Applied Sports Science newsletter – December 7, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for December 7, 2017


Saints rookie Alvin Kamara is leading a running back evolution – The Washington Post

The Washington Post, Adam Kilgore from

In the weeks and months leading into the 2017 NFL draft, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton watched several running backs work out in person. He separated them into tiers, ranking them in order of preference. He inspected a small, jitterbug-quick back from North Carolina A&T, Tarik Cohen, and came away wanting to draft him. Just above Cohen, though, was another back Payton studied in a private workout. When the draft came and rolled into the third round, Payton seized the chance to trade up, into the 67th overall pick, and draft Alvin Kamara.

Kamara has erupted, becoming the most explosive player on one of the league’s best teams and the clear favorite for rookie of the year. He has rushed for 606 yards, caught 59 passes for another 614 yards and scored 11 total touchdowns. The manner in which Kamara plays is instructive, a sign of where NFL offense is headed. Kamara is a running back comfortable taking on the duties of a wide receiver. Kamara may be the idealized version of a versatile back, but there are more like him on the way.


Marshon Lattimore: Saints Rookie CB Thriving in New Orleans | SI.comSI-share-whatsappSI-share-whatsappCombined-ShapeCombined-ShapeCloseDownDownDownDownDownDownDownDownDownDownSI-share-whatsappclosecloseclosecloseCombined-ShapeCloseclose, NFL, Jonathan Jones from

The Saints’ standout cornerback fits right in with the New Orleans locker room, and not just because the defense is young. Lattimore has two teammates also from his Cleveland neighborhood, all of whom fully understand what it took for the rookie to get here today.


Chychrun’s return came two months ahead of the most optimistic timeline

Arizona Sports 98.7, Craig Morgan from

… Knee specialist Robert LaPrade performed the surgery at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado on Aug. 3. In less than a week, and on the recommendation of Coyotes trainer Dave Zenobi, Chychrun was headed to Philadelphia to rehab with Bill Knowles, the director of reconditioning and athletic development at HPSports in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Chychrun was determined to beat the timeline for a return that his doctors had set for him.

“At first, they told me no less than six months. Then it was definitely not before the New Year,” Chychrun said. “I honestly didn’t listen to that. I understand people have to be conservative with that and I also understand there’s a way to do it more progressively and aggressively. That’s the way we went.”


Facing The Music: Southampton’s relationship with The Yehudi Menuhin School

The Set Pieces from

… “I just had an email out of the blue from Southampton,” explains Richard Hillier, the school’s headmaster, as we rumble down the M3 from Surrey to the South Coast. “They asked could they come and see us to talk about what they call ‘elite training’.

“So they came up for a one-day visit, had a look around the school, with the head of academy coaching and the academic head of the academy. And we talked, on that occasion, particularly about the integration of academic and professional training, discussing similarities.”

One visit led to another, this time with Edd Vahid, Southampton’s head of academy coaching, who brought a larger team of staff to watch the musical education in action. By then the conversations were more wide-ranging, drilling down into the specifics of how to get the best out of talented children.


Braves announce new head trainer, changes to staff, Gabriel Burns from

The Braves announced several training-staff moves Tuesday, including that long-time head athletic trainer Jeff Porter will make the transition into a senior-advisor role in 2018.

George C. Poulis was named director of player health and head athletic trainer in Porter’s place. Poulis comes from Toronto, where he served as assistant athletic trainer for three years, with his first year coming under Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos when he was in the same capacity with the Blue Jays.


Ryland Morgans: How Wales use Tactical Periodisation

Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin from

… All of our work is global. So the physical work will involve the ball as well as the tactical element we are trying to prepare our players for. It will relate to something we are going to ask the players to do in the tactical session, it’s not isolated. All of our drills are focused on the tactical, technical, physical and mental.

When you’re playing a game, all of those elements are integrated, so that’s how we train as well. It’s all based around football and football movements. We will underpin all our sessions based on the physical principle of training. People might say, ‘that’s only a low-level passing drill.’ But you still have to move, accelerate to receive the ball, think about what foot you’re receiving it on and so on. There is a physical and mental aspect to everything.

The physical stuff Chris [Coleman] would leave to me, so I would design all aspects of training, from the start of the warm-up to the end of the tactical work and small-sided games. He would say, ‘this is how we want to play,’ which was effective for the players we have. The tactical messages were consistent and worked for us.


While on the West Coast, Eagles Determined to Avoid Distraction Ahead of Showdown With Rams, The MMQB, Jenny Vrentas from

Late Sunday night, the Eagles filled up to-go boxes with short ribs, potatoes au gratin and ratatouille on their way out of Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. By Monday morning, they were settled into their home for the week, a hotel in Orange County some 2,700 miles from the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia.

Head coach Doug Pederson seems intent on billing his team’s eight-day West Coast road trip as a normal week—but, it comes at a time when the Eagles are getting both a change of scenery, and a change of messaging.

The former—a change of scenery—was planned well in advance.


Why Trying New Things Is So Hard to Do

The New York Times, Sendhil Mullainathan from

… Habits are powerful. We persist with many of them because we tend to give undue emphasis to the present. Trying something new can be painful: I might not like what I get and must forgo something I already enjoy. That cost is immediate, while any benefits — even if they are large — will be enjoyed in a future that feels abstract and distant. Yes, I want to know what else my favorite restaurant does well, but today I just want my favorite dish.

Overconfidence also holds us back. I am unduly certain in my guesses of what the alternatives will be like, even though I haven’t tried them.


6 Challenges to Understand Before Starting a Wearable Medical Device Project

Design World, Diana Eitzman, Ph.D. and Kris Godbey from

Skin is unlike any other substrate. It sweats, grows hair, secretes oil, harbors bacteria, constantly sheds old cells, regenerates new ones and changes with health, environment and age – characteristics that are far from universal.

Understanding these unique skin factors and the design challenges they present prior to delving into a stick-to-skin device project will help steer the product development process down a clearer path, the benefits of which will be felt by manufacturers, engineers and end users alike. Not only will implementation of this knowledge lower the likelihood of irritating or damaging skin – it will also work towards a more cost-effective and time-efficient process. Not addressing these issues from the get-go can elongate a project’s timeline or cause the budget to prematurely run dry.

The good news is that these negative outcomes are preventable.

1. Understanding the science of skin


Ultra-Thin Micro-Fiber Sensed Eyed for Medical Monitoring, Diagnostic Apps

Design News, Elizabeth Montalbano from

Researchers in Singapore have developed one of the smallest and most versatile sensors yet for healthcare applications with the design of a stretchable microfiber sensor with the diameter of a strand of human hair.

A team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) developed the sensor, which can be woven into textiles—such as a glove—to monitor the vital signs of patients, such as heart rates and blood pressure.

The sensor solves a key challenge to the development of wearable technology—the lack of comfort in the design of the sensors necessary to provide the data-collection technology such devices use, said Professor Lim Chwee Teck of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Engineering.


Cloud Video Intelligence and Cloud Natural Language Content Classification are now generally available

Google, Google Cloud Big Data and Machine Learning Blog from

… Since we launched Cloud Video Intelligence earlier this year, we’ve been working closely with our beta users to improve the model’s accuracy and discover new ways to index, search, recommend and moderate video content.

In addition to general availability, Cloud Video Intelligence is now capable of deeper analysis of your videos — everything from shot change detection, to content moderation, to the detection of 20,000 labels. We built this demo to show how you can use Cloud Video Intelligence to search a library of video content. You can learn more about the demo on YouTube. The code is also available on GitHub and has been updated to reflect the latest API.


How implants powered by ultrasound can help monitor health

Stanford University, School of Engineering from

Using safe sound waves to deliver both energy and instructions, a team of researchers unveil a family of ‘electroceuticals’ — tiny devices designed to diagnose and treat disease.


The next 30 years of sports medicine — Andrews Institute’s Dr. Adam Anz on regenerative medicine

Becker's Orthopedic Review, Eric Oliver from

Adam Anz, MD, of Gulf Breeze, Fla.-based Andrews Institute for Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, is leading a randomized controlled trial attempting to regenerate knee cartilage with stem cells.

Dr. Anz, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and stem cell research at the Andrews Institute. He spoke with Becker’s ASC Review about his and the Andrews Institute’s work around regenerative medicine and the future of such treatments.

Dr. Anz is leading the U.S.-based portion of a randomized phase II clinical trial around a cartilage regeneration technology which utilizes mobilized hematopoietic stem cells. The trial originated in Malaysia and was developed by Khay-Yong Saw, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based Kuala Lumpur Sports Medicine Center. The trial started in May 2017 and is in the midst of a 24 to 36-month enrollment period. The FDA is carefully monitoring what would be a first-of-its-kind technology.


Evaluating Talent Distribution on Rosters

The Hardball Times, John LaRue from

Much has been written during the last calendar year about the rise of the super team in baseball. Over the last two seasons, the Dodgers, Astros, Cubs, Cleveland, and the Nationals have mixed some combination of years of effective draft and development, wise free agent acquisitions, enormous roster depth, superstars who are frequently young and cost-controlled, and (in a few cases) large payrolls to build division-winning titans capable of 100+ wins.

However, I come to bury these Caesars, not to praise them. I’m not interested in how these types of teams were built. Rather, I’m more interested in determining which other talent distributions are most effective. Not every team can amass the combination of depth and superstars the super teams have.

Obviously, it’s best to be both deep and talented. But if being both deep and star-laden isn’t an option, is it better to be extremely deep? Or is it better to possess lots of top-end talent, even if it’s surrounded by subpar talent, the so-called Stars-and-Scrubs model? Let’s take a look at MLB roster compositions and see which non-super team methodologies work best.


Does travel distance impact performance in World Cup Qualifying?

The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, Jackson Weaver from

Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup has come to a close, and for many fans, including myself, anger and outrage fill our hearts over our respective country’s inability to qualify. Beyond poor performance, there are a number of factors that disgruntled fans tend to blame, among them injuries, region, and faulty coaching. One of the most common excuses is travel distance and harsh away conditions.

I decided to examine the the impact of travel distance on away results in World Cup Qualifying after reading an older HSAC post on the effect of travel in MLS by current HSAC co-president Brendan Kent, one of the more geographically diverse leagues where home field advantage is considered incredibly important. I came across this article days before the US lost away to Trinidad and Tobago, which led me to a state of massive denial. I wanted to blame CONCACAF for the US’s failure, so I decided to research this topic.


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