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#WHOOPEd Weekly Digest, Vol. 4

By Thea Lee

#WHOOPEd Weekly Digest, Vol. 4

Included this week is a Harvard study on the health and safety shortcomings of the NFL, as well as the sleeping positions you can try for any localized pain keeping you awake at night.

Tuesday, May 30

Harvard study suggests some NFL health and safety changes

  • A study conducted at Harvard Law School aimed to compare the health and safety issues of professional sports leagues.
  • This was the largest and most comparative study of its kind, including information from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, Canadian Football League, and each respective players’ union.
  • The NFL Players Association contracted with Harvard in 2014 to study multiple facets of health and safety issues in the NFL and this is the first of several reports in the works.

The findings:

  • The NFL offers employee benefits that match or exceed many Fortune 500 companies. These include the right to seek out a second opinion from doctors and the players’ ability to choose his own surgeon.
  • The NFL’s retirement plan benefits are worse than those in the MLB, NBA, and NHL. For example, baseball and hockey players are vested in their pension on the first day they appear in a regular season game; the NFL requires players to have 3 years of experience before they’re eligible for retirement (many player’s careers don’t even last that long).
  • The MLB, NBA, and NHL all offer some form of health insurance for life for retired players. The NFL offers 5 years of coverage.

The recommendations:

  • The NFL could consider a tiered health insurance plan so that players can qualify for some but not full benefits, depending upon the length of their career in the league.
  • Consider a change to injury rules that treat a player recovering from a concussion differently than those who’ve suffered other injuries.
  • Allow teams to place a concussed player on an exempt list, allowing the clubs to replace the player temporarily until he’s cleared to return.

Wednesday, May 31

How to fix all of your sleep problems with science

  • Shoulder pain: Don’t sleep on your side. Try hugging your pillow when you’re going to sleep.
  • Back pain: Add a pillow under your thighs if you sleep on your stomach. Add a pillow under your calves if you sleep on your back. If you like sleep on your side, place the pillow between your legs.
  • Neck pain: Replace your pillows at least every two years. Participants in a study reported firm, latex pillows were the most comfortable for sore necks.
  • Can’t fall asleep: Avoid caffeine several hours before bedtime. Exercise in the morning or afternoon (not before bed). Put your phone away at least an hour before bed time.
  • Can’t stay asleep: Avoid alcohol before bed, since it can decrease the amount of time you spend in REM sleep. Make sure your room is set between 68 – 71 degrees F.
  • Can’t wake up: Scientists call not waking up at the same time “social jet lag.” Try setting your alarm for the same time 7 days a week.
  • Acid reflux: About 7 million Americans have acid reflux. Try sleeping on your left side on an elevated pillow.
  • Snoring: Try sleeping on your side or propping your head up a few inches. You can also clear out your sinuses with saline before bed. Avoid alcohol before bed.
  • Leg cramps: Scientists aren’t sure what causes nighttime leg cramps, but it’s probably related to muscle fatigue and nerve damage. Try massaging the area, apply heat to the muscle, and stretch to relieve the pain.

Thursday, June 1

A 38-year-old mental coach has become one of the NBA’s premier resources

  • Graham Betchart started his career in sports psychology working with youth basketball teams, espousing the idea of being mentally strong, washing away nerves and fear of failure.
  • Betchart started his own company, Play Present, and wrote a book on the topic. In 2016, he sold the company to Lucid, mental training app for athletes.
  • Betchart’s clients include Aaron Gordon, Ben Simmons, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Dwight Powell.
  • His approach is to train top talent at the high school level so they have the tools necessary to cope with the pressures of the professional league.
  • His lessons always have this underlying message: don’t stress over what you can’t control.

Friday, June 2

Overcome Resistance to Change with Two Conversations

  • Research shows that, across industries and sectors, organizational change efforts fail 50-75% of the time.
  • The biggest hurdle to change in an organization is people. The job of a leader is to help the team overcome the inherent bias toward maintaining the status quo.

Identifying the sources of resistance

  • Resistance type 1: The person doesn’t agree on your appraisal of the problem and thinks that his or her perspective is not being considered. To address this, the leader should listen and be open to changing the approach based on what they learn.
  • Resistance type 2: The person feels disrespected by a change; he or she feels they haven’t had a chance to weigh-in since they haven’t been consulted. To address this, the leader needs to listen and make sure they feel heard.
  • Resistance type 3: The person doesn’t feel they’ve had enough time to digest the new direction or cope emotionally. To address this, the leader should consider whether the timeline can be adjusted to reduce stress caused by feeling rushed.

Talking with the resistors

  • Forget efficiency: motivating true change requires patient, face-to-face, one-on-one conversation.
  • Focus on listening: To make everyone feel understood your priority should be to listen. Don’t talk more than 20% of the time and try to repeat back what you’ve heard when possible.
  • Be open to change: Be ready to learn something new and, if necessary, modify your plans. Show that their opinions matter and will shape your thinking.
  • Have multiple conversations: In the first conversation, listen and diagnose the roots of the resistance. In the second conversation, make it clear that you reflected on what you heard; outline what will be different, or not, to your approach and explain why. Try to give several days to process before having the second conversation, so the resistor feels their opinions were adequately considered.