Feasibility Study for Development of a School Sports Assessment Programme
I now have more information to offer regarding the study I would like to find support for which is aimed at the prevention of injury to young sportspeople. I am not sure if this is the right place to put this, but I am also not sure that the Marketplace would be either, so guidance would be appreciated.
What do I hope to achieve?
I would like to be able to access a funding source that will donate money to support this study. The amount they are seeking is £42,532 and I can give you a funding breakdown via email if you contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are my reasons for doing this?
1) I am not a sportsperson but as a younger person I was always flexible and mobility was never an issue. I have sustained more than one injury that was misdiagnosed and thus untreated and since 1994 my mobility has been adversely affected. This is not a sob story, I ride a motorcycle and go for long walks in the beautiful countryside where we live, but I can't go as far as I could before because of my leg and my back. My age will play a part in that too but my spirit makes up for that these days. Suffice to say that I know what a difference 30 seconds or 30 minutes can have on your life and if there is any way that I can help prevent others from suffering injury and the consequential loss of confidence and quality of life I would definitely be up for that.
2) My youngest son Ben has just qualified as a King Alfred's Talented Sports Person as he plays badminton and table tennis at a high enough level to be so recognised by his local school which is a Sports and Community College. Obviously I am very proud of him as I am of all my children, but in this case I look at a boy I have campaigned for support for because nobody would see what I saw when he was very young. He battled through life-threatening illness, spending 3.5 weeks of his life (starting at 5.5 weeks of age) in an incubator, paralysed and sedated, tested, operated upon and unresponsive, fighting for his life against bronchiolitis and in all the tests all they could discover was that it did not come from the usual source. The cause was never found. He made an eventual full recovery from that but I used to notice things about him and as a mother of 4 I knew these were significant differences. Without going into detail, the upshot is that after two years he was eventually diagnosed with and Autistic Spectrum Disorder known as Semantic Pragmatic Disorder and also showing features of Asperger's Syndrome. This gave him all sorts of challenges being a socio communicative disorder and it was really hard for him to learn to be like other children and they noticed, so he's been picked on all his life and seen rare glimpses of real friendship which he has learnt to love. It also affected his fine motor and gross motor skills, he couldn't pick things up with his hands easily for ages and he had a strange gait and though unstoppable, his run was awkward. He has just turned 13 and has never let any of this stand in his way. We will be funding Ben's participation in the study regardless of the outcome of this appeal. There are lots of other amazing children who have different challenges that they face and beat every day and this could lead to a way to preserving their physiology and thus their spirit and self esteem. There might also be the odd potential career sports person among them and we could save the loss of their career - isn't that something fantastic to be a part of?
So, what do they want to do?
The best thing I can do is quote the information given by Sarah Couchman BSc DO Dip Sp ND who made a presentation about it at the school the other evening when we were being told what to expect now that our children have been recognised in this wonderful way. I must point out that this funding is not for the school, the study is being run completely independently of the school and involves other schools, but let me allow Sarah to tell you more about it.
"Feasibility Study - Sports Injuries in Younger Players
I am asking for your views and advice about a School Sports Assessment Programme (SSAP) I am developing to educate young sports people on how to recover from daily biomechanical challenges, which, according to research, is becoming a growing concern effecting sporting performance as well as school life for many 11-16 year olds.
The programme is aimed at reducing overuse sports injuries to help students realise their full potential in competitive sport. I believe this programme will go much further than deal with structural imbalances prevalent in young people today, it will undoubtedly complement existing youth sports programmes preparing our young sports people for London 2012 and beyond.
I am a qualified and experienced Sports Injury Practitioner and Naturopath and the past 13 years of assessing and treating young people's sports injuries has demonstrated two key determining factors which greatly increase the chances of long term success, these are optimum mineral support through diet, and biomechanical stability. Both these factors have a direct effect on performance.
Physiological changes known as "growth spurts" travel at various speeds along the same track towards the on-coming train of competition, both building pressure until a collision occurs. My goal is to see if we, by strategic planning, can avert this otherwise inevitable crash of repeated injuries occurring with young students, year on year.
As we know, carrying heavy bags on one shoulder all day, poor computer/TV postures, mobile phone use and inadequate diet all have a negative effect on a developing spine.
11-16 year olds do not know if they have balance issues, because they are not biomechanically taught or assessed. They only know when the pain arrives. Most students leave the rehabilitation period none the wiser as to the root cause of their pain, partly due to the focus being on inflammation, and how quickly it can be resolved.
I believe that by developing an interactive biomechanical self-assessment tool that can be used on-line by all students (elite and non-elite), parents, guardians, coaches and other sports professionals, we can do more than simply raise awareness of biomechanical imbalance and the benefits of preventative techniques to address the body's natural instinct for compensation and adaptation. Giving young people the tools for life to self-monitor prior to, as well as during competition.
The effects of proper biomechanical balance could and do make the difference between hitting off-centre and getting the ball in the net. This advice is currently in use, but sadly, only for a privileged few.
Funding is, therefore, required to implement a feasibility study to analyse the importance of biomechanical knowledge and its effects on sports. The aim is to reduce overuse injuries amongst school aged sports students through raised awareness of safe practice by way of specific preventative advice for pupils who would otherwise not realise their full potential in competitive sport. The aims of the feasibility study are:
1. Conduct a feasibility study with the purpose of reducing overuse injuries and improving safe practice in school sports.
2. Identify structural and postural differences in school aged sports children in relation to the demands of their chosen sport and school life, with a view to highlighting specific exercises and advice to counter these.
3. Support amateur sports students through to professional level by acting as a bridge during their developmental years.
4. Encourage long-term sporting achievement by complementing existing youth sports programmes in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games and beyond.
5. Encourage structural and functional self-awareness in relation to sports injuries and overuse problems via the implementation of an on-line School Sports Assessment Programme (SSAP).
6. Offer every student the opportunity to realise their sporting potential by preparing them physically at an early age to be equipped for the professional/amateur world of sport.
7. Invite funding partners to be involved at every stage of the project, from sponsoring materials to assisting in the development and implementation of the project aimed at the end user, the secondary school system.
To date, I have secured interest from 3 schools to take part in the feasibility study and I am in discussion with several others to select 2 more. However, funding the project is proving to be a sticking point.
Up to now the actual planning and preparation of the study has been funded by me, which, unfortunately, is not sustainable. This is where I hope you may be able to assist me through advice and/or funding.
I require funding to continue to develop and execute the feasibility study, as well as to develop the animation programme needed for the end user. I would, therefore, welcome the opportunity to meet with you to talk in more detail about the proposed School Sports Assessment Programme.
Thank you for your time and consideration of the above.
Sarah Couchman BSc DO Dip Sp ND"
That's quite a lot of information and I really do appreciate that you have got this far. I do not really want to add to the detail in this blog unless you would like me to do so and I will respond to all comments as soon as I get sight of them. If you want more specific information send me an email and I will send you what I have received tonight from Sarah which includes, the Rationale and Benefits, a further note that includes a brief case study, a summary proposal and the breakdown of the required funding. You also have Sarah's email address if you would prefer to contact her directly. I would love to hear that this study has received support and I would love to think I had something to do with gaining it, but this is not about me. The most important thing here is that this amazing woman is using her expertise, her courage, her determination and her own capital to invest in the future of lots of our children and she needs our help to finish an incredibly worthwhile task. It being the season of good will, I am sure you would make Sarah's Christmas if you could give real support to her vision and it sounds to me as if the benefit of this study could far outweigh the cost - what do you think? Is there anyone you can think of that I can't reach on Ecademy who might also be able to help?
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