Month: February 2017

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Beta Blockers Used in Sports

Beta-blockers are a class of medications prescribed to block the effects of adrenaline, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. They help the heart work more efficiently, thereby reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tremors and even anxiety. As well, beta-blockers have a relaxing effect on muscle function, gaining the drug class a popular reputation as an illegal, performance-enhancement drug for athletes who benefit from the adrenaline-blocking effects of the medication.
Propranolol is a beta-blocker that interferes with the reaction of nerve impulses inside the body, especially in the heart. As a result, propranolol causes the heart to beat slower, decreases blood pressure and calms the symptoms of anxiety. Some athletes use propranolol specifically for its anxiety-reducing effects, resulting in steadier hands, an even heart rate and the increased ability to focus. As of 2010, propranolol and all other beta-blockers were banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency for all Olympic sports, including archery, gymnastics, shooting and golf.
Metoprolol is commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure and is a popular beta-blocker because of its extended-release formula, which lasts throughout the day. Metoprolol is often prescribed as an off-label treatment for social anxiety disorder, performance anxiety and movement disorders because of its calming effect on the nerves and heart. Like other beta-blockers, common side effects include dry mouth, dizziness, tiredness and gastrointestinal discomfort. Metoprolol can cause serious adverse reactions, such as shortness of breath, unusual weight-gain and irregular heartbeat, which should be reported to your physician immediately.
Atenolol is another beta-blocker used by athletes as a performance-enhancement drug. It works by slowing the heart down and reducing its workload. Atenolol was introduced as a new kind of beta-blocker, created to provide the same heart benefits as other beta-blockers without causing as many nervous system side effects. Atenolol is also more commonly prescribed for patients with liver disease, because it is excreted almost exclusively by the kidneys. Atenolol helps reduce sympathetic nervous system responses, such as sweating, agitation and rapid heartbeat, making the drug a popular choice among athletes who wish to control symptoms of performance anxiety. Atenolol can cause serious adverse effects, including jaundice, dark urine and stomach pain.
Beta-blockers can have dangerous effects when taken without a physician¡¯s advice. Some beta-blockers can cause severe blood sugar changes and heart failure in some people. Symptoms of heart failure include chest pain, difficulty breathing, weight gain and extreme fatigue. Seek immediate medical treatment for any of these symptoms. Beta-blockers can also interfere with the ability to perform strenuous physical activities and can cause symptoms of nausea and weakness when the heart cannot compensate for the body’s demands. This is the reason beta-blockers are not used by athletes involved in strenuous sports, but are instead used by athletes who require steady hands, increased focus and a relaxed state of mind to perform at the utmost level.

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How to Deal With Being Scared of Being Tackled In Football

Youth football is becoming a very popular sport. In 2010, over 250,000 children participated in Pop Warner youth football programs, and that number continues to grow. While many youth players admire the tackles they see college and professional football players make, they are scared of being tackled during their own games. Overcoming the fear of being tackled can be challenging, but it is possible through preparedness and encouragement.
Even the youngest football players are required to wear a helmet and full pads whenever playing tackle football. Spend time teaching your youth player the importance of each piece of equipment. Make sure each piece fits correctly to maximize its benefit. Helping your player to understand the safety equipment will not only keep him safe on the field but will also go a long way in assuring him that he will not be hurt while being tackled.
Tackling in football requires proper form and technique. Teaching youth players how to correctly block and tackle builds confidence on the football field. Help the player to understand that most injuries occur when not using proper technique. Practice technique repeatedly so it becomes second nature to the player.
The key to confidence is practice. Start out by practicing drills at half speed using a tackling dummy to ensure the player knows proper the proper form he should use once the drills go live. Once a strong base is established, start doing light contact drills. Gradually speed up drills to game speed and move to full contact as the player becomes more comfortable and confident. Teaching slowly will allow the player to feel more confident in his skills. More confidence leads to less fear on the field.
Each player should understand his position on the field and the job he needs to get done on every play. Changing the focus from trying to avoid a tackle to completing a task will help the player to move past his fear. Working for a specific goal helps the player to bond with his team and share responsibility for wins and losses.
As parents and coaches, you can help your player become less fearful of tackles with a lot of encouragement and positive reinforcement. Don’t blame players for mistakes or put him down for being hesitant to make big plays. Remind your child why he wanted to play and applaud him for steps in the right direction. With experience, your child will gradually lose his fear and enjoy the game he loves.


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