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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov.)

SPECIAL REPORT

Waseda and Sports-Cooperation with society through sports

In addition to training athletes, Waseda University has conducted sports research and other activities to pursue the possibility of sports as part of university education.
Many people affiliated with Waseda University were part of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. Furthermore, many faculty members participated as officials of the JOC headquarters. In this article, we will consider sports from an academic perspective and will explore the connection of universities and society through sports.

Column

Research and the Olympics

We spoke with 2 professors who were involved in the Olympics as researchers.

Exterior of the multi-support house in London

Examination at the medical office in the London Olympics Athletes' Village

Analysis lab

Using expert knowledge to support the top condition of athletes

Professor Takao Akama
Faculty of Sport Sciences
Executive, Japanese National Team Headquarters

Continuing from the Athens and Beijing Olympics, I participated in the London Olympics as a headquarters doctor of the Japanese national team. As a medical supervisor, I was involved in transmitting medical information from the games organizing committee. As a doctor, I provided support to athletes. An important theme is maintaining the conditions of athletes in an unordinary environment. Measurement of saliva composition is one index used in judging health status. Long years of research have clarified that, after strenuous practice or under severe stress, the antibody (secretory IgA) in saliva decreases and it is easy to become ill. Previously, about 2 days were required to analyze saliva, so it was difficult to apply the method onsite. Therefore, in preparation for the London Olympics, our university performed joint university with Tsukuba University in order to develop a machine capable of analysis in a short period of time. This machine was then used during the actual games. As a result, saliva measurements were useful as one type of judgment criteria.

The Olympic Games have detailed anti-doping rules. If medicine which must be declared is used during treatment, it is necessary to submit paperwork and obtain approval. Furthermore, it may be treated as a violation if an athlete is present in a location different from the location information which was declared in advance. Misunderstanding of such rules may cause an athlete to unknowingly commit a violation. To avoid such problems, athletes and support staff must take thorough measures. As an anti-doping expert, I provided support to Japanese athletes.

Research in clinical medicine must be clear from the perspective of actual benefit to patients or athletes. In this respect, I am very happy to receive messages of gratitude from athletes. It makes me feel that past research is being practically applied to onsite treatment. Just as we refer to our athletes as "Team Nippon," research and onsite staff members also function as a team. In the future, I hope to cultivate professionals through academics and create a system for smooth cooperation between individuals.

Professor Takao Akama
Faculty of Sport Sciences
Executive, Japanese National Team Headquarters

Professor at the Faculty of Sport Sciences. Participated in the London Olympics as Director (Medical Supervisor) of the Japanese National Team Headquarters. Holds positions such as Vice-Chairperson of the JOC Anti-Doping Committee and Vice-Chairperson of the Japan Anti-Doping Agency. His areas of expertise include sports medicine, sports immunology and anti-doping. Holds a PhD in medicine.

Through my own experience, cultivating professionals for the IOC

Professor Yoshiyuki Mano
Faculty of Sport Sciences
Member of the London Olympic Testing Team

From 2010, I have been involved in the Olympics as a member of the advisory board for the MEXT's "Team Nippon" multi-support project. The project includes a variety of actions for supporting athletes such as research and development for sports equipment/clothing, as well as using sports medicine and science to support athletes. The largest action is the multi-support house, a facility with provides onsite conditioning and meals for athletes. The multi-support house underwent a test implementation at the 2010 Eurasian Games. At the recent London Olympics, the house was located 10 minutes by foot from the gate of the Athletes' Village.

The house contained a carbon dioxide bath, high-pressure capsule, medical care space and testing room. Meals cooked by Japanese staff were served and athletes were able to meet with their families at the house. These services contributed to the motivation and recovery of athletes. During the Olympics, a large number of athletes took advantage of support staff services, with an average of 150 athletes visiting the house every day. When considering that the 38 medals won by Japan was the highest total in history, it can be said that the house was an effective support measure. Based on the experience at the London Olympics, we will reform the multi-support house so that it is even more useful to athletes at the Sochi Olympics.

When involved with the Olympics, a person is thoroughly aware of the following concept of Olympism: "Improve the mind and body through sports. Furthermore, contribute to a peaceful and more prosperous world by overcoming a variety of cultural and national differences in order to achieve mutual understanding through the spirit of friendship, unity and fair play." The world of sports is undergoing globalization. In addition to athletes, there is demand for management professionals who possess the spirit of Olympism. Currently, there are no Japanese staff members in the IOC. I hope to see the day that graduates who studied sports management at Waseda will perform in the IOC and will feedback their experience into education.

Professor Yoshiyuki Mano
Faculty of Sport Sciences
Member of the London Olympic Testing Team

From 2002, served as Assistant Professor at the Waseda University School of Human Sciences and as Assistant Professor at the School of Sport Sciences before assuming his current position. Holds numerous positions as director of sports associations and professional leagues, as well as advisor to municipalities. For example, is a member of the advisory board for the MEXT's Team Nippon multi-support project, Chairperson of the Japan Athlete Forum, Chairperson of the Management Certification Division at the Japan Sports Association, Chairperson of the Japan Basketball League, and member of the Tokyo Sports Promotion Council. His area of expertise is sports policy. Holds a PhD in sports science.