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Attitudes Toward Doping among Polish Athletes Measured with the Polish Version of Petroczi’s Performance Enhancement Attitude Scale


Introduction. The aim of the study was twofold. The first aim was to specify attitudes toward using performance-enhancing drugs (doping) among athletes practising different sports disciplines. The second aim was to present the Polish version and validation of the Performance Enhancement Attitude Scale (PEAS).

Material and methods. A total of 340 athletes (173 males and 167 females) took part in the study. They represented 13 sport disciplines. The study was conducted in Central Sports Centres in Poland. Athletes’ attitudes were assessed using the Performance Enhancement Attitude Scale (PEAS).

Results. The study revealed that athletes generally were not tolerant in relation to illegal performance-enhancing substances in sport. However, men were more permissive toward illegal performance enhancement than women. The other important factor, apart from gender, was the amount of contact between competitors. The lowest values were found for sports where athletes competed parallel to each other, medium values were recorded for sports where athletes were in close contact, and the highest values were found in the group of athletes having no contact with the competitors. Our analyses also confirmed that the 11-item version of PEAS has the best fit indices and therefore is most recommended for use among Polish athletes.

Conclusions. The Polish version of PEAS is recommended in its 11-item version, and its reliability was confirmed. According to the findings of the study, Polish athletes rather do not approve of doping behaviours. Men were more likely to use illegal substances than women. The most positive attitude towards doping was found for sport disciplines where there is no contact with the competitor.

Open access
Biomechanical characteristics of Taekwondo athletes: kicks and punches vs. laboratory tests


Study aim: The aim of the study was to examine biomechanical characteristics of taekwondo athletes comparing kicks and punches with laboratory tests of muscle strength and power. Material and methods: Six male taekwondo athletes participated in this study. Measurements of maximal punching with the rear hand (hook and straight punches) and kicking (Apdolio and Dwit Chagi) force were performed on a boxing dynamometer. Also, the following laboratory tests were performed: jump height and power output in counter movement jump (CMJ) and spike jump (SPJ), muscle strength for 10 muscle groups and force-velocity (F-v) relationship. Results: Mean maximal straight and hook punching forces were 1659.2 ± 254.2 N and 1843.8 ± 453.3 N, respectively. Maxi­mal Apdolio rear leg, Apdolio lead leg and Dwit Chagi rear leg kicking forces were 3541.3 ± 1130.3 N, 3205.3 ± 965.1 N and 3568.0 ± 1306.0 N, respectively. The heights of jumps were 0.501 ± 0.040 m (CMJ) and 0.554 ± 0.034 m (SPJ). A strong cor­relation between the maximal force of a punch and maximal joint torques was observed. Conclusions: The values of kicking forces developed in a simulated fight were lower than the forces developed in the test of individual kicks. Strong relationships were observed between leg power developed in the SPJ and force of individual Apdolio kicks performed with the lead (r = 0.87, p < 0.05) and rear leg (r = 0.74). Based on these findings, it was concluded that maxi­mal joint torques and height of the SPJ could be used as a proxy of kicking force.

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Biomechanics of the Axel Paulsen Figure Skating Jump


Introduction. Figure skating is a sport discipline requiring a combination of artistic and athletic skills. The triple Axel Paulsen (Axel or A) jump is the most technically difficult jump of all figure skating jumps, which is why it is on the top of the International Skating Union (ISU) Judging System Code of Points (CoP). The purpose of this research was to explore the technical differences between the single Axel (1A), the double Axel (2A), and the triple Axel (3A) and to determine which parameters are the most important for performing the triple Axel successfully, using 3D kinematic analysis.

Material and methods. In the study, one Polish elite male junior skater was tested. Following the usual warm-up, the skater performed a series of jumps on the ice, which were recorded. Six jumps of each type were recorded (6 x 1A, 6 x 2A, and 6 x 3A). Three jumps which were the best technically were chosen for further analysis. The APAS 2000 system automatically calculated the centre of gravity of the skater (CG) and generated the kinematic data of each jump.

Results. The skater examined jumped higher when he was about to perform more rotations in the jump. The more rotations were to be made, the higher the jump was. Although the difference between the height of 2A and 3A was less than 10% and could not be considered significant, the height of 1A was significantly lower, by over 19%, that the height of the other two jumps. As also shown by previous research, the most substantial differences in the Axel jump technique were visible in the pre-take-off and take-off phases.

Conclusions. We observed substantial differences in the movement technique and kinematic parameters of the pre-take-off phase in the triple Axel performance compared to the performance of the other two Axels. It can be assumed that decreasing the ankle joint angle in the pre-take-off phase was most essential in achieving rotations in the Axel jump. This substantial change in ankle flexion caused greater stress on the blade before the take-off, which resulted in a reduction of vertical velocity and enabled an increase in the vertical take-off angle.

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Changes in demand for children between 2003 and 2013 in Nigeria: Evidence from survey data


Nigeria has one of the highest fertility rates in Africa. Data from 2013 Demographic and Health Surveys indicate a virtual stagnation of fertility rate since 2003. Low contraceptive use and pronatalist attitudes are among the factors contributing to the high fertility rate in Nigeria. In this manuscript, we pooled data from three most recent waves of Demographic and Health Surveys to examine trends in demand for children over time and identify the factors associated with change in demand for children. The data show that demand for children has declined since 2003 although not monotonically so. Variables that were positively associated with increased likelihood of desiring no additional children were residence in the South-West (as opposed to residence in the North-Central), exposure to family planning (FP) messages on the mass media, number of children ever born, educational level, and urban residence. In contrast, uncertainty about fertility desire was more widespread in 2008 compared to 2013 although less widespread in 2003 than in 2013. The likelihood of being undecided about fertility desire was positively associated with discrepancies in family size desires between husband and wife, parity and Islamic religious affiliation. Programs should aim to increase access to effective contraceptive methods and promote demand for contraceptives as a way of fostering a sustainable reduction in demand for children. Furthermore, strategies that address uncertainty by fostering women’s understanding of the social and health implications of large family sizes are relevant.

Open access
Changes in the Level of Motor Preparation of Professional Soccer Players in Training


Introduction. Since the competition period has been prolonged in modern football, it is important to know if a shortened preparatory phase is enough to improve motor fitness preparation. This study analysed the changes in the level of physical fitness in second-league soccer players with respect to training conducted during the preparatory period.

Material and methods. Speed (5-m and 30-m sprint), endurance (progressive test), and power (Counter Movement Jump) were tested in 21 players at the beginning and at the end of the preparatory phase.

Results. The results obtained indicate a significant improvement in physical capacity parameters as well as speed and strength abilities measured using 5-m and 30-m running speed tests and the CMJ test for muscle power. In the progressive test measuring anaerobic threshold speed, the players active in the central section of the pitch (centre-backs and central midfielders) achieved the best results, while in the speed trials and explosive strength trials, side-backs and side midfielders achieved the best results.

Conclusions. During the winter preparatory season, the most significant changes in the physical fitness of soccer players were observed in aerobic endurance expressed as threshold speed (an increase of 1.2 km/h) and running speed measured as the time needed to cover a distance of 5 m (time reduced by 0.04 s) and 30 m (time reduced by 0.07 s). These traits are crucial in the preparation of soccer players for league matches and have the greatest impact on their performance in sports competitions.

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Changes in the Stiffness of Thigh Muscles in the Left and Right Limbs During Six Weeks of Plyometric Training in Volleyball Players


Introduction. Monitoring muscle stiffness in athletes can be a good method of assessing fatigue caused by high training loads, and the early detection of fatigue can help prevent the occurrence of micro-trauma in the muscles that can cause contusions. The research carried out by Wilson et al. [1] confirmed that an optimal level of muscle stiffness is significantly correlated with high muscle loads. The aim of the current study was to determine changes in muscle stiffness of the left and right thighs during six weeks of plyometric training (PT) in volleyball players.

Material and methods. The study involved 16 volleyball players from the second-league Opole University of Technology Club (age = 21.12 ± 1.66 years, height = 191.62 ± 5.73 cm, and weight = 86.25 ± 6.66 kg) with at least five years of competitive experience (7.5 ± 2.44 years). Muscle stiffness was measured during three stages of the plyometric training using a MYOTON PRO device (Estonia).

Results. An RM-ANOVA analysis showed a significant difference in the resting stiffness of the semitendinosus (posterior thigh) muscles of the left and right limbs before the plyometric training began, but no significant differences were found in the stiffness of these muscles in the fourth or sixth weeks of training. The results of the measurement performed for the anterior muscles of the thigh did not reveal a significant difference in the stiffness of the left limb compared to that of the right limb in subsequent weeks of training.

Conclusion. The loads used in plyometric training in volleyball players caused a decrease in the differences in muscle stiffness between the left and right limbs, and in both limbs, adaptation trended towards an increase or a decrease in stiffness.

Open access
Hospital network and access to Night and Holiday Patient Care


Night and Holiday Patient Care is a place providing health services, necessary for securing patients’ medical needs in efficient way and round-the-clock. Units providing such care are located in selected hospitals chosen in connection with the introduction of the hospital network since October 1, 2017. The main aim of the study was comparison of changes that occurred in the area of location and access to Night and Holiday Patient Care after and before establishing hospital network. The analysis was based on a review of the relevant legal acts available on the ISAP website, scientific articles selected from the medical databases, as well as information published on the official websites of governmental agencies and entities offering night and holiday medical services. The introduction of the hospital network has changed the number, localization and availability of places providing Nights and Holiday Patient Care. These changes resulted in, on the one side, faster access to more specialized medical care, on the other, a reduction in the number of places in some cities. These changes require monitoring in terms of access and quality of basic care services during nights and holidays, so that in the long-term it can be determined whether the applied changes were beneficial from the perspective of the patient and the health care system.

Open access