Applied Sports Science newsletter – September 27, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for September 27, 2021


NBA Anti-Vaxxers Are Pushing Around the League–It’s Working

Rolling Stone, Matt Sullivan from

Conspiracy theories in the locker room. Mask police in the arena. Superstars trying to avoid the shot. After bringing back the culture from Covid, basketball confronts its own civil war

Tigers hire Ryan Garko as new VP of player development, Evan Woodberry from

… “I’ve always said my dream job would be a director of player development for the right organization for the right people,” he said on a teleconference with reporters Thursday. “I just want to tell everyone how thankful I am for this opportunity and how excited I am to get to work with Al (Avila) and his group. I feel really strongly about the people that I’ve got to know already during this process. I believe there are great things going on in Detroit.”

MLB’s first female minor-league hitting coach wraps up season

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Haudricourt from

The Milwaukee Brewers have been bringing in their minor-league coordinators during their final home stand to give them a look at what they’ve helped build.

For Sara Goodrum, the first female minor-league hitting coordinator in the game, it has been an exciting experience.

“We’d been having conversations throughout the year on whether this was going to be a thing or not, just because of COVID,” she said. “They luckily were able to bring all of the coordinators and rovers (roving instructors) up for a series.

Daily activity in minimal footwear increases foot strength

Nature, Scientific Reports journal from

The human foot is uniquely adapted to bipedal locomotion and has a deformable arch of variable stiffness. Intrinsic foot muscles regulate arch deformation, making them important for foot function. In this study we explore the hypothesis that normal daily activity in minimal footwear, which provides little or no support, increases foot muscle strength. Western adults wore minimal footwear for a six-month period (the “intervention” group). Foot strength, i.e., maximum isometric plantarflexion strength at the metatarsophalangeal joints, and foot biometrics were measured before and after the intervention. An additional group was investigated to add further insight on the long-term effects of footwear, consisting of Western adults with an average 2.5 years of experience in minimal footwear (the “experienced” group). This study shows that foot strength increases by, on average, 57.4% (p < 0.001) after six months of daily activity in minimal footwear. The experienced group had similar foot strength as the post intervention group, suggesting that six months of regular minimal footwear use is sufficient to gain full strength, which may aid healthy balance and gait.

Wireless E-Tattoo for Pneumonia Aims to Transform Patient Monitoring | Research Horizons

Georgia Tech's Research News from

… Monitoring pneumonia remains a challenge because it manifests itself differently in almost every patient and can develop in any patient infected by coronavirus. The Georgia Institute of Technology is part of a team of engineers, data scientists, and medical clinicians led by the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin that has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation’s ASCENT program. The purpose of this project is to develop a wearable device for patients with pneumonia, allowing medical personnel to track their progress remotely and use data to predict how their condition may change.

This project combines state-of-the-art technology across wearable devices, integrated circuits and machine learning. And the larger goal is to develop ways to safely monitor patients remotely and maintain high-quality care, wherever they are.

Engineering a Better Way to Deliver Therapeutic Genes to Muscles

NIH Director's Blog, Dr. Francis Collins from

Amid all the progress toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s worth remembering that researchers here and around the world continue to make important advances in tackling many other serious health conditions. As an inspiring NIH-supported example, I’d like to share an advance on the use of gene therapy for treating genetic diseases that progressively degenerate muscle, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

As published recently in the journal Cell, researchers have developed a promising approach to deliver therapeutic genes and gene editing tools to muscle more efficiently, thus requiring lower doses [1]. In animal studies, the new approach has targeted muscle far more effectively than existing strategies. It offers an exciting way forward to reduce unwanted side effects from off-target delivery, which has hampered the development of gene therapy for many conditions.

Can football-playing robots beat the World Cup winners by 2050?

BBC News, Bernd Debusmann Jr from

For football fans around the globe the pinnacle of the sport is the World Cup final. But what if that match was ultimately just the precursor to a game between the best humans and the best robots?

It might sound farfetched, but this is the aim of an organisation that has been running an annual global soccer tournament for robots since 1997.

Founded by a group of robotics scientists, the Robot Soccer World Cup or RoboCup has set itself an ambitious goal.

“By the middle of the 21st Century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win a soccer game, complying with the official rules of [football governing body] FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup.”

Warriors Basketball Academy offering fun, interactive workouts with Shoot 360 Technology

ABC7 San Francisco, Chris Alvarez from

… The Golden State Warriors have fully renovated their former practice facility in Downtown Oakland into a youth basketball headquarters.

Through their Shoot 360 technology, basketball players of all ages can learn how to improve on the fly with real-time live shot charts analyzing everything from arc, depth and left/right differential of a shot. There are also interactive video boards with dribbling and passing drills to improve every aspect of a player’s game.

Physics-based Human Motion Estimation and Synthesis from Videos

arXiv, Computer Science > Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Kevin Xie et al. from

Human motion synthesis is an important problem with applications in graphics, gaming and simulation environments for robotics. Existing methods require accurate motion capture data for training, which is costly to obtain. Instead, we propose a framework for training generative models of physically plausible human motion directly from monocular RGB videos, which are much more widely available. At the core of our method is a novel optimization formulation that corrects imperfect image-based pose estimations by enforcing physics constraints and reasons about contacts in a differentiable way. This optimization yields corrected 3D poses and motions, as well as their corresponding contact forces. Results show that our physically-corrected motions significantly outperform prior work on pose estimation. We can then use these to train a generative model to synthesize future motion. We demonstrate both qualitatively and quantitatively significantly improved motion estimation, synthesis quality and physical plausibility achieved by our method on the large scale Human3.6m dataset \cite{h36m_pami} as compared to prior kinematic and physics-based methods. By enabling learning of motion synthesis from video, our method paves the way for large-scale, realistic and diverse motion synthesis.

How inflammation, stress and other factors can lead to depression

Monitor on Psychology, Chris Palmer from

Michael Treadway’s Emory University lab investigates how inflammation, stress, and other disruptions to the neural circuitry underlying motivation can lead to depression and other mental disorders

Athletes and Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma – Why aren’t mental health issues taken as seriously as physical issues?

Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from

… Depression and anxiety are not diagnoses evident on an X-ray or MRI, but they can be every bit as limiting or debilitating as a physical injury. Too often, however, these issues are ignored in the name of grit.

A national conversation on the issue has begun, though – and rightfully so, says sports psychologist Matthew Sacco, PhD. Let’s talk about why.

Athletes Are Shifting the Narrative Around Mental Health at Work

Harvard Business Review, Alyson Meister and Maude Lavanchy from

… Conversations about mental health have also proliferated in organizations due to the clear negative impacts of the pandemic on workplace mental health and well-being, and many companies are revising and refocusing their organizational health strategies as a result. For example, leaders at several prominent organizations (including BHP, Clifford Chance, Deloitte, and HSBC) have launched a global collaboration to drive change.

There is much that company leaders can learn from the momentum of the highly publicized world of sports. Here are four strategies for leaders seeking to support their employees’ mental health.

Emma Hayes: Chelsea Women’s manager fears social media abuse of players could lead to suicides

CNN Sports, Matias Grez and Amanda Davies from

… Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes, widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the game, says she regularly witnesses first hand the impact abusive messages have on her players and, if it was up to her, would “100%” take all of them off social media.

It’s become so bad that if companies such as Facebook and Twitter do not begin to tackle this issue seriously, Hayes says, then she can envisage some footballers contemplating suicide.

“I have to live it every day,” Hayes explains to CNN’s Amanda Davies. “I have to manage young people that are maybe flavor of the month, so to speak, online and then treated so despicably the next, maybe even by the same people — and then the impact that has on them and their internal struggle, that translates into massive underperformance.

Cannabis in elite sports:

DW (Germany), Marko Langer from

What’s wrong with lighting up a joint ahead of the big game? Things aren’t quite that simple when it comes to cannabis in competitive sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency is set to review its list of banned substances.

University of Oxford Launches Podium Analytics Institute for Youth Sports Medicine and Technology

Science X from

Oxford University has been selected as the home of the new Podium Analytics Institute for Youth Sports Medicine and Technology. This will be the world’s first academic Institute focused on young athletes’ safety and lifelong health and will combine Oxford’s longstanding tradition in sports and education with the very best of science, medicine, and technology.

The new Institute will shift the traditional emphasis of research into sports injury—which is predominantly adult-centric and based upon treatment—by concentrating on younger athletes, 11-18 years old, and will focus on prevention rather than cure.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.