Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sport Exchange Summit: Background & Purpose

Drug Free Sport is a sport drug-testing company, so why are you hosting an educational conference?
Drug Free Sport is in a unique position to bring all sport professions together to further our mission to ensure fair and safe sport, and help to champion athlete well-being and collaboration among all athletic staff within a sport organization.
Education remains a large component of Drug Free Sport’s mission and business model and we are often on campus or in sport organization facilities observing and interacting with a variety sport professions. The programs that really shine in our eyes when it comes to complete athlete care and performance are those that fulfill a complete spectrum of sport disciplines, AND successfully work together. This appears in many ways including the collaboration between the athletic trainer and sports dietitian regarding an athlete with disordered eating; the strength and conditioning specialist noticing changes in the athlete’s energy and performance in the weight room and communicating concern to the athletic trainer for assessment of proper joint function and range of motion; the team physician sharing post-op reports with the sports dietitian and trainer to complete a full recovery plan for the athlete; and more.

What makes the Sport Exchange Summit different from other sport conferences?
Unfortunately, we find that many sport organizations currently do not operate with the full incorporation, sharing, and communication needed to engage all professions integral to athlete care and performance. Internally, operations are riddled with interdepartmental competition rather than collaboration and effective communication.
We felt that hosting a conference on some of the most important topics surrounding athlete well-being was a start, but only if we could encourage multidisciplinary participation. Compared to other specialty conferences where similar vocations learn with like-minded peers, we strive to bring variety to this unique learning opportunity. How many times have athletic trainers, sports dietitians, team physicians, strength and conditioning specialists, coaches, sports psychologists, administrators, compliance personnel, and other disciplines gathered together under one roof to discuss some of the most pressing issues related to athlete performance and well-being?
The conference will promote valuable discussion and networking opportunities for participants to learn from a variety of programs (high school, collegiate, professional) and professions. Content is driven to provide cutting edge developments and hot topics in sport, as well as the opportunity to showcase “what works” for successful athletic programs.  

So you want to encourage collaboration? How did this idea come about?
Collaborative engagements seem rare in the sports industry. Just like the athletes they serve, athletic personnel work more often in competitive environments. Limited sharing of expertise or communications regarding athlete well-being can limit athlete potential and the success of the greater organization or team. The Sport Exchange Summit hopes to change this mindset by offering a multidisciplinary concept for continuing education and professional development. Ideally, this approach will bring people from different backgrounds and sport professions together—allowing for shared learning and enhanced discussion on important topics in the industry.

Who do you want to collaborate?                             
The Sport Exchange Summit will bring together athletic directors, certified athletic trainers, team coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, sports dietitians, sport psychologists, team physicians, and other personnel to learn, discuss, and engage with one another on relevant topics.

What do you hope the attendees will get out of the Summit this July?
Ultimately, the hope is they learn something new that they can take back to their program and discuss effective opportunities to improve current models for athlete care. AND, the idealist in all of us hopes that they begin to shift their thinking and welcome the added expertise of other disciplines within their organization when looking to positively influence athlete performance and recovery gains.

But, for the avid conference attendee, we also have set forth the following learning objectives.

Attendees will be able to:
  • Summarize current, pressing topics affecting athlete health and performance at all levels of competition. 
  • Identify challenges and opportunities in creating a more collaborative (versus competitive) professional environment within sports organizations to enhance player development, health, and performance. 
  • Consider the significance and psycho-social relevance of race and diversity, transgender, prescription and recreational drug abuse, drug-testing, and “life after sports” concerns for athletes within today’s sports organizations.  
  • Describe the importance and impact of building a collaborative sports medicine and performance family that includes sports nutrition, sports psychology, and effective player engagement. 

The Sport Exchange Summit is a dense one-and-a-half day conference with hot and relevant topics that will help to grow athlete health and wellness. We hope you’ll consider joining us and take a positive step to increase collaboration at your respective program. Visit sportexchangesummit.com for more information and to register. Only 5 weeks left!

Continuing education credits are available for sport dietitians, certified athletic trainers, strength and conditioning specialists, and licensed psychologists.