Concept Site

Athletes In The Arts

Need:  The problem to solve is how to improve the general well being of musicians and artists, especially young people.  This has multiple components:  nutrition, exercise, hearing health, injury, rehabilitation, injury prevention, mental health, music therapy, even health insurance.

Idea:  The novel aspect of this initiative is the interest of the sports medical profession in the issues of the physicality of the arts.  The idea is to connect the community of musicians, artists, parents, educators and related parties with a network of health professionals dedicated to providing some level of care for that community.

Opportunity:  There are many organizations involved in the health and well being of musicians and artists.  This initiative seeks to connect that community of interest with that of the sports medical community.  This is the unique aspect of this initiative.  We see to bring to bear the science, the resources and the information of the community of health professionals

Why:  The idea is not strictly altruistic.  The fact is, the creative community of this country produces almost one-third of its GDP; entertainment and pop culture are our largest export.  Every musician and artist is a small business because what they do creates rights granted by the Constitution and the federal copyright laws, and these rights create that GDP, that export.  We should do everything possible to keep the creative community healthy.  Healthy artists like healthy athletes create jobs and businesses.  To be specific, young musicians suffer unnecessary hearing loss and visual artists are unnecessarily exposed to hazardous substances; young musicians suffer from repetitive stress injury and ballet dancers suffer muscular-skeletal damage in pursuit of their art.

Solution:  We want to approach the matter in two ways.  First, one on one.  Perhaps an ACSM member tends to the physical needs of a high school orchestra or band in a similar way to their involvement with the basketball team or the football team.  This is the “grass roots”, the “local” component of the idea, and it extends to other musicians and artists as well:  the underserved, the indigent and the itinerant.

The second approach is to emphasize the importance of nutrition and exercise to performance and mental acuity.  For athletes and artists, their bodies are their instruments, through which they communicate and achieve. This is the “universal” component of the idea and completely consistent with the greater mission of the ACSM and the sports medical community generally.  Both communities are concerned with “performance enhancement”

Physical health is important to all people but there is a special connection between the arts and sports that has not yet been fully explored for its potential to help people.  The wellness issues of athletics are a science and an art.  The wellness issues of musicians and artists are not as well known, studied, or well attended.  This initiative seeks to redress that imbalance.

Method:  As a way of providing a “town square” for the conversation about this initiative, we have built a simple website where documents under discussion can be posted and commented on by others and information can be shared. The site is an attempt to create a nexus between the large and diverse arts and entertainment community and the equally as large and diverse sports medical community.  It will be an informational resource for both communities, designed to encourage “local community” connections and provide information and links to related activities and organizations from both communities.  Also, we are attempting to get “stars” from both music and sports to promote this initiative.  Once the communities begin to consider the opportunities and resources of each to be beneficial, change will come.

Who:  The American College of Sports Medicine, The Center for Music and Arts Entrepreneurship, and the Artists House Foundation have initiated this conversation.  Other related and like-minded organizations have expressed interest:  NARAS, MENC, NASM, PAMA, NHCA, HPSM, etc.

The Artists House website reaches 70,000 unique visitors per month and another 60,000 on its YouTube channel.  It has over 22,000 subscribers to its Twitter feed.  It has an Internet broadcasting platform of 10 channels, 7000 MySpace friends and 2500 Facebook friends.  Artists House has made this social networking structure available to the initiative.  Combined with the social networking efforts of other interested organizations we have the potential of reaching a huge number of people quickly and directly.

The Center for Music and Arts Entrepreneurship will provide media services and the website for the initiative.  This provides us with the potential of creating multimedia content for public access television and the Internet, which will be made freely available to any other organization that wishes to use it on their website.  This allows us to produce multi-media modules of specific information that could be useful to both communities.

Results:  Anticipated results include:

Funding will increase for research

  • Injured musicians and artists will be helped
  • Injuries will be prevented
  • Nutritional and exercise information aimed at the young musician and artist
  • Local sports medical professionals will attend to school music groups
  • The young creative community can be awakened to the responsibilities and opportunities of taking care of themselves
  • A website that is easy to access, find and use
  • An increase in awareness of the physicality of the arts and the potential dangers
  • Healthier young people, healthier artists

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