Our Dialogue on Disability Week continues with a conversation about adaptive sports. According to the CDC, nearly half of adults with disabilities ages 18 to 64 do not get aerobic physical activity. Local organizations are helping to change that by offering opportunities in adaptive sports.

We hear the stories of local athletes in those programs. Our guests:

  • Michael Cocquyt, supervisor of SportsNet
  • Jen Truscott, alpine skier
  • David Grace, sled hockey athlete, who participates in many winter sports

It's Buffalo Bills mania in Western New York. The Bills are back in the NFL playoffs for the first time in 17 years. But as fans celebrate, something ominous is happening for the league. Ratings are down. More parents are refusing to allow their kids to play football.

We have some fun toasting the Bills, but we ask some serious questions, starting with this: if you won't allow your children to get on the field, should you be supporting the NFL at all? And what is causing the ratings decline? Our guests:

From the Red Wings to the Flash to the Rhinos, Rochester was once considered a hub for minor league sports, but the landscape has changed in recent years -- especially in the last week. The owners of the Rochester Rhinos announced Thursday that they need help to keep the soccer team in Rochester. Declining ticket sales and a lack of corporate and fan support pushed owners David and Wendy Dworkin up against a deadline: if they don't raise $1.3 million by November 30, the team won't play in 2018.

The Dworkin's  announcement came just one day after the Rattlers announced their team will be moving to Dallas. So what's next?

This hour, we discuss what the future may hold for the Rhinos, for Capelli Sport Stadium and its surrounding neighborhood, and for minor league sports in Rochester.  Our guests:

  • David and Wendy Dworkin, owners of the Rochester Rhinos
  • Scott Pitoniak, longtime Rochester sports columnist and author
  • Jeff DiVeronica, sports writer for the Democrat & Chronicle

Here’s a stat that may surprise you. Only 12 percent of youth in Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes are getting daily physical activity. This means the majority of area youth are not getting 60 minutes a day of active time. That’s one of the stats released in a recent report by the Aspen Institute. The findings are being used by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to improve access to sports, among other things, for area kids. Why this matters to all area residents and what’s being done to address gaps that exist with youth sports and recreational activities on this edition of Need to Know.

An estimated 35 million kids between the ages of five and 18 play an organized sport each year in the U.S. While millions of them are treated for injuries, many are also treated for sports-related stress. Students athletes are feeling pressure to perform: to win games, be awarded scholarships, and meet the expectations of their parents and coaches. 

UR Medicine is hosting a sport summit next month, with the goal of helping students, parents, and coaches learn how to achieve greater balance in the lives of young athletes. We preview the summit with a discussion about the value of nutrition, mindfulness, sleep, and more. In studio:

  • Dr. Michael Maloney, M.D., director of University Sports Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Jane Andrews, nutrition and labeling manager for Wegmans Food Markets
  • Erica Denman, owner and founder of Balance Fitness and Yoga in Webster, and instruction specialist with the Webster Central School District
  • Kayla Purcell, student athlete at Webster Schroder High School
  • Lindsay Stone, college-bound swimmer

New rules for youth sports were recently introduced with the goal of mandating rest and reducing injuries.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has approved rules that limit pitch counts for modified, freshman, junior varsity, and varsity athletes. U.S.A. Football, the national governing body for amateur football, created a new format called "modified tackle" that reduces tackling and pileups. This comes after declining participation among young athletes, whose parents think the game is not safe for children.

Are the new rules realistic? Do they go far enough? We discuss these questions with student athletes and members of the medical community. Our guests:

  • Dr. Michael Maloney, M.D., chief of sports medicine and professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at UR Medicine
  • Dr. Gregg Nicandri, M.D., sports medicine physician and associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at UR Medicine
  • Caleb Punter, member of the Webster Schrader baseball team
  • Ashton Fantigrassi, member of the Webster Thomas football team

The Unified Sports program is growing in Western New York, but many of us are not familiar with the initiative.

Our guests explain how "unified" means inclusion, and how the program is impacting hundreds of students locally. You can watch a video of the program in action at Gates Chili High School and Spencerport High School. Our guests:

  • Billy Harmon, senior at Gates Chili High School, and student athlete with Unified basketball
  • Michael Saporito, tenth grader at Gates Chili High School, and student athlete with Unified basketball
  • Kimberle Ward, superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District
  • Tray Burton, Unified basketball coach at Edison Career and Technology High School in the Rochester City School District
  • Mike Murray, athletic director for Churchville-Chili Central School District
  • Dennis Fries, past president and current liaison to Unified basketball with Section V

We talk to Arshay Cooper, an author, chef, and motivational speaker who has dedicated his life to keeping young people off the street. Cooper grew up on the Westside of Chicago and was raised by a single mother who struggled with a drug addiction. He says his brothers and friends joined gangs and were involved with drugs, but he had a different vision for his future. In 1997, he joined the country’s first all-black high school rowing team – an experience that changed his life. It’s the subject of his memoir, Suga Water. 

Cooper is in Rochester to give a talk and attend the Head of the Genesee Regatta, but first, he’s our guest on Connections.

A generation ago, April would mark the start of schools’ baseball and softball season – but for many young athletes today, the season lasts all year long as they compete for positions on their school teams, club teams, and shoot for the slim chance at a collegiate scholarship. Parents feel the strain, too: running kids to multiple games on the same weekend day, and feeling the pressure to keep kids in one sport all year round.

Middle school and high school athletes whose bones and muscles have not fully formed yet run the risk of doing serious damage to their bodies. Some are requiring surgery at a young age. So what should the limits be? Our guests:

  • Dr. Michael Maloney, professor in the department of orthopedics, UR Medicine
  • Dr. Katie Rizzone, assistant professor in the departments of orthopedics, and rehabilitation and pediatrics, UR Medicine
  • Hayleigh Palotti, sophomore at Livonia High School and a cross country runner
  • Charlie Siragusa, student at McQuaid Jesuit High School and a volleyball player
  • Jessica Siragusa, sophomore at Mercy High School, and volleyball player and track athlete
  • Lisa Siragusa, Charlie and Jessica's mom

Not many brackets had the Syracuse Orange in the Final Four of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. They're the tournament's first 10 seed to do it, and for the first time, the men and women are in the Final Four in the same season. But the men almost didn't have the opportunity, and not just because they were a controversial selection for the tournament. NCAA violations meant that the men would have to sit out one postseason. So how did they pull this off?

Our panel talks about the violations, the bounce back, the future of Jim Boeheim, and more. Our guests:

  • Toby Motyka, weekend sports anchor for 13WHAM News
  • Jeff DiVeronica, sportswriter for the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Kim Brown, director of strategic communications and digital engagement for the Syracuse University Office of Alumni Engagement