Monthly Archives: March 2014

78 Days

Brazil – A beautiful country. Home to the beautiful game, not just this year, but all the time. But the beauty of the festival this year could be lost, or at least hidden, from because of outside forces causing problems in Brazil.  Lots of things go into making a trip successful, or just having an enjoyable city to live in.  Think about it?  You want roads that are easy to travel, both easy to access and smooth to drive on.  You want buildings that you feel comfortable walking into.   You want to be able to maneuver through streets or buildings easily to get to work or to lunch, not having to wiggle and squirm between hundreds of people to get to each place.  Brazil seems to be struggling to fulfill every one of these categories right now.

Photo taken in November, before the crane collapse

Maybe you have heard the mess that describes the stadium situation in Brazil.  We are three months away from the day Brazil kicks off against Croatia and there is exactly three stadiums that are ready for play right now.  The rush is on to get the other 9 stadiums up and operative in the next three months.  But you hope it is done carefully and securely, so you can feel safe walking in there.  The stadium in Sau Paulo, the one set to host the first game of the tournament, suffered a major setback when a crane fell and damaged the stadium, also killing three workers back in November.

Other reports from finished stadiums have complaints, as well.  People complained about leaky bathrooms or long concession lines because of lack of concession stands.  One other claimed he bought seats that weren’t installed in the stadium.

The other problem is the workers; many of whom have gone on strike at some point in this process, and could go on strike again at any minute.  If that is the case, the project comes to an immediate halt and could possibly not resume again in time to finish the stadium in jeopardy.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has blasted Brazil, more than once, for not being prepared for the upcoming World Cup.  “For having so much time to prepare (7 years), no country has been so far behind in its preparations since I have been with FIFA,” Blatter said to a Swiss newspaper, 24 Heures.

All the stadiums are coming together, and I think they will finish on time, but there will be some long days here in the next few months. And all the stadiums are coming in over budget, which doesn’t please many people in Brazil.  The estimated cost for all 12 stadiums in 2010 was around 2.2 billion dollars.  Now the total is tallying more than $3.8 billion.  For a country in turmoil, those numbers are not fun to look at.

 

99 Days: World Cup 2014

We’ve made it! Down to the double digit day countdown.  99 days until the first kick in Sao Paulo, Brazil come June 12.

With this shortened countdown, I will be blogging (hopefully every week or so) about the important things coming into the 2014 World Cup.  I’ll share what I think about each draw over the next 99 days.  The ball will be discussed, it’s basically a celebrity in itself.  My favorite story lines will be the country itself, Brazil seems split with how much it wants the World Cup.  Now, there is no denying that they want to host, and no country deserves to host this spectacle more than Brazil, but the riots that happened last year fussing about where the money was going from the World Cup, and how more money was being pumped into new stadiums, but not to the promised new roads, or schools, or other important needs in Brazil.  And the stadiums! That will be a fun topic when that day comes, as about half the stadiums are behind schedule for completion.

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Nike unveiled new all-white uniforms for the men’s and women’s national teams for the 2014-15 year.

I look forward to researching more and more from across the globe and I’m excited already about the World Cup and we have 99 days to go before that ball gets rolling.  Like typical American fashion, I’ll start by staying focused on the United States and looking at the American…fashion.   Yesterday, Nike unveiled the new United States uniforms for the next year for both the men’s and women’s national teams.  It is a big change from the old home uniforms, which had our players dressed like candy canes in 2012/2013.  Then last year, the team switched to a retro look that was similar to the first jerseys worn by the U.S., in homage of the 100 year anniversary of U.S. Soccer.

It seems like the team, and Nike, went even further back in time with this year’s choice.  These are just as appealing to the eye, if not more.  I love the same color scheme from top to bottom.  The two-button neck and the collar are a different story.  This was big in 1998, and on it’s way out in 2002 for good reason.  Nike messed up with this portion, a collar just does not seem right on a slim-cut dri-fit jersey, flapping around in the wind on the necks of Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, and Jozy Altidore.

All-in-all, this has been the most pleased I have been with a new unveiling as close to the day it was released.  The pageant-crowned sash jerseys won me over about two months later.  The candy canes got me about six months later.  The centennial jerseys, I liked because they were not red and white striped.  These jerseys are clean.  Up and down, across the board, the team looks good to the naked eye, before narrowing the lense.  It’s bold but not flashy.  I think the jersey represents the team: they’re coming in with a clean slate, not making any major statements before hand, as they are underdogs in their group, at least in the eyes of most analysts.

KU’s new Concussion Testing Software

KU Leads way in Concussion Technology

He got up off the turf, dazed and confused, and headed back to the huddle for the next play.  Daymond Patterson, a former wide receiver at the University of Kansas, played the rest of the drive and the rest of the quarter until halftime, before the team took his helmet because of his concussion.

This was October 2012, when the head injury chaos had just started to overwhelm the game of football, and the scientists studying the impact of these harmful hits.

However, the confusion over all the concussion fuss is taking a major step forward.  The University of Kansas is now using technology that will better help doctors determine if student-athletes do have concussions.

“I got undercut on a pass and came down, smashing the back of my head against the turf,” Patterson said, explaining the hit against Kansas State on a frigid day in Manhattan’s Bill Snyder Stadium.  “I got up pretty quickly and felt pretty good.  It took a while for me to feel any side effects.”

The technology, which stems from research done for Parkinson’s Disease, will condense all the required information into a simple app on the iPad2 to help doctors quickly identify what is wrong.

The new software, termed C3 Logix, holds all the information in one spot.  Now, doctors don’t need to sort through files to find an athlete’s balance test scores or their reactionary test scores.

The iPad2, with the new C3 Logix testing, stores the concussion baseline testing information making it easy to recall where the player tested originally compared to after a hit to the head.

baseline concussion test.

“The iPad and the software does help to keep everything closeby and easy to access,” said Murphy Grant, the head athletic trainer for the KU football team.  “It makes our life fairly easy and keeps all the information in a safe and secure spot.  It’s a lot better than the folders of paperwork I would have to have on hand for every single player.”

With the scores being available on tablets that are easily transported, a concussion test can now more easily be performed on the sidelines to tell how severely a player is impacted.

It’s reported that 300,000 head injuries happen in one year in the United States.  Having new technology like this will help better diagnose the symptoms and more quickly get an athlete back on the playing field.

The baseline tests that will be stored on the new software are now being performed on kids starting at age 10.  They range from $5 to $50 each.  In Kansas, ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is used for testing and usually cost $10.

“The volleyball team, and the entire athletic department, uses ImPACT for our athletes,” said Aimee Miyazawa, head athletic trainer for the KU women’s volleyball team.  “In my eyes that is the most basic, but in-depth baseline test I’ve seen for pre-concussion testing.  I can now use that test very smoothly to better detect our athlete’s injuries.”

The volleyball team has not yet worked with C3 Logix, but Miyazawa said she would be interested in incorporating it.

So far, only the football and women’s soccer programs have worked with the new technology on its athletes.

“I can see this becoming very popular and possibly being used across the athletic department at this time next year,” Grant said.  “I think it is awesome and I don’t really want to go back to anything else.”

While there is still uncertainty at times whether someone has a head injury, but this new technology will help a trained medical staff make better determinations on the student-athletes.

Both Grant and Miyazawa said that a player could tank on the baseline testing to give themselves a better chance to play later with some concussion symptoms but neither thought that was an issue with KU players.

“I never thought I was playing with a concussion or was avoiding the training staff,” Patterson said.  “I felt fine to play when it happened except for the little pain that comes from regular football plays.  It wasn’t until I sat down at halftime and the hype wore off, but the headache set in.”

Grant is unable to comment on specific players or incidents, but he did acknowledge that there are some players that think they can play through injuries.

“I regularly see the athlete that wants to work through pain and keep pushing, especially in football, it’s what is instilled in these young athletes,” he said.  “But it’s usually those minor concussions, which guys don’t acknowledge right away, that turn into the long-lasting concussions.  We hope, with this technology, that we can better test the athlete, and do it quicker, so that we can pinpoint the magnitude of the head injury, and prevent the long-term injury.”