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Purpose The present study aimed to investigate dual-career issues of Italian student-athletes according to gender, age, type of sport, competition level, university path, and year of attendance variables to highlight their main problems and solutions. Methods An ad hoc 24-item questionnaire was administered to 711 academic Italian student-athletes (Mean age = 23; SD = 4 years). A multivariate analysis was applied for data related to the first 21 (section A), whereas answers from the last 3 items (section B) were only described. Results For section A items, two factors (factor 2: items 5, 7, 8, 14; Cronbach alpha = 0.728; factor 5: items 10, 11; Cronbach alpha = 0.78) related to sport participation and education for future job emerged. For both factors, effects emerged between “year of attendance” subcategories (i.e., lower values for “out of course” subgroup), whereas only for factor 5, differences emerged in terms of age (i.e., higher values for younger than older subgroup). For section B, most student-athletes declared to wish schedules of lessons and exams (e.g., higher number of sessions; oral online interrogations) for better combining sport and academic requirements. Conclusion The present study represents a further step to better understand the Italian student-athletes’ daily and weekly limitations and wished solutions related to the combination of sport and academic tasks. Institutional bodies should consider the present findings in case of future policies in supporting dual career.
The Daily Mile™ is an innovative school-based intervention that requires children to run or jog outside for 15 min at a self-selected pace during class time. Today, only one study has investigated the efficacy of The Daily Mile on physical fitness, which was conducted with Scottish children. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of The Daily Mile in Italian primary schools. A total of 486 children participated in The Daily Mile for 3 months (experimental group), whereas 309 children continued their daily school routine (control group). The 6-min run test, standing long jump, body mass index, and waist-to-height ratio were assessed. Their teachers completed surveys for assessing the intervention acceptability. After correction for age and gender, significant group × time interactions were observed in the 6-min run test and standing long jump results. In the post-test period, the experimental group showed improvement in the 6-min run test and standing long jump results. Overall, the teachers were satisfied with the program and found it suitable for their school context and easy to implement. The Daily Mile was successfully implemented and smoothly accepted in the day routine of Italian primary schools.
The relative age effect (RAE) is a common phenomenon observed in youth sports and is characterized by a significant over-representation of athletes born close to the date of selection. However, there is a lack of research on RAE in world-class track and field athletes and it is not clear if this effect persists into adulthood. Thus, this study examined for the first time the prevalence and magnitude of RAE at world class level in all track and field disciplines. Birthdates of 39,590 athletes (51.6% females) ranked in the International Association of Athletics Federations top 100 official lists between 2007 and 2018 season of Under 18, Under 20, and Senior categories were collected. Under 18 and Under 20 athletes born in the first week of the year are about 2 to 3.5 times more likely to be included in the top-100 ranking than the athletes born in the last week of the year. RAE was overall larger in male compared to female athletes. In some disciplines (e.g., throwing events) RAE persists in Senior category. These findings suggest that in some disciplines relatively younger athletes may have less chances of reaching world-class performances even in the adulthood. Governing bodies should reflect upon their policies for athlete support and selection to minimize the RAE.
About Alberto Rainoldi
- Graduated in Physics (1991) and PhD in PMR (2002). Professor of Physiology at the School of Exercise and Sport Science. Since 2007 he leads the Motor Science Research Center of that School focused on mechanical fatigue during long lasting exercise; myoelectric fatigue during ischemic and/or intermittent exercises; non-invasive methods to assess muscular phenotypes; baropodometry and posture/balance assessment; motion capture based on marker-markerless devices and on inertial sensors.