Dragon boat racing motivates cancer survivors to battle upstream.
from Purdue News Service
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University sport and exercise psychology professor will follow about 50 breast cancer survivors on Indianapolis' newly formed dragon boat racing team to better understand how such camaraderie affects quality of life issues.
"These breast cancer survivors are literally all in the same boat together," says Meghan McDonough, an assistant professor of health and kinesiology who studies the role relationships play in physical activity. "This is a wonderful opportunity to work with a team as it forms and to really understand how these women's involvement and relationships affect their lives.Dragon boat racing began more than 2,000 years ago in China. In 1996, a sports medicine physician at the University of British Columbia encouraged a team of breast cancer survivors to begin competing. Since then, hundreds of breast cancer survivors have formed dragon boat racing teams. The Indianapolis team is believed to be the 50th breast cancer team in the United States.
"Dragon boat racing has elements of learning, competing and excelling together as a team," McDonough says. "People of all different levels and abilities can do this together. Even women who are physically unable to compete can assist with planning events and organizing."
McDonough, who studied other teams in Canada, has shown that social relationships on established racing teams play a big part in psychological outcomes, specifically quality of life issues, including social support, managing stress and positive psychological growth.
There are about 50 women participating on Indy SurviveOars, including breast cancer survivors ranging in age from 30 to 80. Starting this week, they will train weekly at the Hamilton Southeastern High School pool near the Geist Reservoir in Fishers, Ind., and begin competing this summer. The boat, which has the head of a dragon, is 43 feet long and is propelled by 20 paddlers.
Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Meghan McDonough, (765) 496-9483, email@example.com
Emily Brenner, media contact at Indy SurviveOars, (317) 496-3109, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com
Meghan McDonough, an assistant professor of health and kinesiology, studies the quality of life for breast cancer survivors who participate in dragon boat racing. McDonough studied other teams in Canada and has found social relationships established on racing teams play a big part in psychological outcomes, specifically quality of life issues including social support, managing stress and positive psychological growth. The boat in the photo is an example of a dragon boat. (Photo provided)