Applied Sports Science newsletter – August 27, 2016

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 27, 2016


Meet the Eatons

CNN Video from August 21, 2016

CNN’s Coy Wire sits down with an Olympic power couple.


Jack Harrison: from Manchester United to No1 draft pick and Yankee Stadium

The Guardian from August 24, 2016

… Harrison left for the US in 2011, aged 14, and said that he immediately found the education system in America “a real hit in the face.” In England, he joked, some of his teachers would forgive him for not completing his homework if he had attended United training late the night before. But here there were no excuses for a schedule that incorporated his soccer practices and additional study time in the evenings.

“One of his greatest attributes was that he was willing to ask questions, to advocate for himself, to be involved,” Dan Driscoll, the director of athletics at Berkshire, said. “He took advantage of every opportunity. I think the thing that separates the ones that have truly reached the highest levels are the intangibles — the drive, the grit, the leadership abilities — and Jack also showed those from the minute he walked onto the field as a little pipsqueak, as a freshman.”


Zinedine Zidane’s emphasis on teamwork reaping rewards for Real Madrid – ESPN FC

ESPN FC, Ed Alvarez from August 24, 2016

Eight months after Zinedine Zidane took over Real Madrid’s first team, “todos juntos” (“all together”) has undoubtedly become his motto for the side. In most of his public appearances, Zidane has put the emphasis on an extremely simple concept: if they all work together in defending then, given the level of attacking skill in the squad, victories will come.

While the theory sounds astute, its implementation poses more problems. Every time Zidane starts Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in attack, the “all together” concept shifts toward “almost all together,” as it is rare to see an instance of all three forwards defending at the same time even in the early stages of a match.

The Champions League final against Atletico Madrid in May was an excellent example. A tired Ronaldo, a probably injured Benzema and a tactically lazy — although extremely dangerous going forward — Bale left the rest most of the defensive work to the rest of the side. The gamble worked out.


Mavs’ Wesley Matthews vows to be better, stronger one year after Achilles injury

Official Website of the Dallas Mavericks from August 22, 2016

After battling his way back onto the court following a gruesome Achilles injury that ended his 2014-15 campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers, sharpshooter Wesley Matthews says Dallas Mavericks fans will see him at his best during the upcoming season.

Tearing his left Achilles against the Mavericks on March 5, 2015, Matthews admits that his goal was simply to be on the court Opening Night to begin last season after signing a reported four-year deal worth $70 million to come to Dallas. However, the seven-year veteran struggled to regain his form while shaking off the effects of the injury during his first campaign with the Mavs, starting all 78 of his appearances while averaging 12.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists. And after shooting just 38.8 percent from the field and 36 percent from three-point range, Matthews says he shifted his focus this summer to returning to the court a better player and a better leader.

“I want the season to start now,” Matthews proclaimed last week after surprising 60 kids from Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas with a back-to-school shopping spree.


How Gwen Jorgensen Overhauled Her Bike Training to Conquer Rio

LAVA Magazine from August 25, 2016

The top female triathlete in the world has a secret. Despite having the most dominant season in ITU history in 2015, winning every event she entered, Gwen Jorgensen knew there was something she longed to improve. With the most important season of her life ahead, she spent a week working undercover with a team of top cyclists and sports scientists to tackle one of her biggest self-perceived weakness – bike handling and technical skill going fast downhill. In her own words, “I had a hard time coping with high speeds and technical descents on the bike.” So with everything on the line, it was time to tackle these fears head on.


The Consequences of Reading Inaccurate Information

Current Directions in Psychological Science from August 01, 2016

We are regularly confronted with statements that are inaccurate, sometimes obviously so. Unfortunately, people can be influenced by and rely upon inaccurate information, engaging in less critical evaluation than might be hoped. Empirical studies have consistently demonstrated that even when people should know better, reading inaccurate information can affect their performance on subsequent tasks. What encourages people’s encoding and use of false statements? The current article outlines how reliance on inaccurate information is a predictable consequence of the routine cognitive processes associated with memory, problem solving, and comprehension. This view helps identify conditions under which inaccurate information is more or less likely to influence subsequent decisions. These conditions are informative in the consideration of information-design approaches and instructional methods intended to support critical thinking.


Controlled Frequency Breathing Reduces Inspiratory Muscle Fatigue. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from August 16, 2016

Controlled frequency breathing (CFB) is a common swim training modality involving holding one’s breath for about 7 to 10 strokes before taking another breath. We sought to examine the effects of CFB training on reducing respiratory muscle fatigue. Competitive college swimmers were randomly divided into either the CFB group that breathed every 7 to 10 strokes, or a control group that breathed every 3-4 strokes. Twenty swimmers completed the study. The training intervention included 5-6 weeks (16 sessions) of 12×50-m repetitions with breathing 8-10 breaths per 50m (control group), or 2-3 breaths per 50-m (CFB group). Inspiratory muscle fatigue was defined as the decrease in maximal inspiratory mouth-pressure (MIP) between rest and 46s after a 200 yard free-style swimming race [115s (SD 7)]. Aerobic capacity, pulmonary diffusing capacity, and running economy were also measured pre and post-training. Pooled results demonstrated a 12% decrease in MIP at 46s post-race [-15 (SD 14) cm H2O, Effect size = -0.48, p 0.05]. However, swimming performance, aerobic capacity, pulmonary diffusing capacity, and running economy did not improve (p > 0.05) post-training in either group. In conclusion, CFB training appears to prevent inspiratory muscle fatigue yet no difference was found in performance outcomes.


Deliberate Practice – Player Development Project

Player Development Project, Ray Power from August 23, 2016

… The truth then about talent development is probably somewhere in the middle. Somewhere in between a naturally gifted Messi and a practice-manufactured David Beckham (that is a slight on neither of them – young players could learn a tremendous amount from both). … Since reading these books, I began to think and apply the theories to football coaching. I began a journey of investigation – some of the journey admittedly had already been studied and dissected already – but I felt there was something missing. I knew that the Brazilian favelas were breeding grounds for flair players, and I also knew that West Africa would produce more big league players than East Africa, but what could I do as a coach? The theory is fine – but what happens on the training pitch? Or better still – what should happen on the training pitch to maximise player development?


Sleep, Running, and the Myth of the ‘Two Nights Before’ Rule

Whoop, The Locker blog from August 04, 2016

… At the end of the cross country season, I compiled the season’s worth of WHOOP recovery data from myself and my teammates and noticed some exciting trends: As the myth suggested, sleep the night before a race didn’t strongly correlate with performance, but getting more sleep two nights before a race did statistically significantly correlate with performance. I noticed that an additional 30 minutes of sleep was correlated with about a 7-second improvement performance over an 8K race. The results made total sense to me: if you are nervous and don’t sleep well the night before a big race, but you do sleep well leading up to the race, you can power through the single night of sleep loss and still have a strong performance. However, if you also don’t sleep well two nights before, there is too much sleep debt to simply “power through,” and your body will not be sufficiently recovered to race well.


Olympic Gold May Depend on the Brain’s Reward Chemical – Scientific American

Scientific American, Robin Wylie from August 05, 2016

Scientists have been searching for a genetic explanation for athletic ability for decades. So far their efforts have focused largely on genes related to physical attributes, such as muscular function and aerobic efficiency. But geneticists have also started to investigate the neurologicalbasis behind what makes someone excel in sports—and new findings implicate dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for the feelings of reward and pleasure. Dopamine is also involved in a host of other mental functions, including the ability to deal with stress and endure pain. Consequently, the new research supports the idea that the mental—not just the physical—is what sets elite athletes above the rest.

In an effort to piece together what makes a great athlete great, researchers at the University of Parma in Italy collected DNA from 50 elite athletes (ones who had achieved top scores at an Olympic Games or other international competition) and 100 nonprofessional athletes (ones who played sports regularly, but below competitive level). They then compared four genes across the two groups that had previously been suggested as linked to athletic ability: one related to muscle development, one involved with transporting dopamine in the brain, another that regulates levels of cerebral serotonin and one involved in breaking down neurotransmitters.

The researchers found a significant genetic difference between the two groups in only one of the genes: the one involved in transporting dopamine.


The Surprising Scientific Link Between Happiness And Decision Making | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Fast Company from August 23, 2016

How do you make decisions? Some people want to find the absolute best option (“maximizers”). Others, known as “satisficers,” have a set of criteria, and go for the first option that clears the bar.

While wanting the best seems like a good thing, research from Swarthmore College finds that satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers.

This is true for two reasons. First, people who want the best tend to be prone to regret. “If you’re out to find the best possible job, no matter how good it is, if you have a bad day, you think there’s got to be something better out there,” says Barry Schwartz, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and author of The Paradox of Choice.


Rio 2016: Team GB’s top secret science that makes Laura Trott world-beater

The Sun, UK from August 18, 2016

Room X is the new name for what used to be called the Secret Squirrel Club.

It is the place at British Cycling’s HQ where all the technology, information and know-how from a range of experts is pulled together to give the athletes the best chance of success.


Rio Olympics 2016: How did Team GB make history? – BBC Sport

BBC Sport from August 22, 2016

It has been an Olympic fiesta like never before for Britain: their best medal haul in 108 years, second in the medal table, the only host nation to go on to win more medals at the next Olympics.

Never before has a Briton won a diving gold. Never before has a Briton won a gymnastics gold. There have been champions across 15 different sports, a spread no other country can get close to touching.

It enabled Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport, the body responsible for distributing funds from national government to Olympic sports, to declare on the final day of competition in Rio that Britain was now a “sporting superpower”.


Applying Science at Notre Dame

Training & Conditioning from August 17, 2016

Duncan French, PhD, CSCS, USAW, is a foreign man in a new land, which is appropriate since he faces uncharted waters in his new position as Director of Performance Science at the University of Notre Dame. A veteran European strength and conditioning coach who has a PhD in exercise physiology, French was brought to Notre Dame in January to help improve the athletic department’s performance enhancement services.

What makes his role different is its focus on applying the latest science to improve performance across the board. French does not oversee Notre Dame’s Sports Performance Division. Nor does he serve as a strength coach for any particular team.

Rather, he is charged with keeping up with the latest research and its applications, then figuring out how to use them with Fighting Irish teams and athletes. “The modern world of sports performance is driven by scientific insights,” says French, who was previously Head of Strength and Conditioning for the Newcastle United Football Club in the English Premier League, as well as Great Britain’s Olympic taekwondo and basketball programs. “That’s been the norm in Australia and Europe for a while, and it is coming to North America now. We want to be at the front of that change.”


Effects of intermittent sprint and plyometric training on endurance running performance

Journal of Sport and Health Science from August 17, 2016


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of intermittent sprint training and plyometric training on endurance running performance.

Fourteen moderately trained male endurance runners were allocated into either the intermittent sprint training group (n?=?7) or the plyometric training group (n?=?7). The preliminary tests required subjects to perform a treadmill graded exercise test, a countermovement jump test for peak power measurement, and a 10-km time trial. Training included 12 sessions of either intermittent sprint or plyometric training carried out twice per week. On completion of the intervention, post-tests were conducted. Both groups showed significant reduction in weekly training mileage from preintervention during the intervention period.

There were significant improvements in the 10-km time trial performance and peak power. There was also significant improvement in relative peak power for both groups. The 10-km time trial performance and relative peak power showed a moderate inverse correlation.

These findings showed that both intermittent sprint and plyometric training resulted in improved 10-km running performance despite reduction in training mileage. The improvement in running performance was accompanied by an improvement in peak power and showed an inverse relationship with relative peak power.


3 Effective Ways to Maintain Skill Acquisition In-Season

LeCharles Bentley O-Line Performance from August 24, 2016

The irony of being in-season for offensive line play is the fact you spend the most time involved in your skill, but the least amount of time engaged in it. The typical “individual period” during practice is a set of drills players hurry through while their minds are focused on inside run, blitz pickup, one on ones, and team. The players are going through the motions, but aren’t truly engaged in the process. It’s just the nature of the beast while being in-season. The unfortunate downside to this reality is that offensive line athletes must prevent the erosion the skill sets that up to this point they have so meticulously cultivated. Due to the demands, the season adds a heightened level of stress to the mind and body. Neglecting the sharpening of your skills will only inflate that stress. Investing the necessary attention and time to your skill maintenance will reap multiple benefits throughout the duration of the season.


Three Surprising, Science-Backed Ways To Improve Your Decision Making

Fast Company from August 22, 2016

… There’s probably no way to avoid making poor choices altogether, but we might be able to make better ones a bit more often—even with some unexpected methods. Here’s a look at three scientific findings that suggest offbeat but potentially effective ways to improve your decision making.

1. Dim The Lights


Relationship Between Blood Flow and Performance Recovery: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study: International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance: Vol 0, No 0

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance from May 03, 2016


This study investigated the effect of different limb blood flow levels on cycling performance recovery, blood lactate concentration and heart rate.

Thirty-three high-intensity intermittent trained athletes completed two 30 s Wingate anaerobic test sessions: 3 x 30 s Wingate test (WAnT 1-3) and 1 x 30 s Wingate test (WAnT 4), on a cycling ergometer. The two Wingate test sessions (WAnT 1-3 and WAnT 4) were separated by a randomly assigned 24 min recovery intervention selected from among: blood flow restriction, passive rest, placebo stimulation or neuromuscular electrical stimulation-induced blood flow. Calf arterial inflow was measured by venous occlusion plethysmography at regular intervals throughout the recovery period. Performance was measured in terms of peak power and mean power output during the first (WAnT 1) and the fourth (WAnT 4) Wingate test.

Following the recovery interventions, a large (r = 0.68 (90% CL 0.42; 0.83)), and very large (r = 0.72 (90% CL 0.49; 0.86)) positive correlation was observed between the change in calf arterial inflow and the change in mean power and peak power output, respectively. Calf arterial inflow was significantly higher during the neuromuscular electrical stimulation recovery intervention compared to the blood flow restriction, passive rest and placebo stimulation interventions (P 0.05). No recovery effect was linked to heart rate or blood lactate levels.

For the first time, these data support the existence of a positive correlation between an increase in blood flow and performance recovery between bouts of high-intensity exercise. As a practical consideration, this effect can be obtained by using neuromuscular electrical stimulation-induced blood flow since this passive, simple strategy could be easily applied during short-term recovery.


Dabo Swinney explains why Clemson’s nap room is like kindergarten from August 24, 2016

… “One of the biggest things I learned a couple years ago studying these athletes, the biggest problem in a lot of people’s eyes, as I’ve listened to these doctors talk, is a lack of sleep on college campuses,” Swinney said on The Jim Rome Show. “They don’t sleep, and now that affects their mental health, and then you have all of these mental health issues and so forth. I’ve seen it. In our building here I can come in, and if a guy gets some time in between class, we got meetings coming up, but he didn’t want to go back home, so he’s over here, and I walk in the team room and its dark, and there’s guys just lying on the floor asleep or whatever.

“So we just decided, let’s make a nice nap room where those guys have a chance to lay down and catch a little nap. So that’s where that came from, and I think that something these guys are going to love. So we are going to have some natural lighting in there. I think we have a fish tank or something like that, but it will be great.”


How High Performance Coach of the Year Danny Kerry has put the Great into British hockey

sports coach UK, Connected Coaches from August 12, 2016

… His darkest hour came in the aftermath of The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games when he stood at a crossroads in his career following a brutal debriefing session that saw him being criticised by his own athletes.

It proved to be a light bulb moment, setting him on a completely different direction with respect to his coaching style and philosophy – a transformation that would in due course also help transform the fortunes of the national team, which took that giant leap from decent international side to world-beaters.


Explainer: what is gene doping – and will any athletes at Rio 2016 have tried it?

The Conversation, Colin Moran from August 08, 2016

Gene doping is simply gene therapy in people who don’t need it. The aim of gene therapy is to permanently cure sick individuals of their conditions by altering their genetic makeup. The aim of gene doping, meanwhile, is to artificially enhance an individual – to make them better than themselves, perhaps even everyone – by altering their genetic makeup. In many respects, gene doping is similar to conventional performance enhancing drugs – they too are often misused medical treatments. However, gene doping could potentially have permanent effects, good and bad, and be much harder to detect.


The Star In Frisco – Video First Look

Dallas Cowboys from August 21, 2016

Take an exclusive video tour of the Cowboys’ new World Headquarters and Training Facility in Frisco, Texas.


Why Apple’s Move Towards Health Is So Exciting

Gizmodo from August 22, 2016

Apple’s slow creep towards becoming a health company just made a little progress with the acquisition of Gliimpse, a personal health data startup. It’s unclear what Apple plans to do with the company, but I have a free idea for Tim Cook: Let me control my health records on an iPhone. It could save my life.

The Gliimpse purchase isn’t a huge surprise, if only because it was funded by former Apple engineer Anil Sethi. The company’s tagline also aligns well with Apple’s stated philosophy on personal health data. The words are big and bold on Gliimpse’s website: “I should be able to collect my medical records and securely share them with whomever I trust.”

Gliimpse essentially offers a records management system that lets patients add documents, share information with doctors, and add additional information—say, data from an Apple Watch—that might give care providers a clearer picture of their health. It also gives the patient more agency in the whole process.


Reach in and touch objects in videos with “Interactive Dynamic Video”

MIT News from August 02, 2016

We learn a lot about objects by manipulating them: poking, pushing, prodding, and then seeing how they react.

We obviously can’t do that with videos — just try touching that cat video on your phone and see what happens. But is it crazy to think that we could take that video and simulate how the cat moves, without ever interacting with the real one?

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have recently done just that, developing an imaging technique called Interactive Dynamic Video (IDV) that lets you reach in and “touch” objects in videos. Using traditional cameras and algorithms, IDV looks at the tiny, almost invisible vibrations of an object to create video simulations that users can virtually interact with.


New mental health technology tells your doctor what you won’t

ReadWrite from August 23, 2016

Health services around the globe still struggle with mental health disorders, relying on a patient to provide documentation of mood changes in a journal or be open with a doctor or psychiatrist.

Both solutions are not seeing excellent results, which is why U.K. based Cambridge Cognition and Ctrl Group have announced Cognitive Kit, a software platform that lets patient express their mood and improve memory, attention, and reaction on a wearable.

The platform is built into the Apple Watch and Microsoft Band 2, which both feature heart-rate sensors. Other wearable devices will receive support in the future.


Most Fitness Apps Don’t Have Privacy Policy

Shape Magazine from August 24, 2016

… you’re probably not thinking about who else can use that data, which is a major problem according to a new study by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF). After reviewing the massive amount of health and fitness apps on the marketplace, FPF found that a whole 30 percent of fitness-focused apps available don’t have a privacy policy.

This is a big problem because it leaves us all operating in the dark, says Chris Dore, a partner at Edelson PC, a consumer privacy law firm. “When it comes to fitness apps, the data that’s being collected starts to border on medical information,” he says. “Especially when you’re putting in information like weight and body mass index or connecting an app to a device that’s taking your heart rate.”


New Fitabase R&D chief wants to make wearables data more ‘actionable’

MedCity News from August 25, 2016

The first Fitbit hit the market in late 2009. While that may seem like a lifetime ago in the tech world, the new head of research and development at Fitabase believes that the wearable fitness gadgets are only now starting to realize their potential.

“I feel like we’re just scratching the surface,” said Ernesto Ramirez, who started Aug. 2 as R&D chief at Fitabase, a research platform made by San Diego-based startup Small Steps Labs.

Ramirez came over from Quantified Self Labs, where he managed the company’s website and planned conferences. He also recently completed a Ph.D. in public health at the University of California, San Diego.


8 High-Tech Ideas That Will Change the Shoe World | Footwear News

Footwear News from August 25, 2016

… It’s an exciting time, to say the least. “We are in the golden age of innovation in footwear right now,” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst at The NPD Group Inc.

Here, FN ranks eight of the hottest innovations affecting — and yet to affect — the market.



Performance Data 2.0

SGB Media from August 23, 2016

… Steve Rusckowski, president and CEO of Quest Diagnostics, joined the group in 2012 with the decision to open the shutters and show the world how important the company’s services are. How did they quantify the value of diagnostics? They partnered with the NFL’s New York Giants to give biomarker insights based on each individual player’s performance data.

Flash lesson: Biomarkers consist of heart rate, sleep analytics, nutrition & diet, sweat analysis, hydration and anaerobic capacity.

Managers for the Giants saw the value in Quest’s sports diagnostics and began using the same wellness tests on coaching and front-office staff. This trickled into dreams of what diagnostic accessibility could do for community members and other athletes that don’t necessarily have the resources of a pro, and that’s when Blueprint for Athletes was born.

Headed by Richard Schwabacher, executive director of sports and human performance at Quest Diagnostics, Blueprint for Athletes is a major player in the next evolution of data in sports.


Your Body in Extreme Heat

Outside Online, Brad Stulberg from August 23, 2016

For endurance and adventure athletes, heat often feels like a universal nemesis. While strategically training in the heat can yield serious physiological benefits, it can also be very dangerous. When the mercury rises, your entire body is forced to work much harder than normal, which can affect performance and health; this summer’s series of heat waves has led to numerous deaths among athletes.

With global temperatures creeping upward, what was once considered extreme heat is becoming the new normal. Here, we explain what’s happening inside your body when you push it in the heat and, when possible, what you can do to mitigate the damage.


Pitt’s athlete heart testing could spark national attention

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from August 13, 2016

When it was revealed eight days ago that two Pitt football players, freshmen Zack Gilbert and George Hill, would be forced to sit out after being diagnosed with heart conditions, the news was met with an outpouring of disappointment, grief and empathy for two athletes whose respective careers were suddenly in jeopardy or, worse, over before they even could begin.

With that agony, however, came an undercurrent of relief. As awful as this is, the sentiment went, thankfully it was discovered before it was too late, that it was identified through a series of tests instead of an autopsy.

Had either player attended a different school, their ailments might have remained undetected. Pitt requires all of its incoming athletes to receive electrocardiograms (EKGs) and echocardiograms, tests that evaluate a person’s heart and attempt to uncover any abnormalities.

Pitt’s use of those tests puts it at the center of an ongoing discussion over whether such measures should be pervasive and uniform across college athletics. Rare as such heart conditions might be, Pitt has two living examples in Gilbert and Hill who show how effective and important its mandatory medical protocol is.


Winning gold is hard enough, but coping with the post-Olympics blues will be the greatest challenge for Team GB’s stars

Telegraph UK from August 19, 2016

I have loved these Olympics; experiencing the Games from the other side of the fence, so to speak. Challenging myself in different ways, watching more sport than I ever have before. But I have to confess I cannot wait to get home on Tuesday and back to my horses. I have actually bought a new one while I’ve been out here, which is incredibly exciting. He’s not Kauto Star or anything. But I hope to enter him into a few point-to-points and qualify for a few hunter chasers this autumn. I will be back in the yard first thing on Wednesday morning, riding out again. I’m so lucky that I’ve found the thing that makes me happy.

Because, to be honest, this is an area I really struggled with as an athlete: the post-Games blues.


Evidence-based clinical practice update: practice guidelines for anterior cruciate ligament rehabilitation based on a systematic review and multidisciplinary consensus.

British Journal of Sports Medicine from August 18, 2016


The Royal Dutch Society for Physical Therapy (KNGF) instructed a multidisciplinary group of Dutch anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) experts to develop an evidence statement for rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction.

Clinical practice guideline underpinned by systematic review and expert consensus.

A multidisciplinary working group and steering group systematically reviewed the literature and wrote the guideline. MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library were searched for meta-analyses, systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials and prospective cohort studies published between January 1990 and June 2015.

Included literature must have addressed 1 of 9 predetermined clinical topics: (1) preoperative predictors for postoperative outcome, (2) effectiveness of physical therapy, (3) open and closed kinetic chain quadriceps exercises, (4) strength and neuromuscular training, (5) electrostimulation and electromyographic feedback, (6) cryotherapy, (7) measurements of functional performance, (8) return to play and (9) risk for reinjury.

Ninety studies were included as the basis for the evidence statement. Rehabilitation after ACL injury should include a prehabilitation phase and 3 criterion-based postoperative phases: (1) impairment-based, (2) sport-specific training and (3) return to play. A battery of strength and hop tests, quality of movement and psychological tests should be used to guide progression from one rehabilitation stage to the next. Postoperative rehabilitation should continue for 9-12?months. To assess readiness to return to play and the risk for reinjury, a test battery, including strength tests, hop tests and measurement of movement quality, should be used.


Multi-Disciplinary Management of Athletes with Post-Concussion Syndrome: An Evolving Pathophysiological Approach | Neurotrauma

Frontiers in Neurology from August 24, 2016

Historically, patients with sports-related concussion (SRC) have been managed in a uniform fashion consisting mostly of prescribed physical and cognitive rest with the expectation that all symptoms will spontaneously resolve with time. Although this approach will result in successful return to school and sports activities in the majority of athletes, an important proportion will develop persistent concussion symptoms characteristic of post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Recent advances in exercise science, neuroimaging, and clinical research suggest that the clinical manifestations of PCS are mediated by unique pathophysiological processes that can be identified by features of the clinical history and physical examination as well as the use of graded aerobic treadmill testing. Athletes who develop PCS represent a unique population whose care must be individualized and must incorporate a rehabilitative strategy that promotes enhanced recovery of concussion-related symptoms while preventing physical deconditioning. In this review, we present our evolving evidence-based approach to evaluation and management of athletes with PCS that aims to identify the pathophysiological mechanisms mediating persistent concussion symptoms and guides the initiation of individually tailored rehabilitation programs that target these processes. In addition, we outline the important qualified roles that multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals can play in the management of this patient population, and discuss where future research efforts must be focused to further evaluate this evolving pathophysiological approach. [full text]


Will caffeine make you a better athlete? That depends on your DNA

The Globe and Mail from August 19, 2016

In sports, as in life, caffeine is the pick-me-up of choice. When Spanish researchers analyzed more than 20,000 urine samples from national and international athletic competitions a few years ago, three-quarters of the samples contained caffeine.

But does a cup of coffee really make you stronger and faster? That may depend on your genes, according to surprising new data presented at a conference earlier this summer by researchers at the University of Toronto.

Some people metabolize caffeine quickly, while others metabolize it slowly – and there’s growing evidence that the difference can affect not only athletic performance, but also your risk of health problems such as heart attacks.


The Rise and Fall of Gerd Bonk, the World Champion of Doping | VICE Sports

VICE Sports from August 10, 2016

Gerd Bonk approached the bar with an almost pained expression, as though suddenly sad. It was his third and final attempt at the clean and jerk in the 1976 Olympics, and the bar was set to 235 kilograms (about 518 pounds)—17.5 kilograms less than he’d lifted at the European Championships three months prior, when he had set a world record. The East German super heavyweight stood for a moment, eyes closed, head tilted back, face to the sky. Perhaps he was praying.

Then he opened his eyes, bent at the waist, and gripped the bar. In the kind of swift and efficient motion one doesn’t expect from a wide-bodied, six-foot-one, 320-pound hoss, he hoisted the bar to his shoulders, the part of the lift known as the “clean”; from there, he “jerked” the weight, thrusting it quickly above his head. After a moment teetering slightly under the heavy load, arms extended, Bonk dropped the bar and for the first time acknowledged the roaring Montreal crowd. He raised both hands. Smirked. It may not have been a world record, but Bonk had just won Olympic silver.

Bonk was one of 22 weightlifters from the Eastern Bloc to medal at the 1976 Games. Athletes from NATO countries, by contrast, won just two medals. To see the world’s strongest man lose out on the gold was high drama, but Bonk’s defeat only got more fascinating with time. Thirteen years later, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it emerged that he had used an unfathomable amount of steroids—and still didn’t win.


How Can We Save Sport From its Doping Crisis?

Outside Online, Brad Stulberg from August 23, 2016

… While the Games concluded Sunday night, doping will continue to be the dirty frame through which we are forced to view sport going forward. Will we ever regain trust in our athletes and governing bodies? What will it take to institute serious, effective change? We picked the minds of a few leading coaches, scientists, and journalists, all of whom are deeply entrenched in the battle for clean sport.


Recommendation that men with more muscle need more protein challenged

University of Stirling from August 22, 2016

Health and exercise scientists from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence found no difference in the muscle growth response to protein after a full body workout between larger and smaller participants.


Do Antihistamines Increase or Decrease Muscle Soreness? | Runner’s World

Runner's World, Sweat Science blog from August 23, 2016

… A new study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, by Matthew Ely and his colleagues at the University of Oregon, tests the idea that taking a single dose of antihistamine medication can protect you from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after a hard workout. And on the surface, the results are eye-catching: The control group was 19.3 percent weaker the day after the hard workout, while the antihistamine group was only 7.8 percent weaker.

A (partial) cure for DOMS, at last? Not quite. On closer examination, the results are more complex, and tie into a larger debate about the balance between recovery and adaptation.


Britain’s Huge Investment in Summer Olympic Sports Pays Off

The New York Times from August 22, 2016

… Huge investment is at the heart of Britain’s recent success: It finished 10th in medals in 2000 and 2004, fourth in 2008 and third in 2012. After Britain’s performance at the 1996 Olympics, it decided to invest funds raised from the national lottery into elite sports, to improve Britain’s prospects of performing well in the Games.

About three-quarters of Britain’s Olympic funding comes from the national lottery, making it immune from the cuts that have affected much of the government’s spending since 2008. In total, funding for Summer Olympic sports has risen to 350 million British pounds in 2016, or about $460 million, from 59 million British pounds, or about $77.5 million, in 1996.


Rio Olympics 2016: Team GB medal haul makes them a ‘superpower of sport’

BBC Sport from August 22, 2016

Great Britain is “one of the superpowers of Olympic sport” after its performance in Rio, according to UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl. … Britain is the first country to improve on a home medal haul at the next Games, beating the 65 medals from London 2012.


Rio 2016 Olympics: Just how Great were Britain? – BBC Sport

BBC Sport from August 21, 2016

Great Britain smashed their medal target for the 2016 Olympics, achieved a succession of notable ‘firsts’ and caused a major stir by finishing second in the table, above global powerhouse China.


Southeast Asia Is Having Its Best Olympics Ever | FiveThirtyEight

FiveThirtyEight from August 19, 2016

As the Olympics wind down, it’s customary to argue about which parts of the world performed best relative to expectations. The U.S. is a reasonable answer. Maybe Armenia. Probably not India. Definitely not Russia. Here’s a dark horse candidate: Southeast Asia.


Using data to dissect the Australian contingent’s performance at Rio Olympics

BigInsights from August 22, 2016

Without doubt, the Rio Olympic Games were the most data-driven Olympics ever. From Japan to Britain to Australia, almost all the leading nations used predictive and even real time data to “get that edge” over rivals. Some succeeded, some did not. Australia belongs to the latter category.

The performance of Australian sportspersons has been disappointing compared to their previous outings. The country ended up with a medals tally of 29 which included 8 gold. The poor performance, besides a public outcry, forced even the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates to go on record midway through the Games to say that “something has seriously gone wrong in Rio”.


How Britain (population: 65m) beat China (population: 1.4 billion) in the Olympics

The Economist from August 22, 2016

… Britain’s tally of 65 medals in 2012, when London welcomed the world’s athletes, was its best in a century. A total of 29 golds was enough to lift Team GB to third in the world, with as many first-place finishes as France, Germany and Japan combined.

Few expected the Brits to repeat that performance in Rio, if only because such a feat was unprecedented. Host nations typically enjoy an “Olympic bounce”: over the past three decades, most have gradually increased their medal returns in the run-up to a home games, before peaking on their own turf, and tailing off in ensuing tournaments. This trend can largely be explained by hosts funnelling extra money towards sporting programmes in the hope that their athletes will put on a good show on home soil. Nobody wants to be the loser at their own party.

Spending data are hard to find for many countries, since they are reluctant to give away details about their preparation. But an analysis by the BBC has shown that


Japanese Olympic Committee hails record medal haul, states case for more funding

The Japan Times from August 22, 2016

The Japanese Olympic Committee cast a satisfied eye over its biggest-ever Olympic medal haul at the Rio Games on Sunday but warned money must be spent to perform even better at Tokyo 2020.

Japan headed into the final day of competition at Rio 2016 having won a total of 41 medals, bettering the country’s previous best of 38 set four years ago at the London Games. Japan claimed 12 golds — second only to the 16 it took from Athens in 2004 — eight silver and 21 bronzes, and headed into the final day sixth in the overall medal table.

But the JOC has set a target of finishing in the top three with a minimum of 20 gold medals on home turf in four years’ time, and Japan Chef de Mission Seiko Hashimoto warned that the achievement will not come without further investment.


Tactics, Talent, and Success: Diversity in Scoring and Chance Creation

American Soccer Analysis, Benamin Bellman from August 25, 2016

… Money-ballers, regardless of continent, will tell you that 100 million quid is better spent on several great players instead of one Pogba. This piece takes a similar stance; if one player can make all the difference for a team, I want rigorous empirical evidence using on-the-field production and results.

This analysis uses two different data sets. To track patterns in Europe, I’ve collected information for all teams in six leagues for the 2011/12 through 2015/16 seasons: English and Scottish Premier Leagues, Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga, and Bundesliga. This data set has each team’s point total at the end of each season, and the total goals and assists each player contributed in that season. I also use ASA’s shot database for the 2011 through 2015 MLS seasons, tracking scored goals as well as expected goals. Results from these data are not comparable to other leagues, but help us understand patterns in the quality of actual events rather than opaque (and possibly fluky) goal totals.

To track how statistical production is distributed across a team’s players, I’m pulling from my demography background and using Theil’s Entropy Index of diversity (or “E”). This index comes from information theory, and is often used by segregation scholars to understand the diversity of an area’s population across ethnic or economic groups.


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