The cricket curse facing private schoolboys

You can’t imagine a 16-year-old Michael Clarke having to miss a net session to rehearse for The Mikado, or make sure he did his euphonium practice. Clarke went to a sports high school and his parents ran an indoor cricket centre. He had the time, the inclination and the facilities to hit balls for hours on end.

via The cricket curse facing private schoolboys – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Interesting statistics on the number of state versus private school kiddies to play test cricket for Australia (and interestingly, the stats are quite different in Pommy-land).

Greg Chappell underscores the importance of playing against adults at a young age. There are comments regarding the shorter seasons in private school comps, the weaker level of competition, and the very good facilities (ie the pampering).

My own take on sport at private schools is that by ensuring that all sport is school-related, there is not only the problems outlined here at an elite level, but when students leave school, they are not connected to local sporting clubs and so sport finishes when school does. This is exacerbated by the lack of clubs and societies support at universities and the lack of active campus culture and available playing fields at places like Swinburne.

Grand Master Choi, President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, visits the lab

Grand Master ChoiYesterday, we were honoured by an informal visit from Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa, Grand Master Han, Master Michael Muleta and Mr Spiridon Cariotis to our new lab to talk about our martial arts research program. So far, we have published a paper on the impact of marketing a martial art as a sport, and we have considered the curriculum of taekwon-do in terms of its structured development of 4D spatiotemporal awareness (3 dimensions of space, plus a fourth dimension of time) and its role in the development of expert skilled performance. We discussed the potential of using our Qualisys motion capture system to capture kinematic information for use in research and in training.

ChoiVisit2sm While one primary focus of interest is with respect to the force and velocity generated by different techniques and different ways of moving, we also discussed research on decision-making and “reading the play” in sparring and self-defence scenarios, including in terms of judging and refereeing tournaments, and in the context of evaluating threats and interpreting aggressive intent.

Players pay a lifelong price: study

The study, titled Life after the game – Injury profile of past elite Australian Football players, was carried out by five academics and also showed that 73 per cent of the players surveyed suffered a concussion at least once during their career.

The study reported a high incidence of multiple concussions.The abstract of the study referred to research into ex-players mental and physical health – including disease prevalence – education, employment, lifestyle behaviours, and their ongoing relationship with the game. It suggested that further investigation could improve the quality of life of retired footballers.

via Players pay a lifelong price: study.

While this seems to provide compelling data about the effects of football, what I suspect it doesn’t do is provide a contrast with other professions – for example, what are the long term effects on the health of athletes competing in gymnastics, diving, soccer (where heading the ball is part of the game). Even more importantly, what are the long term effects on the health of people working in the mining industry, or the building industry, or in the military (e.g., fighter pilots/SAS), or paramedics … ?

So yes, AFL football is dangerous – but seriously, David Parkin, is it more a “more difficult game” than ice-hockey, (Irish) hurling, downhill skiing, motocross? And do the players have a choice in how they play the game or what game they play? I think so.