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Athletic Training Corner

Information from McNicholas High School Trainer Mike McCafferty in partnership with Mercy Health. 

Helping Educate Teens on the Risks of Vaping--Feb. 2020
Helping Educate Teens on the Risks of Vaping--Feb. 2020

(From Mercy Health blog, Feb. 4, 2020)

The growing use of vaping and e-cigarette products by teens has prompted Mercy Health to partner with local high schools and help educate students on the dangers of vaping.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teen vaping rates doubled in 2019 with 25 percent of high school seniors now using e-cigarettes. Many believe the myth that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking. However, there have been 1,358 lung illness cases associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vape pens as of October 2019 and 33 deaths confirmed in 21 states related to vaping.

Marcy Ivory, a smoking cessation educator and Kevin Griggs, Director of Respiratory Therapy have now visited four local high schools throughout Champaign county in Ohio. There, they discussed the myths, trends and facts of vaping and e-cigarette use, as well as the risks associated with them.

“The vaping industry is using a vitamin E acetate to thicken the fluid, which makes these great big, huge vape clouds that the kids like to see,” Kevin says. “The consequence of that is that the vitamin E is actually an oil-based product. So, when it’s vaporized into a mist, drawn into the lungs and cools, it’s coating the inside of their lungs with oil.”

Vaping causes many medical issues within the respiratory system. The lungs are not designed to inhale the toxins that vape contains, such as nicotine and vitamin E. Other toxins in vaping products can even cause severe, chemically induced pneumonia. Another serious risk is negative side effects on brain development.

“Using nicotine before the age of 25 can have lasting brain effects, including nicotine addiction, mood disorders and permanent lowering of impulse control,” Marcy says.

Stephen Feagins, MD, is a primary care physician for Mercy Health as well as the medical director for Hamilton County Public Health and the team physician of FC Cincinnati. He reveals that researchers are currently looking for ways to help young people who have become nicotine dependent after vaping.

“Many young people don’t realize that vaping products have nicotine until they are already puffing 200 to 300 puffs a day,” says Dr. Feagins. This is the equivalent of one and a half packs of cigarettes per day.

Not knowing what nicotine dependence feels like, these teens have trouble with sleep and concentration. Educating them on the cause and effect of vaping is critical moving forward.

According to Dr. Feagins, doctors currently use nicotine replacement therapy to help young people going through the physiological symptoms of nicotine withdrawal as they quit using these products.

Moving forward, Mercy Health is committed to educating our communities about the dangers of vaping as well as treating those who need our care.


Healthy Swaps for Tailgating Favorites--Sept. 2019
Healthy Swaps for Tailgating Favorites--Sept. 2019

MH_Tailgate_1200x628-1200x610.jpgKick off fall with these healthy tailgating recipes.

Happy tailgating season! Time to enjoy cooler weather, football games, and, most importantly, food.

While most tailgating foods have lots of calories and fat, it is possible to whip up some dishes that won’t throw you too far off your healthy diet.

Check out these healthier swaps for traditional tailgating food. Your family and friends will love them!

Instead of nachos, try this chicken nacho salad.

There is less fat in this recipe with no cheese or sour cream. Also, consider using multigrain tortilla chips instead of corn tortilla chips.

¾ cup pico de gallo
4 teaspoons olive oil
6 cups iceberg lettuce, chopped
2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine ½ cup pico de gallo and oil in a food processor. Mix until smooth and set aside. Spread lettuce evenly over a platter, top with chicken and avocado. On top drizzle blended pico de gallo and add remaining, unblended pico de gallo. Pepper to taste and serve with tortilla chips.

Instead of a hamburger, go with a turkey burger.

Lean meats, like ground turkey and chicken, are a healthy alternative for red meat. Use whole wheat buns too as opposed to white bread.

1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons canola oil
¼ cup course-grained mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 hamburger buns
Lettuce, tomato, onion (optional)

Warm up your grill. Thoroughly mix mustard and honey together in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, add ground turkey and mustard mix with salt and pepper. Combine well with hands and form into four burgers.

Lightly brush the patties on both sides with oil. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side until fully cooked. Pour remaining mustard mixture on cooked patties and place on buns. If desired, serve with lettuce, tomato and onion.

Instead of dip made with sour cream, try dip with Greek yogurt.

Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream makes this black bean dip high in protein. Serve with veggies instead of chips to make this snack even healthier.

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup salsa
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Put beans, Greek yogurt, salsa, lime juice, honey, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a serving dish.

Click here to access Mercy Health blog.

Improving athletic performance through a better diet--Mar. 2019
Improving athletic performance through a better diet--Mar. 2019

Eight of the Easiest Ways to Improve Athletic Performance

The best part? They’re all natural

It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day to resolve to be healthier. Everyone wants to have more energy, experience less pain, feel stronger and have a sharper mind. To get there, it’s a two-part process. First, you need to know what healthy habits to bring into your day. Next, you have to commit to them and make them part of your life. Ready to be your best you? Try these natural ways to improve your performance.

Drinking more water

You’ve probably heard that you’re mostly water, right? Well, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need more. Your body uses water for almost every bodily function. Drinking water helps your body do a better job of digesting food and removing waste from your system. Water helps protect your tissues, spinal cord and joints from injury. It keeps your body temperature regulated. Staying hydrated simply makes you feel better.

The amount of water you should drink varies greatly on your climate, how much you exercise and if you’re feeling under the weather. Instead of counting the number of glasses you down a day, just look at your urine. If it’s clear, you’re probably drinking enough. If it’s a little dark, start sipping.

Eating better

If you listen to your body, you know that eating junk food, enjoying too many sweets and drinking too much alcohol doesn’t make you feel very good. A simple and effective way to improve your performance is to improve your nutrition. Eating better can help you maintain your weight at a healthy level. This can reduce your risk of chronic disease.

So, what does eating better look like? A good start is to add more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Eat less of anything that comes out of a bag or a box. Processed foods usually contain added sugar and too much sodium. Cutting out sugary drinks and refined grains is also a good goal.

Mixing up your workout routine

You’re exercising already, aren’t you? The International Sports Sciences Association recommends at least five to seven hours of cardio every week for overall health. However, your body can easily get used to the same old movements.

By switching up your routine, you can avoid what’s known as “adaptation.” This stops your body’s muscles from growing. Adding in strength training, core training and agility to your cardio provides a full range of fitness to your body. You also won’t get so bored!

Ice baths for recovery

If you really want to improve your performance, you should act like the athletes and hop in a bath filled with ice. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Professionals use cold therapy to repair their muscles after an intense workout. Ice baths make your blood vessels send oxygen to your muscles. This removes the lactic acid that would otherwise build up and make you exhausted.

How long do you have to shiver? Once you pour in a few bags of ice into your bath, start by sitting up to your hips. Eventually, you can lower your upper torso in. Try to stay there for 10 minutes. If that’s too much, massaging ice over muscles works, too.

Epsom salts

If you haven’t discovered the benefits of Epsom salts yet, now’s the time. Also known as magnesium sulfate, it’s quite different from the salt you find on the dinner table. Some people use Epsom salts to relieve constipation and insomnia. Epsom salts help replenish certain minerals in your body. They’re a great addition to a warm bath, too.

Heat therapy

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, heat therapy can improve your performance and make you feel better. Heat therapy works to relax the muscles and soft tissues from around your spine. It increases circulation and calms the pain sensors to your brain. To find the benefits of heat, try using a hot water bottle where it hurts for 20 to 30 minutes. Electric heating pads, heated gel packs and heat wraps are good, too. 


Many people add yoga into their daily routines because it helps bring peace of mind. If you feel uncomfortable going to a class, simply start stretching. Stretching can help increase your flexibility and range of motion while reducing your risk of injury. It improves your posture and even helps with stress release. Try a mix of dynamic stretching — active movement that helps prepare your muscles for exercise — and static stretches, where you hold a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.


Finally, don’t forget to rest. Getting adequate sleep helps you stay healthy and improves your mental health, too.

Mercy Health Orthopedic Surgeon and Head Team Physician for the Cincinnati Bengals, Dr. Marc Galloway stresses the importance of rest to all of the athletes he sees – from high school students to the pros. “Rest is a key element of an athlete’s training regimen. Injuries tend to occur when athletes are tired and the body is over-worked. It is imperative that athletes give their bodies time to heal with proper rest.”

Of course, if you still have physical or mental pain, you should see a medical professional. If you need help finding care, our team is here for you. Reach out today.

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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