On June 4, an 8-year-old girl by the name of Milagros “Mili” Hernandez and her Azzurri Cachorros Chicas soccer team were suddenly disqualified before taking the field. The organizers believed Mili was a boy based on a typo on the team roster.
The roster did have Mili’s name on it, and she was listed as a boy. Mio Farivari, Mili’s Soccer Club President admits that the typo was an error by their registrar. However, when Mili’s coach tried to correct it at the game, he was not listened to.
Her family insists that Mili was disqualified because of her looks and believed to be a boy. Mili told WOWT 6 News, “They only did it because I look like a boy.”
“They just weren’t listening. They said I looked like a boy. My brother says it’s only because of my looks. So when they look at me they think I’m a boy but I’m really not,” Mili explained.
And Cruz Hernandez, Mili’s brother, told WOWT 6 News, “We had a doctor’s physical form and it gave a description and it said her age and female, so we showed them that but they wouldn’t look at it.”
“We showed them all different types of IDs. The president of the tournament said that they had made their decision and he wouldn’t change it. Even though we had an insurance card and documentation that showed she is a female,” Mili’s sister, Alina Hernandez, told KMTV.
By June 10, her teammates lined up one-by-one to get their hair cut to show their solidarity with Mili. 10-year old Erika Ortez cut off more than six inches of hair. She told the World-Herald, “Mili is like family to me. She’s part of my team. So I really felt like it was necessary to support her.”
The support hasn’t just come from Mili’s team but from all over the world. In fact, her story has gone viral and has caught the attention of star athletes like Abby Wambach and Anthony DiCicco.
And retired professional soccer player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, Mia Hamm, has invited Mili and her team to attend one of her soccer camps.
The Nebraska State Soccer Association announced that it is investigating the Ray Heimes Springfield Soccer Invitational and is conducting a detailed review of what happened.
“While Nebraska State Soccer did not oversee the Springfield Tournament, we recognize that our core values were simply not present this past weekend at this tournament and we apologize to this young girl, her family and her soccer club for this unfortunate misunderstanding,” the association said in a lengthy statement on Twitter.
“At no time was a child prohibited from playing because of their looks,” tournament director Lanyard Burgett’s insists.
“No tournament staff ever said a child was not allowed to play because they looked like a boy… The male player on a female roster was discovered in the middle of working through the player swapping issue and has been incorrectly identified as the reason for dismissal.”
The Nebraska State Soccer Association has since apologized to Mili and has threatened to suspend the tournament’s sanctioning unless the incident is investigated.
You’ve just played what feels like the game of your life, and you’re really proud of how you pushed yourself. You ran faster, jumped higher, stayed agile, and reached some personal goals in the process.
However, you wake up the next day in utter agony. The adrenaline that got you through the game is gone, and now you’re feeling every ache and pain. The trauma and micro-tears that your muscles experienced have left you completely sore.
Although you know you’ll get stronger once those muscles have repaired themselves, you ask how you can speed up the recovery process. Here are 4 tips to help ease some of that soreness and even give your healing a boost:
This method isn’t for everyone, and some people have reported that they felt even sorer afterward.
However, many professional athletes swear by their post-game ice baths. A 10-minute ice bath reportedly helps your body flush out waste products as it constricts blood vessels. Ice baths propose to reduce tissue swelling and decrease inflammation thus increasing the speed of recovery.
On the other hand, hot baths have also been said to jump-start recovery by dilating the blood vessels which bring extra blood to damaged tissues. Plus, hot baths are naturally relaxing, and that can also encourage your body to heal.
Sleep is perhaps the most recommended thing that you can do if you want to recover. Eight hours of sleep after a game can do wonders as your body heals itself the most during sleep. The last thing you want to do at this point is to engage in more strenuous activity that will only worsen your condition.
Make sure you get a massage from a professional or someone who knows what they are doing. A massage administered incorrectly could potentially damage a muscle. That being said, massages are excellent for relaxation and improving blood flow. These help release endorphins. So you’re not only healing, but you also start to feel fantastic.
You probably have lost a lot of fluids during your game. To heal, you need to replenish the electrolytes that are now likely depleted. Fuel up with plenty of fluids and the right food to jump-start your recovery.
Sugar-free sports drinks will get you re-hydrated and replenish your electrolytes while high protein foods and shakes will help your muscles repair themselves.
These are the most common tips on helping your body recover from a game. Many athletes also swear by compression garments that have been said to increase blood flow to the muscles by constricting your muscles thus releasing the amount of fluid buildup and decreasing the swelling and pressure.
At some point, you will discover what works best for you when It comes to your personal recovery. Listen to your own body and for the cues that signify whether the method is working or not.
There’s a reason why sunshine is associated with happiness. It makes people feel good, and kids love to run around on warm, sunny days.
And for youth sports, bright, sunny days are ideal for outdoor games like baseball, softball, rugby, lacrosse, football, and soccer. Anyone who has been disappointed by a game being canceled because of rain or a snow blizzard can tell you that.
Also, your child will reap the amazing medical benefits of being out in the sun as sunshine activates the production of vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital for building strong teeth and bones. However, too much exposure to the sun can be a problem.
The sun’s rays can be harsh on certain days and cause sunburn. Heat and humidity can cause heat exhaustion which involves symptoms like weakness, dizziness, and nausea. And heatstroke can cause fainting.
It is crucial to keep our kids well protected from the sun on those hot and sunny game days. Here’s how:
The sun is harshest during the midday which is between 10 am to 3 pm.
The sunscreen you choose should provide adequate protection. On a regular play day, SPF 15 is usually enough. But since SPF refers to the length of time a person can remain in the sun before they start to burn, SPF 30 and up is best for young athletes because their games can last up to a little under an hour.
SPF 30 will suffice for children aged 4 and up and should be applied before the child goes out. It’s ideal that it would be reapplied every couple of hours.
Your child likely wears a uniform, and there’s not much you can do about that. So make sure that you apply sunscreen on all of your kid’s skin that is exposed to the sun’s rays.
You child will need to increase their fluid intake on hot days. Make sure they are drinking plenty of water. You may not be there to ensure that they do particularly if they are in the dug-out, sitting on the sidelines, or in the field. This is why it’s important to remind them pre-game how important it is to drink water before, during and after the game to stay hydrated.
Explain the effects of dehydration and how they can recognize the symptoms. Tell them how dehydration can affect their sports performance. For younger kids, explain that not drinking enough water will make them sick and they may lose out the chance to play more.
After the game, get them to the shade and make sure they drink plenty of water.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are becoming increasingly common leading doctors who work with schools and youth sports organizations to encourage training to reduce the risk of ACL tears in young athletes.
When an athlete quickly changes direction, suddenly stop, or land on their leg incorrectly, an ACL injury can occur. Sports like basketball, soccer, football, lacrosse, and gymnastics are among the sports that are most commonly experiencing ACL injuries.
An ACL injury is the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament and many people who experience them often hear a “pop” in the knee when it happens. Treatment will depend on the severity of the ACL tear and may include rest and rehabilitation exercises to help the athlete regain strength and stability. In cases where the torn ligament needs to be replaced, surgery is required.
A clinical report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics says that neuromuscular training programs that strengthen leg muscles, improve stability and teach people how to move safely should be encouraged.
Programs that have included strength training have shown to reduce the rates of ACL injuries successfully. The training programs have included jump training and plyometric and tailored sessions for individual athletes.
To prevent ACL injuries and the possibility of ACL surgery, young athletes need to be taught to move properly. Commonly, coaches will only teach game-play mechanics and specific skills and strategies. However, they fail to take the time to teach them how to move properly. The coaches should teach basics such as the mechanics of squatting, running, and landing.
Most sports involve sprinting, sharp direction changes, hard deceleration, and jumping and these are exactly what cause ACL tears. Injury prevention programs focus on flexibility, balance, agility, safe jumping, and landing, and strength training focused on the core, hips, and legs.
Here are guidelines and exercises that can be done alone or with the team to help prevent and ACL injury:
Adequate strength in the hips and thighs is crucial to preventing ACL injuries. Exercises that build strength include squats and lunges. Remember to practice proper technique.
- Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Sit back.
- Bend from your hips and knees.
- Stick your buttocks out with your chest high.
- Keep your knees behind your toes.
- Keep your knees and feet facing straight ahead as you squat. Don’t let your knee turn inward.
- Stand upright, feet together
- Take a controlled step forward with your right leg, lowering your hips toward the floor by bending both knees to 90-degree angles. The back knee should point toward but not touch the ground, and your front knee should be directly over the ankle.
- Press your right heel into the ground, and push off with your left foot to bring your left leg forward, stepping with control into a lunge on the other side.
Agility-Changing Direction drills
- Run to a line or point on the field or court
- Plant your outside foot without letting your knee collapse inward to change direction.
- Move in patterns that take you front to back, side to side and diagonally.
- Pick up the pace and maintain proper technique – hips over knees over ankles
Jump and Land Safely
Jump straight upward. Land with your feet and knees pointing straight ahead. Don’t let your knees knock. Bend your knees gently each time you land. As you practice jumping and landing safely, it starts to feel second nature.
Practice these jumps with a teammate. Whether you are jumping to catch a ball or jumping over a line on field or court, be mindful of your landing.
Remember, through strengthening and proper technique, ACL injuries are preventable. Coaches should prepare their young athletes for the possibility of them by teaching them both the mechanics of the sport and how to avoid injury.
In the past years, the participation by girls in sports has increased at all levels – youth, high school, college, professional, and Olympic.
The acceptance of female athleticism by society seems to be on the rise. However, it’s been observed across many youth leagues that the rate at which girls drop out is significantly high compared to boys especially when they hit puberty.
Catherine Sabiston, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, followed more than 300 girls between 14 and 18 years old to explore the relation between their involvement in sports and their body-related emotions. Did how they felt about their appearances have a positive or adverse effect on their likelihood to enroll in sports or engage in physical activity?
Sabiston’s study covered two seasons, and during just the first phase of her study, 6% of the girls dropped out.
“Self-consciousness related to the body is one of the key reasons why girls drop out of sport during adolescence as their bodies are changing,” Sabiston explains. “It starts as early as 10. We need to help more at that level, as girls are going through body transitions.”
Girls at this age group have a tendency to compare their bodies with their peers leading to negative emotions that influenced their confidence in their abilities. This distorted perception lead to poor performance and feeling anxious about sports in general.
At this age, girls are most sensitive about their weight and appearance and yet choose to leave the activity that guarantees will keep their bodies in peak condition and at the ideal weight. It has been observed that beyond girls’ insecurities over their bodies, the following also played factors in why they were more likely to drop out of sports:
Society leads them to believe that sports are unfeminine
Despite the significant shift in mentality by society when it comes to women in sports, the cultural view is still that sports are masculine. And most girls don’t want to be associated with anything that makes them appear less feminine because this is the age where girls and boys alike start enjoying the attention of the opposite sex. Naturally, girls don’t want boys to see them participating in an activity that makes them appear unfeminine or unattractive.
Girls are more inclined towards cooperation than competition
Girls going through puberty are experiencing a surge in estrogen levels. This leads girls to shift towards relationships and to stay connected. Sports, on the other hand, is about competition and because girls are keen on meaningful connections, they start to move away from struggles and rivalries particularly ones that are on the physical level.
The lack of positive female athlete role models
In professional sports, there are few female athletes for young girls to idolize. The reality is that the focus is still on male athletes as the most popular sports are still dominated by males. Even with the existence of female leagues, there is much less attention and exposure. Because of this, young girls start to pull away from sports by their teens when they start to see less of a future in it.
And because only 15% of youth coaches are women, there are simply not enough female authority figures in sports to keep young girls inspired and motivated towards a long-term relationship with sports.