Danger – children at play

Children are getting badly hurt in alarming numbers on playground equipment that is often too high or made of unsafe materials, researchers say, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 12. More than 25,000 Canadian children are treated each year in emergency rooms for injuries suffered in playgrounds, according to newly released data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The majority of the injuries are orthopedic – broken wrists, arms and elbows – but the research also revealed a large number of serious head injuries, and even cases of strangulation.

“These aren’t knee scratches, they’re serious injuries that require emergency medical treatment – and in many cases hospitalization,” said Alison Macpherson, a professor in York’s Graduate Program of Kinesiology & Health Science. “It’s our obligation, as a society, to make playgrounds as safe as possible.” The researcher said equipment is often too high, guardrails are insufficient, equipment is made of metal instead of plastic, and playground surfaces are asphalt or hard-packed sand instead of loose sand or rubber matting.

Macpherson also discussed the study on “Canada Now” for its Aug. 11 broadcasts on CBC TV and CBC Newsworld.

Meteor shower expected to offer dazzling show

Stargazers were getting ready for a dazzling display of celestial fireworks in the skies above the Northern Hemisphere Wednesday, when the Perseid meteor showers were set to begin, reported CTV.ca Aug. 11. “If we are lucky enough for any of the material to hit the ground, that is a meteorite,” said astronomer Paul Delaney, a senior lecturer in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering. “Then, we have a nice laboratory insight into the former era of the solar system.”

York sends Olympic squad

The excitement of going to the Olympic Summer Games never wears off for Patricia Murray, even on the eve of her sixth one. “Not for me anyway,” said the 57-year-old director of sport and recreation for York University. “Every time I go I find it’s a different country, a different culture and different athletes. It never wears off on me.” Murray shared her thoughts in an interview with The North York Mirror on Monday, Aug. 9 a few hours prior to her flight to Athens, Greece, where she’ll represent Canada’s Olympic movement as the vice-president of the Canadian Olympic Committee. The veteran administrator will stand alongside COC president Michael Chambers at many administrative and social functions during the Games. “My role is to represent the COC,” she said. “Our organization is focused on high-performance sports and ways to improve them.”

York University will also have other participants at the Games. Cindy Hughes, manager and head therapist with York’s Sports Injury Clinic, will serve in that capacity in Athens; Tamara Bompa, a retired lecturer and now part-time teacher in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences, will serve as a judge in the rhythmic gymnastics competition; and Karen Cockburn, a second-year business student in the Faculty of Arts, and alumnus Mathieu Turgeon (BA ’03) will participate as members of the Canadian gymnastics team specializing in trampoline.

On air

  • Historian Thomas Gallant, who holds the Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair in Modern Greek at York, talked Toronto’s 1918 anti-Greek riots and how far Greeks have come in Canada, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Aug. 11.
  • CBC Radio produced a piece on how Greek Canadian Andreas Papandreou – who taught economics at York University in the early 1970s – helped Greece return to democracy thanks to a Toronto print shop from which a revolution started. It aired Aug. 11.