Applied Sports Science newsletter – June 30, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 30, 2017


Big Read: You should know Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette, Arden Zwelling from

Typical Bo Bichette story: During his introduction to professional baseball last summer, an 18-year-old Bichette was absolutely tearing up the Gulf Coast League, batting .431/.450/.750 with 31 hits through his first 18 games. It was just a month after he’d been drafted and Bichette was already hearing murmurs he was close to earning a promotion. But somewhere along the way he picked up an injury to his midsection. It hurt like hell and it kept him up all night, yet it wasn’t enough to keep him off the field or prevent him from picking up a pair of hits practically every day.

But then, after two weeks of playing through it, Bichette was forced out of a mid-summer game after only one plate appearance, the howling pain preventing him from even swinging his bat. He went straight to the hospital, where they told him it was likely a virus and that he merely needed to rest. A week later, as he lay screaming in agony in his bed, Bichette reckoned it might not be a virus. So, back to the emergency room he went, where doctors looked at CAT scans and realized something was missing. Turns out, sometime over the preceding weeks, Bichette’s appendix had ruptured. Generally, when that happens, toxic and infectious substances from within the appendix spill into the abdominal cavity, which can cause extreme inflammation and, if not treated immediately, death.


Zach Orr can help Lions, but health concerns make signing LB an issue

ESPN NFL, Michael Rothstein from

It has to start with the physical. Before the Detroit Lions — or any other NFL team — can really consider signing linebacker Zach Orr and bringing him onto a football team, it really must begin there. And teams have to be comfortable enough with the knowledge that any conversation about hiring Orr could end there, too.

This isn’t about returning from a broken leg or a torn ACL or a busted-up shoulder. The reason Orr retired in January, because of a congenital spine and neck condition, is more serious than that. Doctors at the time told Orr the first cervical vertebrae at the top of his spine never fully formed, a condition they said could put him at a greater risk of paralysis — or death. Orr said Wednesday the condition is very rare and that he has been told it carries no additional risk. Yet considering the sport he plays — and the position, which often requires him to run into another player at close to top speed — is a potentially scary situation for everyone involved.


The Epic Untold Story of Nike’s (Almost) Perfect Marathon

WIRED, Science, Ed Caesar from

… Kipchoge’s anxiety came not from the mere prospect of having to race, which he always welcomes, or from the expectations of Nike, which had spent millions of dollars applying the most advanced technology and sports science to get a marathon runner across the finish line in under two hours. Kipchoge was nervous because he simply didn’t know how his body would react to the stress of running so fast for so long. The fastest anyone, ever, had run a marathon was 2:02:57. Kipchoge wanted to run nearly three minutes faster, a 2.4 percent improvement, which might sound small but represents a giant leap in human performance. And when the body fails in the marathon, it can fail dramatically and painfully. Millions of people across the world were tuning in to watch livestreams of the event. Kipchoge, the marathon’s reigning Olympic champion, faced the real prospect of not just failure but mortification.

He was also aware of the skepticism, if not venom, that many obsessive running fans felt toward the Breaking2 project. Since Nike announced its effort to break the two-hour mark last December, many have called it a barely veiled marketing exercise for the shoe behemoth and a derogation of the sport’s spirit. Some decried Breaking2’s emphasis on record-breaking in a sport recently beset by a myriad of doping scandals, particularly from East Africa. A typical post on the influential LetsRun message board read simply, “What a stupid publicity stunt.


Are England youngsters getting the experience? The scout’s expert view

Sky Sports, Rob Mackenzie with Adam Bate from

England’s Under-21 side might be out of the European Championships after their penalty shootout defeat to Germany but it has still been an impressive summer for the nation’s youth teams.

Recruitment specialist Rob Mackenzie examines their experience levels relative to their rivals and why this is important for scouts when assessing their potential.


Experts’ Roundtable: Athletic Performance/Strength & Conditioning – ADU

ADU, Tai M. Brown from

There are very few areas of an athletics department that regularly interact with all Student-Athletes on a campus. The men and women who make up Athletic Performance/Strength & Conditioning staffs are among those who consider that interaction a primary function of their responsibilities. In this Experts’ Roundtable we’ve ask four practitioners from institutions around the country to give their insight on the position and all it encompasses.

When discussing Student-Athlete (SA) well being, how does the Athletic Performance staff fit beyond just strength & conditioning?

Elisa Angeles (Director of Olympic Strength & Conditioning, Florida State University): I believe the “Athletic Performance” staff consists of much more than just strength and conditioning. There are many components that need to effectively work together to maximize the level of service that can be provided by a successful Athletic Performance Department. S&C, Athletic Training, Sports Nutrition, Mental Conditioning, Student Welfare & Development, and Academic Services all have a large stake in SA performance.


Consciousness helps us learn quickly in a changing world

New Scientist, Daily News, Anil Ananthaswamy from

… In the 19th century, Thomas Henry Huxley and others argued that such consciousness is an “epiphenomenon” – a side effect of the workings of the brain that has no causal influence, the way a steam whistle has no effect on the way a steam engine works.

More recently, neuroscientists have suggested that consciousness enables us to integrate information from different senses or keep such information active for long enough in the brain that we can experience the sight and sound of car passing by, for example, as one unified perception, even though sound and light travel at different speeds.


The Size and Scope of Collegiate Athletic Training Facilities and Staffing. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Athletic Training from


  Athletic training facilities have been described in terms of general design concepts and from operational perspectives. However, the size and scope of athletic training facilities, along with staffing at different levels of intercollegiate competition, have not been quantified.

  To define the size and scope of athletic training facilities and staffing levels at various levels of intercollegiate competition. To determine if differences existed in facilities (eg, number of facilities, size of facilities) and staffing (eg, full time, part time) based on the level of intercollegiate competition.

  Cross-sectional study.

  Web-based survey.

  Athletic trainers (ATs) who were knowledgeable about the size and scope of athletic training programs.

  Athletic training facility size in square footage; the AT’s overall facility satisfaction; athletic training facility component spaces, including satellite facilities, game-day facilities, offices, and storage areas; and staffing levels, including full-time ATs, part-time ATs, and undergraduate students.

  The survey was completed by 478 ATs (response rate = 38.7%) from all levels of competition. Sample means for facilities were 3124.7 ± 4425 ft2 (290.3 ± 411 m2) for the central athletic training facility, 1013 ± 1521 ft2 (94 ± 141 m2) for satellite athletic training facilities, 1272 ± 1334 ft2 (118 ± 124 m2) for game-day athletic training facilities, 388 ± 575 ft2 (36 ± 53 m2) for athletic training offices, and 424 ± 884 ft2 (39 ± 82 m2) for storage space. Sample staffing means were 3.8 ± 2.5 full-time ATs, 1.6 ± 2.5 part-time ATs, 25 ± 17.6 athletic training students, and 6.8 ± 7.2 work-study students. Division I schools had greater resources in multiple categories (P < .001). Differences among other levels of competition were not as well defined. Expansion or renovation of facilities in recent years was common, and almost half of ATs reported that upgrades have been approved for the near future. CONCLUSIONS:

  This study provides benchmark descriptive data on athletic training staffing and facilities. The results (1) suggest that the ATs were satisfied with their facilities and (2) highlight the differences in resources among competition levels.


To What Extent Can We Shorten HRV Analysis in Wearable Sensing? A Case Study on Mental Stress Detection. | SpringerLink

European Medical and Biological Engineering Confernce Nordic-Baltic Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics from

Mental stress is one of the first causes of cognitive dysfunctions, cardiovascular disorders and depression. In addition, it reduces performances, on the work place and in daily life. The diffusion of wearablesensors (embedded in smart-watches, phones, etc.) has opened up the potential to assess mental stress detection through ultra-shortterm Heart Rate Variability (HRV) analysis (i.e., less than 5 min).Although informative analyses of features coming from short HRV (i.e., 5 min) have already been performed, the reliability of ultra-short HRVremains unclear. This study aims to tackle this gap by departing from a systematic review of the existing literature and investigating, in healthy subjects, the associations between acute mental stress and short/ultra-short term HRV features in time, frequency, and non-linear domains. Building on these findings, three experiments were carried outto empirically assess the usefulness of HRV for mental stress detection using ultra-short term analysis and wearable devices. Experiment 1 detected mental stress in a real life situation by exploring to which extent HRV excerpts can be shortened without losing their ability to detect mental stress. This allowed us to advance a method to explore to what extentultra-short HRV features can be consideredas good surrogates of 5 min HRV features. Experiment 2 and 3 sought todevelop automatic classifiers to detect mental stress through 2 min HRV excerpts, by usinga Stroop Color Word Test(CWT) and a highly pacedvideo game, which are two common laboratory-based stressors.

Results from experiment 1 demonstrated that7ultra-short HRV features can be considered as good surrogates ofshort HRV features in detecting mental stress in real life.By leveraging these 7 features,experiment 2 and 3 offered an automatic classifier detecting mental stress with ultra-short features (2min), achieving sensitivity, specificity and accuracy rate above 60%.


New wearables boast always-on tracking that lasts a week

CNET, Scott Stein from

The idea of tracking kids or older loved ones with a wearable band isn’t new, but the devices out there don’t have great battery life.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 1200 chips aim to fix some of these problems by riding a middle ground between high-end smartwatch and regular fitness band. The new chip, announced at Mobile World Congress Shanghai, uses a different slice of your standard cellular network called LTE IoT, a technology that promises to be more power-efficient.

This technology isn’t available everywhere yet. But when it is, these chips could connect trackers to the cellular network and last a lot longer. Qualcomm’s previous generation of connected chips aimed at kid watches and elderly trackers, the Snapdragon Wear 1100, debuted in 2016 but required more frequent charging.


Marco Altini’s answer to Is there any wristband activity tracker that tracks HRV reliably enough?

Quora, Marco Altini from

Yes. The Zoom HRV sensor provides accurate RR intervals and complies to standard protocols (Bluetooth 4.0 heart rate profile) so that you can use it with your favorite HRV app (e.g. HRV4Training or Elite HRV) similarly to how you would use a chest strap. An analysis of the data, limitations and additional considerations can be found in this blog post: Wrist-based HRV analysis update


Whole Genome Tests’ Risks And Benefits : Shots – Health News : NPR

NPR, Shots blog, Rob Stein from

Advances in technology have made it much easier, faster and less expensive to do whole genome sequencing — to spell out all three billion letters in a person’s genetic code. Falling costs have given rise to speculation that it could soon become a routine part of medical care, perhaps as routine as checking your blood pressure.

But will such tests, which can be done for as little as $1,000, prove useful, or needlessly scary?

The first closely-controlled study aimed at answering that question suggests that doctors and their patients can handle the flood of information the tests would produce. The study was published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“We can actually do genome sequencing in normal, healthy individuals without adverse consequences — and actually with identification of some important findings,” says Teri Manolio, director of the division of genomic medicine at the National Human Genome Institute, which funded the study. Manolio wrote an editorial accompanying the paper.


Oxford Nanopore’s Hand-Held DNA Analyzer Has Traveled the World

MIT Technology Review, Antonio Regalado from

Last June, a British-Brazilian scientific team boarded a bus that had been turned into a makeshift laboratory and headed out to tour six cities across northeastern Brazil.

The researchers were there to find mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus and sequence its genome in their blood, since the evolution of the viral genome contains clues to the epidemic’s origins. But rather than collect insects and send the samples back to a central lab, they’d outfitted the bus with everything they needed to do the research. The most important item: a DNA sequencer about the size and weight of a deck of cards that runs off a laptop USB plug and costs just $1,000.


Concussion protocols at 2014 World Cup failed Fifa standards, study finds

The Guardian, Nicola Davis from

Head collisions experienced by footballers during the 2014 World Cup were not tackled according to Fifa’s own standards, research has revealed.

A team of doctors from Canada have found that after almost two-thirds of the head collision events that occurred during the tournament, the players involved did not receive an assessment on the sidelines by healthcare personnel.

In addition, the assessments that did take place were very brief – a situation the doctors say is concerning.


Daily Distribution of Macronutrient Intakes of Professional Soccer Players From the English Premier League. – PubMed – NCBI

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism from

The daily distribution of macronutrient intake can modulate aspects of training adaptations, performance and recovery. We therefore assessed the daily distribution of macronutrient intake (as assessed using food diaries supported by the remote food photographic method and 24 h recalls) of professional soccer players (n=6) of the English Premier League during a 7-day period consisting of two match days and five training days. On match days, average carbohydrate (CHO) content of the pre-match (<1.5 body mass) and post-match (1 body mass) meals (in recovery from an evening kick-off) were similar (P>0.05) though such intakes were lower than contemporary guidelines considered optimal for pre-match CHO intake and post-match recovery. On training days, we observed a skewed and hierarchical approach (P<0.05 for all comparisons) to protein feeding such that dinner (0.8>lunch (0.6>breakfast (0.3>evening snacks (0.1 We conclude players may benefit from consuming greater amounts of CHO in both the pre-match and post-match meals so as to increase CHO availability and maximize rates of muscle glycogen re-synthesis, respectively. Furthermore, attention should also be given to ensuring even daily distribution of protein intake so as to potentially promote components of training adaptation.


A Roll of the Dice, Part 2

Ben Falk, Cleaning the Glass blog from

… Judgment Under Uncertainty

It’s something we all do all of the time. There are the regular, small decisions: what clothes to wear that day, what route to drive, which restaurant to go to. Then there are the less common, larger decisions: which college to attend, which job to take, who to marry. All of them involve some degree of uncertainty, some amount of important unknowns — and yet we have to decide.

This is the primary work of a basketball operations employee, whether GM, coach or video room intern. All are there to make, or help make, basketball decisions. Who to draft, whether to agree to a trade, how much money to offer a player, which lineup to use, how to defend the pick-and-roll. All of these are very important decisions and all of them have highly uncertain outcomes. But, again, we have to decide somehow. So how do we do this? How should we do this?


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