York-led study gives the beautiful game a red card on safety

Parents and school boards see soccer as a kinder, gentler alternative to rough-and-tumble games like hockey and football, but a new Canadian study on the dangers of the beautiful game suggests that padded goal posts, eye protection, head gear and even softer balls should be implemented to prevent injury, wrote the National Post Feb. 4.

Soccer insiders are skeptical about the recommendations, contained in a study by researchers at York University and the Public Health Agency of Canada, who found hundreds of soccer players a year show up at emergency departments with sometimes-serious head injuries.

“Soccer has become the most prevalent sport played by Canadians,” researchers headed by Professor Hala Tamim [of York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the Faculty of Health] note in a paper just published in the journal Injury. “Although soccer appears to be a relatively safe sport for children to play, it is now considered a contact/collision sport by the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

The study looked at data from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program. Although heading the ball is a key part of the game, having one’s head collide with a fellow player, a goal post, the playing surface or another hard object was most likely to cause serious injury, the paper said.

As well as padded goalposts, eye protection and, possibly, head gear, they recommended that organizers set up leagues so young people compete with others who are close to their own weight and height, rather than just dividing players based on age.

  • The York University-led study was also cited in a discussion on AM640 Radio and other stations in Canada, Feb. 3.

Firm still has work to do after board shake-up, says York prof

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has agreed to bring the CEO of West Face Capital onto its board of directors in a move to satisfy complaints about some of the directors’ relationships with the McCain family, wrote the Toronto Star and The Canadian Press Feb. 4.

York University corporate governance Professor Richard LeBlanc [of the School of Administrative Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies] said the board changes are a step in the right direction because Maple Leaf needs directors to be perceived as independent.

At least three of Maple Leaf’s current directors are McCain family members and three others have been on the board for 16 years, which is unusually long and calls into question their independence, LeBlanc said. “The job of the board is to oversee management in the interest of all shareholders…it’s difficult to do that if you’re not independent because you’re part of what you’re monitoring,” said LeBlanc.

He added that shaking up the board isn’t enough to raise Maple Leaf’s level of transparency to [that of] other publicly traded companies.

Fine arts grad decides to record his own debut album

Aidan Miller [BFA Spec. Hons. ‘07] figured if he wanted to record an album, he’d better get to it, wrote The Welland Tribune Feb. 4.

“I think I realized this opportunity would not come around by itself. I had to take the initiative. I was hoping to find a band and for us all to write songs together, but to get quality, you want to work with people who don’t have a lot of self-time,” said the 26-year-old St. Catharines native. “I decided it was time to do it myself. I rented rehearsal space and got the whole thing written and recorded. In a month it was written and I workshopped the songs with the band for a month and recorded it in two days.”

Miller received classical training in voice and piano and attended Governor Simcoe high school, where he was a member of the well-known Fusion Vocal Jazz Ensemble.  After graduating, he went to York University[‘s Faculty of Fine Arts], where he received a bachelor of fine arts degree, majoring in jazz piano and free improvisation.

Betting on energy trends pays off for fund manager

You know the story about the hare and the tortoise? Meet the tortoise: fund manager Andrew McCreath [BBA Spec.  Hons. ’85, MBA ’86], wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 4.

Since taking over the Sentry Diversified Total Return fund two years ago, just after the 2008 market meltdown, he has been in no hurry to fully invest the mutual fund in stocks. His cash position averaged 40 per cent last year, but has been as high as 70 per cent twice.

“I am not looking to shoot the lights out,” said McCreath of Toronto-based Sentry Investments. “The best way to make money is not to lose money.”

McCreath, who has an MBA in economics from York University, joined Sentry after selling his hedge fund firm, Waterfall Investments, to Sentry in 2008…. McCreath said he expects a single-digit return for the S&P/TSX Composite Index this year. “I think the market will be up in the first half and down in the second half.”

On air

  • Zahra Hassan, a York student born in Egypt, spoke about how her family is reacting to the crisis in Cairo, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Feb. 3.
  • Paul Delaney, professor of physics & astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about the latest findings of earth-like planets from NASA’s Keppler mission, on CTV News Feb. 3.