TIME abuse

Study: Teenage Jocks More Likely to Abuse Girlfriends

Oceanside Pirates junior varsity team line up against the Mira Mesa Junior varsity team as they play high school football in Oceanside
© Mike Blake – Reuters A new study links sports aggression and relationship abuse among high school students

Those playing both basketball and football are most likely to abuse their partners, a new study finds

A new study claims to show a link between sporting aggression and relationship abuse, finding that the likelihood of a teenage boy ill-treating his girlfriend is about twice as high if he plays football or basketball.

Inspired by the apparent correlation between violent sports and dating abuse among college athletes, the study examined data from 1,648 male students in relationships from 16 high schools in California.

Those playing sports such as football and basketball were more likely to have abused their partners either physically, sexually or psychologically than those who didn’t play sports, or those who were wrestlers, swimmers or tennis players.

Teens who only played football were about 50% more likely to have abused their partner, according to study, which was conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

[Reuters]

 

 

TIME olympics

4 Diet Secrets of the U.S. Olympics Women’s Hockey Team

From left: U.S. forward Hilary Knight (21) skates ahead of Finland's Emma Nuutinen (96) during the second period in a women's hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Feb. 8, 2014.
Brian Cassella—Zuma Press From left: U.S. forward Hilary Knight (21) skates ahead of Finland's Emma Nuutinen (96) during the second period in a women's hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Feb. 8, 2014.

What’s fueling the American women’s hockey players in their quest for gold?

Canada may hold the hockey title, but on Thursday the U.S. women’s team will put up a serious fight for the gold medal. It will be the fourth time the rival teams have battled it out on Olympic ice. After earning a bronze in 2006, the U.S. suffered a disappointing loss to Canada in 2010 in Vancouver. After that, they got serious about winning Olympic gold–and that included reinventing not just their training, but also what they ate.

“They were working with a lot of products – recovery drinks, and a lot of bars,” says Alicia Kendig, sport dietician for the U.S. Olympic Committee who was assigned to work with the team on the players’ nutrition needs. “I wanted them to start thinking basic, to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. I wanted them to think of their food intake as a way to recover and fuel their activity – and that it didn’t have to come in a bottle or a wrapper.” Given their short burst of play and their indoor training environment, Kendig focused on giving the athletes foods that kept their energy up and protected them from stiffening up on the bench.

VIDEO: Meet Team USA: Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux

Here’s what she added to the players’ diets to get them to the gold medal game:

Beans and Lean Meats

Blood tests showed that about 20% to 30% of the players had low levels of serum ferratin, a stored form of iron. Iron is critical for bringing oxygen to cells and muscles; it produces the hemoglobin in red blood cells that binds to oxygen and ferries it to cells throughout the body. Iron also produces myoglobin, which feeds hard-working muscles with the oxygen they need.

Dropping below recommended levels of iron, which for the average woman range from 15 to 18 mg per day, can lead to fatigue, overall weakness and decreased immune function (which can make you more susceptible to colds and infections).

So Kendig, who prefers to get players to eat their nutrients rather than stock up with supplements, keeps the hockey team’s menus filled with high iron foods such as lentils, spinach, meats, and pumpkin seeds.

MORE: Russian Men’s Hockey Team Crashes Out of Olympics
Fish and Leafy Greens

Like most Americans, the women hockey players had slightly low levels of vitamin D. Because they train indoors, and play a winter sport, about 40% had lower than recommended levels. While the skin can make adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight, the hockey players don’t spend much time outdoors in the winter. So Kendig focuses on adding rich sources of D to their diet, from dark leafy greens like spinach and kale to salmon, cheese, and eggs.

Chocolate Milk

A childhood favorite, it’s also a go-to beverage for elite athletes. Milk contains whey protein, which is a form of protein that the body absorbs quickly, and sugar from the chocolate. “For recovery, you need the combination of protein and sugar,” says Kendig, who has it ready for the players when they come off the ice. “As soon as they see it, they want to drink it.”

Beta Alanine

This amino acid is actually made by the body, but in recent years elite athletes have turned to it as a way to speed up their recovery. Kendig says the American hockey players experimented with the supplement this season, but only about half a dozen continue to take it since many don’t like its taste, and others don’t like the idea of using supplements.

For its fans, beta alanine can keep muscles from getting stiff and sore between bouts of exercise, when lactic acid released by tired muscles starts to build up. Hockey players are especially vulnerable to the effects of lactic acid, since they skate in 45-second to one-minute sessions, then spend several minutes on the bench.

So far, Kendig’s changes seem to be doing the trick; with the U.S. women just one game away from a guaranteed medal, she hopes her message spreads to more elite athletes, not just Olympians. “A lot of athletes train to eat, but they should be eating to train,” she says. “That’s the whole purpose of food.”

TIME behavior

Take That! Athletes’ Victory Stances Are All About Dominance, Not Pride

XVII Bolivarian Games Trujillo 2013 - Judo
LatinContent/Getty Images / LatinContent/Getty Images

Every time an athlete triumphs over another, his first instinct is to do a victory dance.

With the Olympics coming up, athletes will talk a lot about how they hope to do their best, rely on their training, and engage their fellow medal contenders in some intense, but friendly competition.

That’s all bunk. In a study conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University, it turns out that athletes’ first reaction after victory is to strut. Or at least the modern version of it, which includes throwing their hands up in the air, puffing out their chest and pulling their head back, all while wearing an enormous grin of satisfaction on their faces.

Those are contemporary signs of dominance, says the study’s author, David Matsumoto, a professor of psychology at the university who began studying the phenomenon after noticing it during his years as the U.S. Olympic coach for judo. While some have labeled the behavior as signs of pride, Matsumoto believes otherwise. “What I saw everyday in training and in competition had nothing to do with pride,” he says. “It’s all about just having clobbered somebody. It’s a sign or signal given to other members of the community who are watching.”

The more he observed and thought about the reaction, the more Matsumoto became convinced that it was based on a need to express triumph, and dominance – and that it was something instinctive, that athletes weren’t even aware of conscious of doing.

To find out, he and his colleagues decided to study video of Olympic judo medal matches and zeroed in on the athletes’ very first reactions after the match was over. They studied more than 35 athletes from different countries, including congenitally blind competitors in the Paralympics. And in their report published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, they found that victors consistently engaged in any of a number of dominance behaviors, including throwing their hands up, expanding their chests, shouting, making fists, or pumping the air. The losers in the matches never exhibited such reactions, instead keeping their heads down and averting their gaze from those nearby.

From his previous work Matsumoto coded these behaviors as expressing dominance rather than pride (since pride tended to be more reflective) occur at least a few seconds after the victory, and involve more gentle and internally directed behaviors.

“In any competition, once the competition starts, athletes are in the zone. In judo, all their thinking is about winning the match,” he says. “They are not thinking about their country, or how they overcame injuries or about their love for their brother or sister. Once it ends, a few seconds later, that stuff comes into play. But when you look at the first reaction, what you get are triumphant behaviors.”

Animal studies support that theory. Studies show that immediately after antagonistic encounters, the victor struts, enlarges its body and growls or exhibits other aggressive behaviors, likely to signal that he is the dominant figure and worthy of the group’s respect.

Even human studies suggest the same thing. In an earlier study also involving Olympic judo athletes published last year, Matsumoto and his colleagues showed cultural differences in how extensive the displays of dominance were. By correlating the number of dominance behaviors to something called the Power Distance – a standard measure of how hierarchical societies are – they revealed that athletes from countries where social hierarchies were more important tended to engage in more dominance behaviors, while those from countries that were more egalitarian displayed fewer.

Bolstering the idea that such behaviors are instinctive and not learned, Matsumoto also documented the same effect among Paralympic athletes who were born blind, and therefore never had the opportunity to observe the dominance displays. “This is a phenomenon that is occurring in people all around the world, in people who are blind and never saw it happen,” he says. “There is something wired in us to do that at that particular moment.”

Why would such dominance displays remain part of our behavioral armamentarium, emerging even during encounters when lives and food and other life-dependent factors are not at stake? “It raises interesting questions about the history of sports in general,” says Matsumoto. “They are rarified forms of competition, and there is something very basic and primal about sports that lends itself nicely to these reactions and keeps them alive.”

And as sportsmanlike as Olympic competition is today, with athletes from around the world meeting under the principles of fair play and friendly rivalry, you can bet that you’ll see a lot of victory stances come February. The athletes, it turns out, just can’t help themselves.

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