Use double quotes to find documents that include the exact phrase: "aerodynamic AND testing"
Use double quotes to find documents that include the exact phrase: "aerodynamic AND testing"
Safety huddles bring together both teams before the start of a game for coaches to discuss the importance of speaking up if a concussion is suspected. A study with youth soccer teams found that safety huddles increased the likelihood of athletes reporting concussion symptoms. This may be a promising low-resource option to improve concussion safety for sport organizations.
Training outdoors when air pollution is high is risky for athletes. SIRC and Health Canada have partnered to create resources, including an eLearning module, to teach participants and coaches about best practices when it comes to air quality and outdoor training.
The Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP) is a cross-sector network of partners working together to enhance community participation among Canadians with disabilities. Since 2014, the CDPP sport and exercise team has created over 100 resources, including the “Blueprint for Building Quality Participation in Sport for Children, Youth and Adults with a Disability,” and the “Blueprint for Building Quality Participation in Sport for Children and Youth with Intellectual Disabilities.”
Parents play an important role in creating positive sports experiences for their children. Through interviews with athletes, researchers have learnt what behaviours children look for from their parents at competitions. Preferred behaviours included having parents show respect to others in sport, focus on their child’s effort rather than outcomes, and provide positive yet realistic post-competition feedback.
The pelvic floor is an essential group of muscles that help to maintain control of the bladder and bowels, support internal organs, and coordinate with the deep core, back and diaphragm. These muscles frequently require rehabilitation after the strain of pregnancy and birth. Pelvic floor physiotherapists are an important part of a postnatal care team that can help postpartum individuals navigate a return to activity
There are several evidence-informed approaches to sport delivery that researchers and sport organizations encourage, and that you can engage with, to promote positive experiences and combat harmful cultures in sport and society
Quality sport, values-based sport and safe sport are 3 approaches to sport program delivery that are gaining traction and popularity at all levels of sport
Although they have their differences, each approach recognizes sport as a context where communities and sport participants can gain valuable benefits like promoting morals and principles, healthy development, and fulfilling basic human needs
In this article, SIRC takes a deep dive into each of these approaches: how researchers and organizations are using them, what the evidence says about them, and tools to help you leverage them
These are just a few of the many terms used within the sport sector to discuss the different ways in which sport delivery, programs, and culture are approached. Whether you are new to working in sport or an experienced staff member, participant, or even sport parent, it’s not uncommon to hear these terms used and feel a sense of confusion. What do they mean? Why are they important? And most importantly, how can you implement them?
In this article, we explore 3 approaches to sport program delivery that sport researchers and practitioners alike recommend for their potential to optimize the sport experience: Quality sport, values-based sport and safe sport. We define these approaches, what the evidence says about them, and map out how they are similar or different from one another other.
Within academic literature, a quality approach to sport participation means ensuring participants view their experiences as enjoyable and satisfying based on their own preferences and values (Evans et coll., 2018). More specifically, researchers define quality participation in sport as repeated exposure to positive experiences, programming, or environments that promote long-term athlete development and participation (Côté et coll., 2014, Yohalem & Wilson-Ahlstrom, 2010).
There is evidence to suggest when an individual’s needs are satisfied and participants are enjoying their sport experiences, they are considerably more likely to continue to participate in sport (Caron et coll., 2019; Ryan & Deci, 2017). With repeated exposure to positive experiences, they will also be more likely to reap the physical, social, and mental benefits of sport participation (Caron et coll., 2019; Martin Ginis et coll., 2017). This means that prioritizing the quality of programming is important for long-term participation and healthy development.
It is important to acknowledge that organizations apply these definitions in their own way or use slightly different language to express their specific quality sport goals. For instance, Sport for Life uses “quality sport” and promotes the Long-Term Development in Sport and Physical Activity (LTD) framework as a guide for achieving positive experiences in sport and physical activity for individuals over the lifespan. According to Sport for Life, quality sport “is developmentally appropriate, safe and inclusive, and well run.” In other words, quality sport is “good programs, led by good people, in good places.”
On the other hand, the Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP) promotes “quality participation” in sport and physical activity for people with disabilities. According to the CDPP, “quality participation is achieved when athletes with a disability view their involvement in sport as satisfying and enjoyable, and experience outcomes that they consider important.” To achieve quality participation, participants need repeated and sustained exposure to “quality experiences” over time. Six elements contribute to a quality experience (Martin Ginis et coll., 2017):
Belongingness (sense of belonging and acceptance from a group)
Engagement (motivated and focused on activities)
Achievement (experiencing sense of accomplishment)
Challenge (feeling appropriately challenged in activities)
Choice (having independence and input)
Personal and social meaning (contributing toward meaningful goal)
To support these elements, appropriate conditions in the physical (for example, accessible facilities, access to equipment), social (for example, coach or instructor knowledge, friendships, family support), and program (for example, program size, funding support) environments need to be in place (Evans et coll., 2018). While the CDPP’s framework was developed for people with disabilities, it can be applied to sport participants in all contexts.
A variety of practicaltools and resources have been created to guide sport organizations and program leaders in fosteringquality sport programs. For example, Sport for Life creating a Quality Sport Checklistand a Quality Sport Guideforcommunities and clubs. Alternatively, the CDPP created the Blueprint for Building Quality Participation in Sportas a tool to help sport programmersfosterqualityexperiences for children, youth and adultswithdisabilities, which leads to quality participation over time. The Blueprint has alsobeen tailored for children and youthwithintellectual disabilitiesandAutism Spectrum Disorder. Ultimately, creating quality sport experiences involves understanding your programs and athletes’ unique needs to help identify what values and program components you should focus on and prioritize.
The aim of sport delivery that is values-based is to create an environment that encourages values like (but not exclusive to) good character, physical literacy, community and belonging. Another goal of values-based sport is to create good citizens and well-rounded individuals through sport. However, this approach to sport delivery is more explicit in its use of values and morals to achieve its goal when compared to the other approaches described in this article.
Of particular note, the CCES is an independent, national, not-for-profit organization committed to making sport better. The CCES does so by working collaboratively to activate a values-based sport system, protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats, and advocating for sport that’s fair, safe and open to everyone. True Sport is an initiative of the CCES designed to give people, communities and organizations the means to leverage the benefits of good sport from a platform of shared values and principles. As a values-based sport network leader, the CCES believes that activating the True Sport Principles, on and off the field of play, will contribute to a positive shift in Canadian sport culture.
Values-based approaches operate on the belief that sport has many physical, social and mental benefits but these benefits are not guaranteed by simply participating in sport (Bean et coll., 2018). The 2022 True Sport Report, commissioned by the CCES, recommends that in order for sport to be “good sport,” values and principles need to be put into action (for example, incorporated into policy, practice, and programs) and work together at all times. Informed by recent research, the report suggests that when this occurs, participants and communities alike will benefit.
Despite being advocated for and implemented in organizations for many years, values-based approaches have not yet been investigated extensively in the academic literature. Nevertheless, the goal remains similar to previous approaches discussed—that is, meeting the basic human and developmental needs of participants.
While researchers are still investigating whether the explicit teaching of values is necessary for participants to acquire them (as opposed to them being obtained organically from “good sport”), the morals and principles promoted through values-based sport are universally positive (Bean et coll., 2018).
The key characteristic of values-based approaches to sport programming is that they are intentional and clear with the values and purpose of the activities participants are taking part in. According to Jones and McLenaghen, a good starting point for an organization or club looking to take this approach is to develop a “values-based agreement.” In other words, come together and agree upon your organization’s values and principles and promote them throughout your programming. Part of the CCES values-based education programming also includes a values-based agreement as an essential step in guiding and clarifying your community’s purpose for athletes, coaches and leaders, and meeting the goal of fostering values through your programming.
The CCES provides additional suggestions for those wanting to make a positive difference in their sport and community:
Know and evaluate your own values and principles
Purposefully align your decisions and actions with core values and principles
Make decisions consistent with your personal values and principles, and build accountability to yourself and others
Be a model of prosocial values and principles, and promote the inclusion of all sport participants
The safe sport movement aims to optimize the sport experience for everyone in sport, including but not limited to administrators, officials, and support staff. To optimize the experience, stakeholders should have the reasonable expectation that the sport environment will not only be free from all forms of maltreatment (for example, abuse, neglect, bullying, harassment, and discrimination), but that it will also:
be accessible, safe, welcoming, and inclusive
will contribute to wellbeing
be enjoyable and respectful of personal goals, and
provide a sense of achievement.
Safe sport extends beyond the prevention of physical, psychological and social harm to include the promotion of participant rights (Gurgis & Kerr, 2021). According to Gretchen Kerr, an academic expert and a leader in the safe sport movement, the safe sport movement does not intend to abandon athletic results altogether, but rather places emphasis on healthy, safe, and inclusive methods for achieving performance results.
As testimonies continue to surface of discrimination, harassment, abuse, and other forms of maltreatment in sport, the body of literature focused on safe sport and safeguarding in sport has grown substantially. In particular, recent studies have demonstrated how unsafe sport environments and maltreatment are contributing to participants’ mental health concerns and withdrawal from sport (Battaglia et coll., 2022).
For example, in a recent SIRCuit article, a team of researchers (Eric MacIntosh, Alison Doherty and Shannon Kerr) described the findings of a study exploring athletes’ perceptions of safe and unsafe environments in high performance sport. The researchers identified coach and teammate behaviour (like aggression, exclusion, and overstepping boundaries), as well as a lack of resources and inattentive sport system (meaning, lack of accountability, attention, and/or action) as primary contributors to unsafe sporting environments. In contrast, athletes shared that they felt safest when they had a knowledgeable coach, athlete interests were prioritized, regulations were followed, they had access to ancillary support (like, physiotherapy and counselling), and when there was a sense of community among athletes and coaches.
According to experts, adopting a values-based framework where inclusion, safety, fairness, and accessibility are promoted alongside strategies to prevent harm and abuse appears critical to optimizing the experiences of sport participants (Gurgis, 2021). With safe sport in mind, Donnelly and Kerr (2018) recommend that sport organizations engage in the following strategies:
Ensure everyone in your community is aware that prevention of harassment and abuse is everyone’s responsibility
Communicate clear and consistent policies and procedures
Introduce and enforce the legal and moral duty to report for all sport organizations
Make third party investigation and adjudication mandatory
Establish pools of trained Sport Welfare, Investigating and Hearings Officers to implement the policies
Shift the focus to prevention of harassment and abuse
The Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS) was developed in 2019 by the CCES with SIRC and in collaboration with national and multi-sport organizations, athletes, coaches, researchers and experts in the areas of child protection and safety in sport. The UCCMS 6.0 underwent a recent update by the SDRCC and is a vital tool for communities and organizations when it comes to implementing safe sport practices. The latest version includes prevention strategies for all levels of Canadian sport organizations and guidelines on how to address maltreatment if it occurs.
UCCMS violations are investigated and sanctioned by the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC). The OSIC is the central hub within Abuse-Free Sport, Canada’s independent system for preventing and addressing maltreatment in sport. The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) launched the Abuse-Free Sport program in 2022 after extensive research and a national consultation with more than 75 different organizations. The government of Canada selected the SDRCC to develop and deliver this new safe sport mechanism at the national level in 2021.
Abuse-Free Sport provides access to a wide range of resources, all of it available in English and French, including:
You can visit SIRC’s safe sport web hub for more safe sport resources, including policy documents and relevant research. For safe sport education and training, the Coaching Association of Canada offers Safe Sport Training, a free online training module. The Respect Group also offers Respect in Sport Training targeted at coaches and program leaders, as well as parents.
There are several evidence-informed approaches to sport delivery that researchers and sport organizations encourage, and that you can engage with, to promote positive experiences and combat harmful cultures in sport and society. Quality sport, values-based sport and safe sport are 3 common approaches promoted by sport researchers and practitioners to optimizes experiences and outcomes for sport participants.Although they have their differences, each of these approaches recognizes sport as a context for communities and participants to gain valuable benefits. These approaches promote morals and principles that aim to fulfill basic human needs like belonging, safety, and confidence, which encourage healthy development and overall wellbeing for all sport participants. At the end of the day, the goal of each approach is to encourage positive sport experiences that build thriving people and communities.
In 2022, Health Canada and the Sport Information Resource Centre partnered to create educational resources to raise awareness about air quality and the safety of outdoor sport participation
Air pollution can impact the health of all Canadians, but some groups, including people engaged in outdoor sport and exercise, are at an increased risk
Monitoring air quality can help sport leaders determine if outdoor activity is safe or if it needs to be cancelled or rescheduled
One tool that allows us to easily monitor air quality is the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI)
Most of us have been in a situation where we have arrived at an outdoor sporting event only to find that the game has been cancelled or rescheduled due to lightning. But have you ever had the same thing happen because of air pollution? While there is a broad understanding of how to protect sport participants from environmental events like lightning, few people know what to do when the air quality is poor.
To fill this gap, the Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) and Health Canada partnered to create and share air quality resources, including an e-learning module, infographics and a policy guide, for outdoor sport stakeholders. In this SIRCuit article, we describe the partnership between SIRC and Health Canada, highlight key information about air pollution and the safety of outdoor sport participation, and outline strategies that sport stakeholders can implement to help protect sport participants from the harmful effects of air pollution.
Throughout the article, we have linked to resources to help you spread awareness and take action in your sport. Together we can clear the air around air quality and the safety of outdoor sport participation!
In 2022, Health Canada engaged SIRC to support its initiatives focused on air quality and outdoor sport safety. Health Canada provided SIRC with financial and scientific support for the creation of educational resources and tools for sport organizations, including:
A free eLearning module, developed in conjunction with the Coaching Association of Canada, designed to help coaches, sport officials and sport leaders recognize the impact of poor air quality, and use the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI)
A policy template and guiding document designed to provide sport organizations with the information and tools needed to take proactive measures to prevent and limit outdoor sport participants’ exposure to air pollution
Health Canada and SIRC launched the eLearning module and supporting resources at the Ontario Soccer Summit in Ottawa, Ontario, on February 25, 2023. We will continue to share the resources developed through this partnership via an education and awareness campaign targeting organizations at all levels of sport.
The basics of air pollution
Air pollution is a mixture of chemical, physical and biological agents that contaminate indoor and outdoor environments (WHO, 2022). There are many different types of air pollutants. Some of the most harmful air pollutants to human health include:
Ground-level ozone: a colourless and highly irritating gas
Ground-level Ozone has been linked with the aggravation of respiratory illnesses, increased hospital visits and premature death (GoC, 2022b)
Nitrogen dioxide: a gas that is emitted from many sources including gas stoves, fireplaces, and cars (GoC, 2021a)
Nitrogen Dioxide can affect respiratory health, causing airway inflammation, reduced lung function and asthma aggravation (GoC, 2021a)
Particulate matter: airborne particles, such as dust and liquid droplets (Anderson et coll., 2012)
Particulate Matter can have many short and long-term health effects, including an increased risk of cancer and heart disease (Anderson et coll., 2012)
Air pollutants can come from many sources. In Canada, the highest emissions of air pollutants have been linked to electricity generation, construction, oil and gas industries, forest fires, transportation, agriculture and wood burning (GoC, 2022a). Environmental events can also contribute to poor air quality. Examples of environmental events that can contribute to air pollution include:
Wildfires: an uncontrolled fire that burns in wildland vegetation, which are common in Western Canada between the months of April to October.
Wildfires can negatively impact air quality because their smoke contains air pollutants such as particulate matter (Black et coll., 2017)
Wildfire smoke can disperse over great distances, so even if sport participants are kilometres away from a wildfire, they may be affected by the smoke (Black et coll., 2017)
The health effects from wildfire smoke can include a range of symptoms, including headaches and scratchy throats (Black et coll., 2017; GoC, 2021b)
Smog: a mixture of air pollutants that we often see as haze
Smog is made up of a mixture of gases and particles, including Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulate Matter (GoC, 2014)
High smog levels are often associated with warmer summer months, but smog can occur year-round (GoC, 2014)
For example, in the winter, smog can occur from increased wood burning and vehicle emissions (GoC, 2014)
Exposure to smog has been associated with increased hospital and doctor visits as well as premature deaths (GoC, 2014)
Temperature inversions: occur when a layer of cold air gets trapped below warm air, which is common in areas with low elevation, like in valleys (EEA, 2020)
The warm air acts as a lid, keeping the cold air and pollutants close to the ground resulting in high concentrations of air pollutants at ground level (EEA, 2020)
The effects of air pollution on human health
Exposure to air pollution can lead to a range of short and long-term health effects. While short-term exposure to air pollutants has been linked to symptoms such as dizziness and headaches, long-term exposure has been associated with an increased risk of illnesses such as lung cancer and asthma (HC, 2021). In fact, in Canada, it is estimated that air pollution contributes to 2.7 million asthma symptom days and 15,300 premature deaths each year (HC, 2021).
It is important to note that while the long-term health effects of air pollution can take years to develop, the short-term health effects can occur within minutes of exercising in an environment where the air quality is very poor. This highlights the importance of monitoring air quality when planning or engaging in physical activity.
You may be wondering: who is at risk of experiencing the adverse effects of air pollution? The answer is that everyone is at risk. However, some groups, including, children, older adults and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions are at an increased risk. Although you might not suspect it, people engaging in sports and exercise are at increased risk too.
The effects of air pollution on outdoor sport participants
Why are athletes at an increased risk? When a person engages in physical activity outdoors, they require more oxygen (Carlisle et Sharp, 2001; Giles et Koehle, 2014). The harder they exercise, the more oxygen their body needs. To meet this increased need, a person must breathe more deeply and more frequently (Carlisle et Sharp, 2001; Giles et Koehle, 2014; EPA, 2011). If the air quality is poor, this increased air intake during exercise means that a person will also breathe in more air pollutants.
Another reason why outdoor sport participants are at increased risk is because when a person exercises heavily, they breathe more through their mouth than their nose (Carlisle et Sharp, 2001; Giles et Koehle, 2014). This means that that less air is filtered through the body’s natural filtration system in the nose, which means more air pollutants have the potential to enter the body (Bateson et Schwartz, 2007).
To summarize, athletes shift their breathing pattern and style during exercise to inhale greater amounts of air. If they are in an area with high air pollution levels, for example, near a busy roadway, they inhale more air pollutants, putting them at an increased risk of health complications.
Poor air quality can also affect athletic performance. When athletes exercise in areas with high air pollution levels, they tend to have a higher perceived exertion (Sandford et coll., 2020). More simply, exercising when the air quality is poor can make outdoor sport participants feel like they are working harder to do the same task. This can mean that athletes can’t perform at the same level as they do when the air quality is good. As you can imagine, this can have considerable implications in outdoor sporting events requiring endurance, like soccer, or timed events, like those in track and field.
The Air Quality Health Index
At this point, you may be wondering what you can do to help protect sport participants from air pollution. The answer is that you can monitor local air quality and make informed decisions about the safety of outdoor sport participation. To do that, you can use the (AQHI).
The AQHI was created to help individuals understand and make decisions about the safety of the air around them. The AQHI presents the relative health risk associated with the combined health effects of air pollutants, including Nitrogen Dioxide, Ground-level Ozone and Particulate Matter. The AQHI is presented on a scale of 1 to 10+, which is further broken down into four health risk categories ranging from low risk (1 to 3) to very high risk (10+).
The AQHI shows observed and forecasted values, so you can use it to measure air quality before and during your event. The AQHI values are accompanied by health messages. These messages can be used to support your decisions around the safety of outdoor sport participation. When reading the health messages, it is essential to remember that outdoor sport participants are considered a high-risk population. As such, more conservative approaches should be taken to ensure their safety.
Below are some general guidelines on how the AQHI can be used for planning outdoor activity. As a coach, sport official or leader it is up to you to assess the needs of your participants as well as your environmental conditions to determine if outdoor sport participation is safe.
When the health risk is low (AQHI 1 to 3), it is the optimum time to schedule and participate in outdoor sport and physical activities
When the health risk is moderate (AQHI 4 to 6), outdoor activities may still be held
However, particular attention should be given to participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma
When the health risk is high (AQHI 7 or above), outdoor events should be cancelled, re-scheduled, or moved to an indoor location whenever possible
We hope that this article helps get you thinking about air quality and the safety of outdoor sport participation. We encourage you to use this information to start discussions within your organization or teams about the importance of considering air quality when planning and participating in outdoor sports. Remember that when air quality is poor, it is essential to modify outdoor activities to protect the health of outdoor sport and physical activity participants, as poor air quality can impact health.
An important next step for sport organizations is to develop air quality policies that support safe outdoor sport participation. The policies should provide guidance on appropriate actions to take during poor air quality events and establish education and training expectations on AQHI for coaches and sport officials. If you have any questions or need any supports as you begin this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SIRC team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources to explore for further learning
Below are some resources that you may find helpful as you work to learn more about air pollution and what your organization can do to help keep your participants safe:
Practitioners interested in offering inclusive sport environments could consider reverse integration, a new approach that integrates mainstream participants into Para sport. When implemented in a wheelchair basketball league, researchers found health and social benefits for all participants including a deeper understanding and awareness of (dis)ability and roles within the team.
Tomorrow is Earth Day and the sport sector has a role in protecting our environment and embracing sustainability. The Canadian Olympic Committee has compiled a list of “Team Canada Climate Action Resources” that showcases how Team Canada is doing its part to protect the planet.
This week is National Volunteer Week. Volunteers play a important role in the day-to-day operations for many community and non-profit organizations. Research shows that over 25% of Canadian adults volunteer in a sport-related capacity. Volunteers aid in the delivery systems for sport, recreation and physical activity programming at all levels. The contribution of volunteers helps to ensure that sport programming is more accessible and affordable.