Female Sports Science newsletter – April 28, 2019

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for April 28, 2019



How Elite Marathoner and Mom Kellyn Taylor Thrives On a Chaotic Schedule

Runner's World, Hailey Middlebrook from

Kellyn Taylor’s mornings look a bit different than the average pro athlete’s. Instead of sleeping in, eating a relaxed breakfast, and getting professional treatment on various aches and pains before a mid-morning run, the elite marathoner sets an alarm for 5 a.m. to prepare for her first workout of the day: getting her three kids to school.

“That gives me enough time to have a cup of coffee and maybe something to eat before they wake up,” Taylor, 32, told Runner’s World. “Then the chaos starts.”


3 WNBA players who had Achilles injuries like Breanna Stewart’s

SB Nation, Swish Appeal blog, Albert Lee from

Tamika Catchings, Chiney Ogwumike and Riquna Williams are three WNBA players who had Achilles injuries and bounced back from them, big time. Stewart can be the next.


Fresh Off a Gold Medal, Hilary Knight Feels Good About the Future of Women’s Hockey

SI.com, NHL, Alex Prewitt from

Hilary Knight is tired. Fresh off a fifth straight gold medal at the IIHF women’s world championships last weekend, Team USA had been caught in a ground stop at JFK Airport while returning home from Finland, delayed for several hours while inclement weather cleared. A small contingent even stayed overnight before the next flight out. Even so, Knight says, “It wasn’t too bad. The majority of us were still together, so we were paling around the airport, eating a lot of food, drinking mimosas and bloody marys, sharing stories from the tournament.”

Surely there was plenty to digest. Facing host Finland in the final—the first time ever that the U.S. and Canada weren’t meeting for the title—Knight and her teammates had pelted 37 shots on goalie Noora Raty through regulation but only scored once entering overtime. Controversy struck midway through the sudden-death period, when Finnish forward Petra Nieminen’s would-be game-winner was reversed for goaltender’s interference following a lengthy video review. A little while later, shootout goals from Amanda Kessel and Annie Pankowski lifted the Americans to victory, leaving the raucous Finnish fans stunned.


Fewer stereotypes, more goals.

Twitter, Lindsey Horan, Adidas from

[video, 1:41]

How Molly Huddle and Emily Sisson Plan to Make An Impression at 2019 London Marathon

Women's Running, Erin Strout from

They share a coach, have a combined total of more than two dozen national titles, and are the first- and second-fastest half marathoners in U.S. history. And on Sunday, for the first time, Molly Huddle and Emily Sisson will line up together at the London Marathon to race one of the fastest 26.2-mile courses in the world.

It is Huddle’s fourth crack at the distance and Sisson’s debut, but they plan to utilize some teamwork in a deep international field that’s likely to splinter early in the race. The duo is coached by Ray Treacy, women’s cross-country coach at Providence College.

“Obviously a lot can happen in the marathon, so we’re aiming for the ideal situation,” Huddle said during a phone interview on Monday. “But Ray does think we’ll be able to work together for a lot of the race and finish pretty close together, too. We both made it to the start line ready to roll, basically.”



Before rash of rhabdo at UH, ‘fitness punishment’ was listed in women’s soccer handbook

Click2Houston, Mario Diaz from

“Unbelievable,” was the reaction to what Channel 2 Investigates uncovered by one collegiate official.

Thursday night’s report detailed coaches and trainers for the University of Houston’s Women’s soccer program who had options to use physical punishment on players in recent years.


Effect of Estrogen on Musculoskeletal Performance and Injury Risk

Frontiers in Physiology journal from

Estrogen has a dramatic effect on musculoskeletal function. Beyond the known relationship between estrogen and bone, it directly affects the structure and function of other musculoskeletal tissues such as muscle, tendon, and ligament. In these other musculoskeletal tissues, estrogen improves muscle mass and strength, and increases the collagen content of connective tissues. However, unlike bone and muscle where estrogen improves function, in tendons and ligaments estrogen decreases stiffness, and this directly affects performance and injury rates. High estrogen levels can decrease power and performance and make women more prone for catastrophic ligament injury. The goal of the current work is to review the research that forms the basis of our understanding how estrogen affects muscle, tendon, and ligament and how hormonal manipulation can be used to optimize performance and promote female participation in an active lifestyle at any age. [full text]


Sports Psychology Is Becoming More Prevalent in Local Division I Athletics

Washington City Paper, Kelyn Soong from

… Like most collegiate programs, Maryland did not have a full-time sports psychologist in the athletics department. [Karen] Tang, who finished competing at the collegiate level in 2015, can’t recall the team ever bringing anyone in to talk to the athletes about mental health. The psychologist she visited worked in the counseling center, located over a mile away from the Maryland athletics department on the sprawling College Park campus.

But some universities, including local programs in recent years, have taken steps to respond to the student-athletes’ needs. Tang hopes that means situations like hers will be spotted sooner.

“I wouldn’t change my experience,” she says. “Yes, I went through some mental health issues, but if I had the support I needed from the beginning, like freshman year … I think it would have just made me better if I had those resources in the beginning.”


sports medicine

Smaller Change in Psychological Readiness to Return to Sport Is Associated With Second Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Among Younger Patients

American Journal of Sports Medicine from


Lower psychological readiness to return to sport has been reported for younger patients (≤20 years) who go on to a second anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. However, changes in psychological readiness and specific psychological responses associated with second injury have not been identified.

To identify changes in psychological readiness over time associated with a second ACL injury. It was hypothesized that younger patients who suffered a second injury would have smaller changes in psychological readiness to return to sport when compared with those who did not have a second injury.
Study Design:

Case-control study; Level of evidence, 2.

Patients ≤20 years old at the time of surgery who had a primary ACL reconstruction procedure between June 2014 and June 2016 were recruited for this study. The short version of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Return to Sport After Injury (ACL-RSI) scale was completed by patients before their ACL reconstruction and repeated at 12 months after surgery to assess psychological readiness to return to sport. The primary outcome of interest was the relationship between the change in psychological readiness and second ACL injuries.

Among 115 young patients who returned to sport after ACL reconstruction, 21 (18%) experienced a second ACL injury. Injured patients did not show improvement in their ACL-RSI score between the preoperative assessment and 12-month time point (58.5 vs 60.8 points, P = .60) and had a significantly smaller change when compared with noninjured patients (9.2 vs 24.9 points, P = .01). When compared with the noninjured group, the injured group reported they were more nervous about playing sport, less confident in playing sport without concern for the knee, more frustrated with having to consider the knee with respect to sport, and more fearful of reinjuring the knee by playing sport (P≤ .05).

Injured patients exhibited less improvement in psychological readiness at a group level and reported different psychological characteristics with regard to return to sport at 12 months after ACL reconstruction as monitored by the ACL-RSI scale.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Risk in Sport: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Injury Incidence by Sex and Sport Classification. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Athletic Training from


To evaluate sex differences in incidence rates (IRs) of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury by sport type (collision, contact, limited contact, and noncontact).

A systematic review was performed using the electronic databases PubMed (1969-January 20, 2017) and EBSCOhost (CINAHL, SPORTDiscus; 1969-January 20, 2017) and the search terms anterior cruciate ligament AND injury AND (incidence OR prevalence OR epidemiology).

Studies were included if they provided the number of ACL injuries and the number of athlete-exposures (AEs) by sex or enough information to allow the number of ACL injuries by sex to be calculated. Studies were excluded if they were analyses of previously reported data or were not written in English.

Data on sport classification, number of ACL injuries by sex, person-time in AEs for each sex, year of publication, sport, sport type, and level of play were extracted for analysis.

We conducted IR and IR ratio (IRR) meta-analyses, weighted for study size and calculated. Female and male athletes had similar ACL injury IRs for the following sport types: collision (2.10/10 000 versus 1.12/10 000 AEs, IRR = 1.14, P = .63), limited contact (0.71/10 000 versus 0.29/10 000 AEs, IRR = 1.21, P = .77), and noncontact (0.36/10 000 versus 0.21/10 000 AEs, IRR = 1.49, P = .22) sports. For contact sports, female athletes had a greater risk of injury than male athletes (1.88/10 000 versus 0.87/10 000 AEs, IRR = 3.00, P < .001). Gymnastics and obstacle-course races were outliers with respect to IR, so we created a sport category of fixed-object, high-impact rotational landing (HIRL). For this sport type, female athletes had a greater risk of ACL injury than male athletes (4.80/10 000 versus 1.75/10 000 AEs, IRR = 5.51, P < .001), and the overall IRs of ACL injury were greater than all IRs in all other sport categories. CONCLUSIONS:

Fixed-object HIRL sports had the highest IRs of ACL injury for both sexes. Female athletes were at greater risk of ACL injury than male athletes in contact and fixed-object HIRL sports.


Revised Approach to the Role of Fatigue in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Prevention: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses

Sports Medicine journal from


Causes of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are multifactorial. Anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention should thus be approached from a multifactorial perspective as well. Training to resist fatigue is an underestimated aspect of prevention programs given that the presence of fatigue may play a crucial role in sustaining an ACL injury.

The primary objective of this literature review was to summarize research findings relating to the kinematic and kinetic effects of fatigue on single-leg landing tasks through a systematic review and meta-analysis. Other objectives were to critically appraise current approaches to examine the effects of fatigue together with elucidating and proposing an optimized approach for measuring the role of fatigue in ACL injury prevention.

A systematic literature search was conducted in the databases PubMed (1978–November 2017), CINAHL (1992–November 2017), and EMBASE (1973–November 2017). The inclusion criteria were: (1) full text, (2) published in English, German, or Dutch, (3) healthy subjects, (4) average age ≥ 18 years, (5) single-leg jump landing task, (6) evaluation of the kinematics and/or kinetics of the lower extremities before and after a fatigue protocol, and (7) presentation of numerical kinematic and/or kinetic data. Participants included healthy subjects who underwent a fatigue protocol and in whom the effects of pre- and post-fatigue on three-dimensional lower extremity kinematic and kinetics were compared. Methods of data collection, patient selection, blinding, prevention of verification bias, and study design were independently assessed.

Twenty studies were included, in which four types of single-leg tasks were examined: the single-leg drop vertical jump, the single-leg drop landing, the single-leg hop for distance, and sidestep cutting. Fatigue seemed to mostly affect initial contact (decreased angles post-fatigue) and peak (increased angles post-fatigue) hip and knee flexion. Sagittal plane variables at initial contact were mostly affected under the single-leg hop for distance and sidestep cutting conditions whilst peak angles were affected during the single-leg drop jump.

Training to resist fatigue is an underestimated aspect of prevention programs given that the presence of fatigue may play a crucial role in sustaining an ACL injury. Considering the small number of variables affected after fatigue, the question arises whether the same fatigue pathways are affected by the fatigue protocols used in the included laboratory studies as are experienced on the sports field. [full text]



Probiotics for Women: Benefits Runners and Weight Loss?

RunToTheFinish blog, Amanda Brooks from

… Here’s what a probiotic actually is…bacteria. Yup, more bacteria. Your gut consists of 70-80% bacteria and probiotics are the good bacteria, which we naturally produce. However, through all the things listed above they can get squished down and we want to supplement to give them a boost! … Not that these don’t apply to the gentlemen, but most readers here are ladies and it does seem we go through more phases of digestive distress due to hormonal shifts.


Sweat Loss and Hydration Habits of Female Olympic, Varsity and Recreational Ice Hockey Players

Sports Health journal from

This study measured sweat losses, voluntary fluid intake, sodium balance, and carbohydrate intake of female ice hockey players during on-ice practices at the Olympic, varsity, and recreational levels. Testing was conducted on 25 Canadian Olympic players, 21 varsity, and 21 recreational players. The average sweat rate for the Olympic players (0.99±0.08 L/h) was significantly greater than both the varsity (0.67±0.05 L/h, p=0.001) and the recreational players (0.42±0.03 L/h, p<0.001), and the varsity players also had a significantly greater sweat rate than the recreational athletes (p=0.016). Total fluid intake was significantly greater for both the Olympic (p=0.001) and varsity players (p=0.007) compared to the recreational group. Only 3 of 25 Olympic players lost>1.5% BM and 4 others lost>1% BM, with no players in both the varsity and recreational teams losing>1% BM. Half of the Olympic players consumed some carbohydrate during practice, but most of the varsity and recreational players did not. In conclusion, sweat rates in female ice hockey players during practices were proportional to competitive level. Fluid intake was similar between groups and resulted in only a few athletes at the Olympic level being at risk of excess body mass loss.



Does sports science only tell us half the story?

Cycling Weekly, Michelle Arthurs-Brennan from

… Bypassing the uncomfortable truth that some studies are commissioned by organisations with a preference towards furthering men’s sport, one of the key reasons that sports scientists are hesitant to include women within their studies is that hormonal fluctuations make doing so significantly more time consuming and expensive.

Dr Emma Ross, Co-Head of Physiology at the English Institute of Sport (EIS), explains: “Doing good quality research on females is often longer and more expensive, and as such, researchers often avoid this resource-heavy approach.

“To truly glean results that are impactful for athletes, data needs to be collected across the different phases of the menstrual cycle, when the levels of fluctuating hormones are at their peaks and troughs. This allows practitioners to be able to confidently apply findings knowing how the outcomes are affected at different points if a female athletes menstrual cycle.”


Breanna Stewart’s injury highlights urgent need for player-focused CBA

SB Nation, Swish Appeal blog, Tamryn Spruill from

Because WNBA players are paid pennies on the dollars of their NBA brethren, many spend the offseason competing overseas. While doing so may provide the financial security currently unavailable to them in the WNBA, playing basketball year-round is not a risk-free undertaking. Breanna Stewart’s Achilles tear in the last game of her Dynamo Kursk season exemplifies why the current collective bargaining agreement is both bad for player health and the on-court product of the WNBA.


The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, April 12, 2019

TheIX newsletter from

… A lot of times, there is a false narrative spun that women’s hockey only exists (and barely at that) at the most elite level. No arguing that is the best level of competition, but the sport needs to focus on the ENITRE pipeline to maintain and grow the top tier.

I have a link to the latest The Last Stretch podcast where a group of women from the Les Canadiennes talk about the CWHL folding. One of the comments about an hour into the conversation posits there would be/could be no growth at the top level without non-national team players believing in women’s professional hockey.

Whether thinking of the college level, lower tiers in International competition, or players that win professional honors and maybe not gold medals, elite sports stand on the shoulders of those who may never reach the top.


What Exertion Looks Like Running the Boston Marathon

WHOOP, Allison Lynch from

On Monday April 15th, 2019, Caroline Shannon crossed the Boston Marathon finish line with an official time of 3:01:56 (6:57/mile), a personal best out of the four marathons she’s run. Shannon, a professional architect and WHOOP member, credits tapering and getting more sleep for a perfectly executed race. “I felt more prepared than ever with my training,” she said.

On top of her three-minute PR, this was Shannon’s first year running a marathon with WHOOP by her side. We decided to take a closer look at her data before, during, and afterwards to see how prepared her body was and how her exertion progressed along the course.



‘I Want What My Male Colleague Has, and That Will Cost a Few Million Dollars’

The New York Times, Mallory Pickett from

Women at the Salk Institute say they faced a culture of marginalization and hostility. The numbers from other elite scientific institutions suggest they’re not alone.


The artificial intelligence field is too white and too male, researchers say

The Verge, Colin Lecher from

The artificial intelligence industry is facing a “diversity crisis,” researchers from the AI Now Institute said in a report released today, raising key questions about the direction of the field.

Women and people of color are deeply underrepresented, the report found, noting studies finding that about 80 percent of AI professors are men, while just 15 percent of AI research staff at Facebook and 10 percent at Google are women. People of color are also sidelined, making up only a fraction of staff at major tech companies. The result is a workforce frequently driven by white and male perspectives, building tools that often affect other groups of people. “This is not the diversity of people that are being affected by these systems,” AI Now Institute co-director Meredith Whittaker says.


How the NFL is working to expand the number of female coaches

espnW, Josh Weinfuss from

Christine Arians had had enough.

Her husband, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, the coach responsible for starting the trend of hiring female coaches in the NFL, was talking about giving another internship to a woman.

“I said, ‘Oh, babe. We don’t need more internships.’ Like, ‘Oh, yeah, come on, little lady. Hang with us for a year, and then we’re going to let you go,'” Christine said. “No, find somebody that’s qualified to coach, and hire them.”


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