Welcome to the Sanford Sports Science Institute Education Center. Below you will find articles from the Institute's expert staff that provide athletes and other active individuals with valuable information on ways to reduce their risk of injury, enhance health, and optimize performance.
Hydration and Heat StressHeat Illness: Reducing the Risk, While Enhancing Performance
One of the biggest challenges facing numerous young athletes is attempting to train or perform safely and effectively in the heat.Hydration
How much fluid you should drink during physical activity is determined by several key factors. An appropriate rate of fluid intake depends on how much you sweat, which is primarily driven by how hard you are working and environmental conditions — temperature and humidity. It also depends on how long you exercise.Dehydration: A concern for basketball players?
Proper hydration is a key component for effective athletic performance. However, the impact and importance of hydration during basketball practice or, more importantly, a game is often unappreciated and underemphasized by the athletes and coaching staff.
Running and CyclingThe road to optimal running performance: overcome your limitations
All athletes strive for optimal performance. The obstacles that prevent athletes from being optimal are their limitations; we all have them. For a runner, limitations to optimal performance can be painfully obvious, or completely unrecognized. Fortunately , many obstacles that prevent athletes from being optimal are often correctable.Selecting the Right Running Shoe
Because running puts a lot of stress on the feet and body, selecting the right athletic shoe is extremely important. Finding a shoe that offers the cushioning and stability that suits your running style and foot shape will not only improve performance, it can help prevent injuries.The road to optimal cycling performance: overcome your limitations
All athletes strive for optimal performance. The obstacles that prevent athletes from being optimal are their limitations; we all have them. For a cyclist, limitations to optimal performance can be painfully obvious, or completely unrecognized. Fortunately , many obstacles that prevent athletes from being optimal are often correctable.Triathlete Training
A triathlon consists of three modes of exercise: swimming, cycling and running. Without the proper conditioning and training program, event performance decreases and the risk of premature fatigue and injury increases.
Consider your muscles your "gas tank" and carbohydrate their "fuel". It is important to begin any workout properly fueled. Your body needs both carbohydrate and fat for energy during low/moderate-intensity activities.Dietary Fats
Despite its bad reputation, fat is an essential nutrient. Fat is important for body insulation, internal organ protection, nerve transmission, hormone production and metabolizing fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Additionally, fat is the main source of energy at rest and during low-intensity exercise.Protein
While carbohydrate and fat are the body's major sources of fuel for endurance activities, protein plays a vital role in building and repairing muscle tissue.Caffeine
Besides the obvious benefit of giving you that feeling of extra energy to stay awake, does caffeine have a place in the sports diet?Eating disorders and athletes
The desire for an athlete to improve performance is usually a good trait; but, in some cases, it may be taken too far. A major cause of concern comes from the mentality that thinness is directly related to an athlete's self-worth and the ability to become better at his or her sport. At this point, it is time to seek help.Nutrition for Sport — Wrestling
As a weight category sport, attaining an appropriate body composition is an important factor in competing in a desired and appropriate weight class. However, "making weight" just prior to each competition often is achieved by unhealthy rapid weight loss practices that are risky and likely to decrease performance on the mat.Nutrition & Hydration for Team Sport Athletes
With all team sports, such as soccer, hockey and basketball, nutrition and hydration play a significant role in helping you to perform at an optimal level.Nutrition for the Injured Athlete
Nutrition plays an important role in an athlete's health and performance. Following a sport-related injury, key nutrients are utilized daily to assist muscle growth, as well as ongoing recovery and repair.
Being ActiveWho is an athlete?
You do not need to be a competitive cyclist or professional baseball player to be considered an athlete. By staying regularly active, you are putting a great effort into your personal physical fitness and health.Get Active — Stay Active
Lack of regular and sufficient exercise is one of the biggest contributing factors to the high rates of overweight and unhealthy adults and children.Recovery after training and competition
Recovery is essential to restore an athlete's physiological and psychological readiness and capacities. Prompt and sufficient recovery between exercise bouts and training sessions can also improve performance by enhancing training quality and tolerance to the training load, as well as by promoting the athlete's adaptation to training.
Sport ConcussionConcussions in Youth Sports: Part I
Concussions can occur in any organized or unorganized sport; however, they are most commonly associated with contact-collision sports such as football, hockey, soccer and basketball. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion are critical to the evaluation and treatment of an athlete who may have a concussion.Concussions in Youth Sports: Part II
The important key steps in the treatment and management of a sports-related concussion include: rest, education, student advocacy, physical exertion testing, and progressive return to play.
National Youth Sports Health & Safety InstituteManaging Sport Concussion in Youth: An Integrated Team Effort
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way the affected brain functions. Returning to school or sports too soon – that is, before the brain is completely healed and functioning properly – can delay recovery and lead to more severe and longer-lasting related problems.Getting Things Moving: How to Inspire Healthy Active Living in Kids
As much fun as active free play, sports participation and other physical activity can be, less than half of US children and adolescents meet the current physical activity guidelines. All kids should have accessible and regular opportunities for fun through free play and sports and enjoy the numerous benefits to academics, health and well-being, as a result of being regularly active and fit.Preventable Injuries
While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of incurring an injury during sports participation, many injuries sustained during training and competition are avoidable – especially those injuries related to simply doing too much too often.Parents Pledge
The responsibility for encouraging and implementing a healthier and sustainable pathway to athletic success falls on the shoulders of all stakeholders in youth sports – especially PARENTS.Gold Medal Parents
While there is no single "path to the podium", success is ultimately defined by a child's continued participation in and enjoyment from a chosen sport or other healthy activity. Numerous Olympians and other successful athletes recognize the importance that parental encouragement played in their success.Youth Sports Safety: The Rules of Play, Injury Risk and Respect
The goal of youth sports should be to have fun and to appropriately introduce sports skills, develop young players in an appropriate and healthy way and increase and maintain participation into the adult years. Respecting the rules and showing respect for other players are two of the best ways to reduce injury risk and keep kids in the game.