. Following her victory at the 1988 World Championships, Witt retired from amateur competition and embarked on her professional skating career. She toured with other world-class figure skaters, including fellow Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano and headlined her own skating shows. She ended her successful professional skating career in 2008.

Sasha Cohen Research Topic Screencap

Sasha Cohen Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Sasha Cohen: Sasha Cohen is one of the most graceful and beautiful figure skaters of all time. Her given name is Alexandra Pauline Cohen. Sasha is a Ukrainian nickname for Alexandra. The 2006 U.S. figure skating champion is known for her flexibility, exquisite spirals, and outstanding spins. Cohen finished fourth at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Four years later, she won the silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. In addition to performing in ice shows, Cohen has also engaged in acting. She has done commercials, guest starred on television shows, and landed movie roles. Cohen made a cameo appearance as herself in the movie “Blades of Glory.” On Jan. 22, 2016, Cohen was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

You can read more about these Olympic figure skaters and the sport of figure skating in eLibrary. Check out these resources:

Figure Skating Research Topic

Dorothy Hamill Research Topic

Katarina Witt Research Topic

Sasha Cohen Research Topic

This Day in History: Miami Dolphins Finish 1972 NFL Season Undefeated

On December 16, 1972, the Miami Dolphins tallied a 16-0 victory over the Baltimore Colts, completing the first undefeated 14-0 regular season record in the history of the NFL. They are the only team in NFL history to finish a season unbeaten and untied, and then go on to capture a Super Bowl victory that made them world champions, ending with a perfect 17-0 overall record. Over 40 years later, the Dolphins remain the only NFL team to complete an entire season undefeated and untied from the opening game through the Super Bowl (or the NFL championship game).

Six players from the ’72 Dolphins team have since been enshrined in Pro Football’s Hall of Fame: Nick Buoniconti (linebacker), Larry Csonka (fullback), Bob Griese (quarterback), Jim Langer (center), Larry Little (guard), and Paul Warfield (wide receiver), along with head coach Don Shula. It had not become common practice for Super Bowl champions to be invited to the White House until after 1980, so the 1972 Dolphins never got their White House visit. On August 20, 2013, 40 years after their historic perfect season, President Obama welcomed the team to the White House to celebrate and recognize their accomplishment.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony honoring the 1972 Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony honoring the 1972 Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 20, 2013.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) [public domain]

Prior to the 1972 Dolphins, the only other team to ever complete the regular season undefeated and untied is the Chicago Bears, who accomplished the feat in both 1934 and 1942. However, both of those Bears teams lost in the NFL Championship Game. In 1985, the Chicago Bears were 12-0 when they visited Miami in a nationally televised Monday night showdown. Members of the undefeated 1972 team were in attendance and watched the Dolphins claim a 38-24 upset victory. The Bears went on to an 18-1 season, capped by winning the Super Bowl, but the Dolphins’ claim on the only perfect season was still intact.

The most recent team to challenge the Dolphins’ exclusive hold on an undefeated season was the 2007 New England Patriots, who finished the regular season with a 16-0 mark. (The Patriots were able to compile a better regular season record than the 1972 Dolphins because the NFL lengthened the regular season schedule from 14 to 16 games in 1978.) New England added two playoff wins and entered Super Bowl XLII undefeated (18-0), but the dream of a perfect season fell short as they were defeated 17-14 by the New York Giants.

This season, with three games left in the regular season, the Carolina Panthers remain undefeated at 13-0. Stay tuned to find out if they can duplicate the perfection achieved by the 1972 Miami Dolphins team.

eLibrary has over 100 Research Topic pages related to the NFL and its teams, coaches, players and commissioners. To view a few of them related to this post, check out the links below:

Chicago Bears

Don Shula

Miami Dolphins

National Football League

New England Patriots

Super Bowl

Bringing Sports Into the Classroom in a Cross-Curricula Way

So it’s the end of the year, and your students know it. Maybe there are a few days left of school, maybe there are a few weeks…but the fact remains: it’s June. Your kids are ready for summer fun! Perhaps you could grab their attention from windows and daydreams with a cool activity.

Sports trivia!

I’m going to give you two good excuses for bringing sports discussions in the classroom. Firstly, it’s Sports America Kids Month. Secondly, SIRS Discoverer offers lots of ways to discuss sports while tying it to history, math, and social and cultural studies.

Did you know that the White House has a tennis court? It was built behind the West Wing in 1902. Hmmm…I wonder if your students could find out who was president in 1902? (Answer: Theodore Roosevelt) The tennis court was moved seven years later because the Executive offices were expanding—who was president then? (Answer: William Howard Taft)

In 1933, an indoor swimming pool was built for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Why? He needed physical therapy because he was disabled by polio. In 1975, an outdoor swimming pool was installed for President Gerald Ford, who loved to swim.

White House Swimming Pool By NARA, via Wikimedia Commons

White House Swimming Pool
By NARA, via Wikimedia Commons

A few other presidents put their personal sports or exercise preferences into action at the White House, too. Which president loved to bowl, and had a bowling alley constructed? (Answer: Richard Nixon) Which president loved to golf, and asked that a putting green and sand trap be created at the White House? (Answer: Dwight D. Eisenhower) Which president enjoyed jogging as exercise, and requested a jogging track? (Answer: Bill Clinton)

Culture and sports may be a fun end-of-the-year topic. For a broad overview, you can share this article with your students. It talks about sports and their significance to societies around the world. Or, you can get more specific and discuss the origins of certain sports. For example, did you know that lacrosse was created and played by Native American tribes? Teams were made up of 100 to 1,000 men (no girls were allowed), and matches lasted up to three days! The game is different now—and, of course, lots of girls play—but its roots remain in battle-like games played 600 years ago.

Baseball, sometimes called the American pastime, may have been invented in England! A similar game, called Rounders, was played there during the 18th century. One hundred years later, the game of baseball was so popular in the United States, that soldiers and prisoners-of-war even played it during the Civil War.

Union prisoners at Salisbury, North Carolina, play baseball in 1863

Courtesy of Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress [Public Domain],
via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

Here’s another piece of sports-origins trivia: A game similar to tennis was first played more than 800 years ago—by French monks! European royalty soon learned and played the game, and it was then referred to as “royal tennis.” The word “tennis” is thought to have derived from the French word “tenez,” which means what? (Answer: “take this”)

Some sports figures have helped transform society. If you haven’t yet talked about Jackie Robinson with your students, Sports America Kids Month may be a great time to do so. He changed the world of baseball—and the world itself—in 1947, when he became the first African American man to play Major League baseball. In the 1970s, tennis player Billie Jean King helped all women in sports when she proved her skills, tenacity, and might—on and off the tennis court.

Take a few minutes before the end of the school year and have a bit of fun with your students. They might want to be outside playing sports…but you can give them the next best thing: sports inside! Join SIRS Discoverer and our June Spotlight of the Month in celebrating Sports America Kids Month…and the end of the school year.

The Science of Sports

RA Dickey Research Topic

RA Dickey Research Topic on ProQuest eLibrary


Tonight, when you sit down to watch the World Series match up between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants and you watch the pitcher throw a curveball or the batter swat a fastball, stop for a moment and put on your science hat. How does the pitcher throw a baseball like that, and how does someone hit a ball so far that was thrown to them so fast? Why does a knuckleball pitch move as if some mysterious force was controlling it?

And what does all of this have to do with physics and sports science? Although the knuckleball is still sort of a mystery, throwing a curve or slider and hitting a baseball has everything to do with gravity, forces and motion. Professional athletes don’t need to know the technical aspects of physics, but team coaches, managers, physicians, and physical training specialists do to varying degrees, and they need to make sure the players understand some aspects of it. And, of course, understanding sports science and physics isn’t lost on other sports. Knowing how to throw a football in a proper spiral to insure a proper trajectory and distance is vital. In Golf, knowing the geometry and biomechanics behind the golf swing has become an integral part of a professional golfer’s and their teacher’s knowledge.

Sports Science Research Topic

Sports Science Research Topic in ProQuest eLibrary

Sports science, as a discipline, studies how the human body moves during physical activity in order to maximize an athlete’s performance. It is also used to protect athletes. Studying the impacts of helmet-to-helmet hits in football and designing helmets that protect the head from brain damage is essential in professional football today.

eLibrary can help you understand how physics and sports science assists athletes in helping them not only perform better but also to protect themselves. The Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and Journal of Athletic Training both have a wealth of information in the science of human movement in the areas of biomechanics, motor behavior, and other physiological and nutrition disciplines in sports.

Check out these other resources:

Research Topics:
Sports Medicine
Sports Science

Browse Topics:
Physical Education and Sports
Science of Sports

Journal of Athletic Training (Scholarly Journal)
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (Scholarly Journal)
Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (Scholarly Journal)
Women in Sport & Physical Activity (Scholarly Journal)

Clay Matthews and Team Personnel
Are Buying Into the New Emphasis on Sports Science
Wisconsin State Journal (Newspaper)

Sports Science
Super Science (Magazine)

The Science of Sports
Carnegie Magazine

Writer Explains the Science of Sport
Tell Me More (Transcript)

Remember the BCS!

As a ProQuest editor for SIRS Issues Researcher, I cover Leading Issues topics related to sports. But sports go way beyond a work occupation for me—they are a personal passion! I especially love college football and am a huge fan of my alma mater: Florida State University. So of course, I am super excited that it’s almost time for college football season. But I’m also a little sad because 2014 marks the end of an era—the end of The Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

The Coaches' Trophy

The Coaches’ Trophy
Photo by Harrison Diamond / Independent Florida Alligator via Wikimedia Commons

The much-maligned Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is being replaced by a four-team playoff system. For 16 years, the controversial selection process—a combination of human polls and computer rankings determined the top two teams to play in the BCS National Championship Game. Now the BCS is gone and the College Football Playoff is here.

As the new season starts it is worth remembering the legacy of the BCS. Love it or hate it, the BCS left an indelible impact on college football. Here are 4 reasons why this college football fan will miss the BCS.

  1. The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the final BCS standings played for the national championship. Prior to the BCS, affiliations between conferences and bowls consistently excluded matchups between the two-highest ranked teams in the country. From 1936-1992, the AP Poll’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams only faced each other eight times in a bowl game. The BCS gave the two top teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) the opportunity to compete against each other for the national title every year.
  2. The BCS made college football a national obsession. It increased the popularity of the sport and fueled national interest in regional games. You can be sure this FSU alumni rooted for Stanford to beat undefeated Oregon last season. Stanford’s upset of Oregon cleared FSU’s path to the national championship.
  3. Every game mattered. The BCS enhanced the importance of the regular season. Every team knew that their dream of a national championship could be gone with the loss of one game. Remember last year’s Iron Bowl? In an instant Alabama’s hopes of winning a third consecutive national championship were dashed when Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed field goal in the last second of the game 109 yards for a touchdown.
  4. The BCS gave teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences the opportunity to be a “BCS buster.” Before the BCS we never would have seen the ultimate Cinderella Boise State playing mighty Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. In the classic David vs. Goliath match-up, the Broncos shocked the world by beating the Sooners with a Statue of Liberty play in overtime. The dramatic finish of the game is arguably one of the best in college football history.

What do you think about the end of the BCS? Comment below or tweet us at #ProQuest. 

ProQuest SIRS Discoverer: National Physical Fitness and Sports Month


Credit: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [public domain]

 It’s time to move it, move it! National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is here. And now that the weather is warmer, you can use SIRS Discoverer’s Spotlight of the Month to learn about all sorts of ways to be active and increase fitness as a kid of any age.

In this month’s edition, see how kids compare to parents when they were young in activity level. Also learn about yoga, archery, lacrosse, the effects of cellphones and how just 15 minutes of daily exercise has great benefits.

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition designated May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in order to encourage individuals and organizations to participate in sports and fitness. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports was established by Congress in 1983 knowing that people of all ages, shapes and sizes can benefit from regular physical activity.

The Debate: Sports Mascots

Now that football season is here, the issue of using Native American nicknames, mascots and symbols is once again in the forefront of sports news. Most of the focus of the current debate has been centered on the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Despite urging by members of Congress to eliminate the use of the offensive team nickname, team owner Dan Snyder has vowed that he will never change it. A recent AP-GfK poll shows that nearly four in five Americans agree with him. (US Poll Finds Widespread Support for Redskins Name)

After the National Congress of American Indians initiated a campaign in the 1960s to eliminate the negative portrayal of Native Americans in the media and in sports, many schools in the U.S. made changes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) initiated a new policy in 2005 that penalizes colleges that continue to use Native American nicknames, mascots or imagery. However, there are still many elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools that have resisted efforts to change.

How do your students feel about this controversial subject? They can read more about both sides of the debate in our Controversial Mascots Leading Issue, one of eight sports-related Leading Issues in ProQuest’s SIRS Issues Researcher.

Back-to-School with SIRS: Healthy Behaviors to Boost Academic Success


Strawberries by Unsplash [Public Domain] via Pixabay

Hello educators! The beginning of the school year is a good time to remind your students about healthy habits to alleviate back-to-school blues and promote academic success. Three important—and interwoven–healthy habits are good nutrition, adequate sleep and physical exercise.

Just how important are these three healthy habits for academic performance and well-being?

The benefits are many and include alleviation of stress, improved physical and mental wellbeing, and better concentration and critical thinking ability in the classroom.

With SIRS Issues Researcher, set your students on the path to academic success and good health by having them research the benefits long-term healthy behaviors. Here are some subject headings to get them started:

  • Children, Health and hygiene
  • Children, Nutrition
  • Exercise for youth
  • School children, Food
  • Sleep deprivation

Students can enter one of the subject headings above into the search box or use keyword/natural language searching to retrieve newspapers, magazines, multimedia and more.

Good classroom debate topics that relate to health and wellness are covered in our Leading Issues under the Drugs, Health and Wellness group, and include topics such as Fad Diets, Obesity and Sports for Children.

We wish you and your students a happy and healthy school year. Share with us in the comment box below what you are doing to promote healthy habits in your classroom!


Discoverer Spotlight: Sports America Kids Month

So what will  you be doing this summer? Getting together with friends? Camping with family? Creating cool crafts? Going to theater camp? Reading great books? They all sound like fun ideas…and here’s one more: get outside and play some sports!

Children Playing Soccer <br \> White House photo by Tina Hager, via ProQuest SIRS Researcher [Public Domain]

Children Playing Soccer
White House photo by Tina Hager, via ProQuest SIRS Researcher [Public Domain]

June is Sports America Kids Month, the perfect month to play your favorite sport or to get try out a new one. Baseball and softball are popular summer team sports, while golf, tennis, and horseback riding can be great solo pastimes. Or maybe kickball or basketball is popular in your neighborhood! Do you love the water? Keep cool in the pool, swimming or snorkeling. Just remember–whatever activity you choose, if you’re having fun, you’ve already won. Winning and taking first place sure is fun, but spending quality time with friends and family while learning great skills is is even better. Celebrate Sports America Kids Month outside this summer and learn more about sports in this month’s Discoverer Spotlight of the Month.