Female Sports Science newsletter – May 12, 2019

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for May 12, 2019



Anchorage’s Hickel sisters push for sustainable women’s pro hockey

KTUU (Anchorage, AK), Patrick Enslow from

It wasn’t the offseason Tori Hickel and her sister Zoe planned on.
The Anchorage professional women’s hockey players aren’t preparing to make another run at a Clarkson Cup in the Candian Women’s Hockey League. Instead, they’re fighting for the future of professional women’s hockey.

The Hickel sisters and hundreds of other professional women’s hockey players took to social media Thursday as part of the #ForTheGame movement.

“It’s really about getting a viable and sustainable league for women’s professional hockey,” said Zoe Hickel.


Crystal Dunn’s Long Road From 2015 Cut to 2019 USWNT World Cup Roster Lock

SI.com, Soccer, Laken Litman from

… Dunn’s rebound from disappointment began as she played for the Washington Spirit in 2015, and while looking around for a World Cup viewing partner, she was “intrigued” by the club’s the French athletic trainer, Pierre Soubrier. She thought he was cool and kind and eventually asked if he wanted to hang out and watch the tournament at a bar. Soubrier was hesitant at first given their professional relationship. But he doesn’t deny being interested, so he agreed. The two quickly hit it off and watched almost every game together.

They were still getting to know each other, but Soubrier became Dunn’s sounding board. He listened to her vent, gave her advice and tried to get her to see the bright side. He told her to use the adversity as a learning experience and reminded her she was talented. He was also tough and of the mind that “life’s too short, and I don’t have time to waste with negative thoughts and pessimistic attitudes and ideas.” Eventually, Dunn snapped out of her funk.

“He helped me see that this was the beginning of my chapter,” Dunn says. “I think that’s what really sparked my change in character. It was realizing that soccer is a huge part of our lives, in a way it defines us, but we’re human. We’re not just these athletes that care solely about performance or being part of a roster. It’s important to keep things in perspective and he was that light that brought me into reality.


U.S. women need Rose Lavelle, new generation in World Cup run

espnW, Graham Hays from

Rose Lavelle has not played in the World Cup. She has, on the other hand, pondered the anxiety that comes with asking the stranger in the aisle seat on a plane to let her out to use the restroom. She has chronicled, extensively, the weight loss travails of Wilma, her bulldog. She has publicly confessed her inability to parallel park and her addiction to bookstores.

“I always tell people that Rose is the coolest weird person,” U.S. teammate Emily Sonnett said. “She doesn’t care if she has a weird way, she’s going to stay that way. But she’s so cool doing it.”



Interaction between body composition and impact-related parameters in male and female heel-toe runners.

Gait & Posture journal from


Bone fatigue resistance and more generally the ability to dissipate the stress sustained in dynamic tasks are partly affected by tissue properties. Men and women demonstrate substantial differences in body composition.

To assess whether gender, as a function of body composition, affects impact-related parameters in running.

A qualitative study has been conducted. Twelve females and eighteen males performed four 2-min running trials at 2.8 m∙s-1, 3.3 m∙s-1, 3.9 m∙s-1, and 4.4 m∙s-1 while recording axial and transverse tibial acceleration. Peak acceleration and power spectral density within the impact-related frequency range (vibration content) were measured. Bone mineral content, fat mass, lean mass, and muscle mass were assessed using an impedance meter. Two-way (gender × speed) ANOVAs were computed. Multiple linear regressions were then used to assess the magnitude of the effect of body composition indicators on impact-related parameters.

Significant gender and speed effects were observed. Females and high running speeds were associated with greater peak acceleration and vibration content at the tibia. Small interactions were observed between muscle mass and axial peak acceleration and vibration content, and between bone mineral content and transverse peak acceleration and vibration content, and axial vibration content.

Women demonstrated greater mechanical stress than men during running. High mechanical stress was associated with low bone mineral content and muscle mass. These findings may have implications in the prevention and management of bone overuse injuries in runners.


Training Strength and Athleticism in Female Youth Soccer

SimpliFaster Blog, Mike Whiteman from

… The value of speed, agility, and plyometric work is twofold. First, moving as fast as possible against little or no external resistance will increase the rate at which critical muscles such as the glutes, hamstrings, hips, and adductors are recruited. This is typically just viewed through a performance prism, but it is also largely beneficial in the reduction of ACL injuries because the same muscles are so important in the functional bracing of the knee. As quickly as an athlete can recruit a muscle to produce force, they can recruit the same muscle to absorb force.

To specifically work on rate of recruitment and force absorption, I like to couple decelerations and landings from all different heights and angles with eccentric strengthening exercises. In sports such as soccer, where so much agility and change of direction are required, the ability to stop on a dime is arguably just as important as possessing breakaway speed.


Softball Players Detail Years of Mistreatment by Coach, Neglect by Cornell Athletics

The Cornell Daily Sun, Dylan McDevitt and Raphy Gendler from

After Sarah Murray ’20 stole second base in a game against Akron in March 2017, she knew that something had gone wrong. Murray had collided with the opposing shortstop and immediately didn’t feel right.

“You’re OK, right?” her coach asked. Murray felt she had no choice but to say yes. She stayed in the game despite having suffered a concussion.

After the game, the first of a doubleheader, Murray found out that the team’s trainer at the time, Becky Guzzo, wanted to sideline her. However, according to Murray, head coach Julie Farlow ’97 told Guzzo — a graduate assistant athletic trainer — that she couldn’t pull Murray from the game.

Murray said Farlow, then in her second year as head coach, told Murray, then a freshman, that if the infielder told anyone that she had been forced to stay in the game, she’d be benched for the rest of the season. Murray said she felt “scared” and “helpless.”


sports medicine

Patient Participation During Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Improves Comprehension, Satisfaction, and Functional Outcomes: A Simple Way to Improve Our Practices

Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine from


It is estimated that 28% of patients are dissatisfied after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, in part because they do not understand the procedure well enough.

To assess the postoperative comprehension, satisfaction, and functional outcomes of 2 patient groups: 1 undergoing a standard surgical procedure (standard group) and 1 involved in their surgery (participation group).
Study Design:

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.

Over a 4-month period, 62 patients were included: 31 in the standard group and 31 in the participation group. The preoperative information, surgical technique, anesthesia, and postoperative course were identical in both groups. Patients in the participation group were allowed to watch the arthroscopic portion of their surgery live on a video screen, and standardized information was given to these patients during the arthroscopic phase. Self-administered questionnaires were given to assess comprehension (Matava score), satisfaction (visual analog scale [VAS] for satisfaction, Net Promoter Score [NPS], and Evaluation du Vécu de l’Anesthésie LocoRégionale [EVAN-LR]), and outcomes (International Knee Documentation Committee [IKDC] form and Anterior Cruciate Ligament–Return to Sport after Injury [ACL-RSI] scale) between groups.

Postoperative comprehension was significantly improved in the participation group, as the Matava score increased by a mean of 7.1 ± 5.3 points versus 2.7 ± 5.6 points in the standard group (P = .0024). The mean VAS satisfaction score immediately after surgery was 9.8 ± 0.6 in the participation group versus 8.9 ± 1.9 in the standard group (P = .0033); this difference was still present at 1 year postoperatively (9.8 ± 0.6 vs 9.1 ± 1.7, respectively; P = .0145). The NPS was 96.8% in the participation group versus 64.5% in the standard group (P = .0057) in the immediate postoperative period and 100.0% in the participation group versus 71.0% in the standard group at 1 year postoperatively (P = .0046). The mean total EVAN-LR score was 89.1 ± 6.5 in the participation group and 84.6 ± 9.9 in the standard group (P = .0416). At 1 year postoperatively, the mean IKDC score was 86.0 ± 7.5 in the participation group versus 80.0 ± 7.4 in the standard group (P = .0023). The mean ACL-RSI score was 80.9 ± 7.7 in the participation group versus 74.3 ± 8.4 in the standard group (P = .0019).

Involving patients in their ACL reconstruction surgery improves their understanding of the procedure and their satisfaction with their care, which results in better outcomes at 1 year postoperatively.


Oral contraceptives may help protect against serious knee injuries in women

EurekAlert! Science News, Taylor & Francis Group from

Oral contraceptives may lower the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in women, according to a large observational study involving over 165,000 female patients (aged 15-49), published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine journal.

The study, analyzing a decade of prescription and insurance information from a large national US database, found that oral contraceptives were most protective in young women aged 15-19 years, who were 63% less likely to need reconstructive surgery following ACL injury compared with aged matched controls.

The findings have important implications for the nearly 1 in 2 athletes with ACL tears who are unable to return to athletic competition, and the 20-50% who develop arthritis within 10-20 years of their injury, researchers say.


Maternity Leave for Athletes, Explained

Grandstand Central, Al Neal from

Why maternity leave is such an essential benefit for female athletes, like the women’s hockey players threatening to play anywhere but North America.


Case Study: Muscle Atrophy, Hypertrophy and Energy Expenditure of a Premier League Soccer Player During Rehabilitation From ACL Injury.

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism from

Maintaining muscle mass and function during rehabilitation from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is complicated by the challenge of accurately prescribing daily energy intakes aligned to energy expenditure. Accordingly, we present a 38-week case study characterizing whole body and regional rates of muscle atrophy and hypertrophy (as inferred by assessments of fat free mass from DXA) in a professional male soccer player from the English Premier League. Additionally, in week 6 we also quantified energy intake (via the remote food photographic method) and energy expenditure using the doubly labeled water method. Mean daily energy intake (CHO: 1.9-3.2, Protein: 1.7-3.3 and Fat: 1.4-2.7 g.kg-1) and energy expenditure was 2765 ± 474 and 3178 kcal.d-1 respectively. In accordance with an apparent energy deficit, total body mass decreased by 1.9 kg during week 1-6 where FFM loss in the injured and non-injured limb was 0.9 and 0.6 kg, respectively, yet, trunk FFM increased by 0.7 kg. In weeks 7-28, the athlete was advised to increased daily CHO intake (4-6 g.kg-1) to facilitate an increased daily energy intake. Throughout this period, total body mass increased by 3.6 kg (attributable to a 2.9 and 0.7 kg increase in fat-free and fat mass, respectively). Our data suggest it may be advantageous to avoid excessive reductions in energy intake during the initial 6-8 weeks post-ACL surgery so as to limit muscle atrophy.



‘It’s terrifying’: Why women’s hockey players are risking their careers for this boycott

ThinkProgress, Lindsay Gibbs from

Women’s hockey players are fed up with being told to be grateful for the scraps of professional leagues they’ve been given, so they’re taking a stand. Last Thursday, more than 200 of the best women’s hockey players in the world announced they would not suit up for any North American professional women’s hockey teams this season until there’s a league in place with the resources and support deserving of the best athletes on the planet.

“We are fortunate to be ambassadors of this game that we revere so deeply and yet, more than ever, we understand the responsibility that comes with that ambassadorship: To leave this game in better shape than when we entered it,” the women said in a statement.

“We cannot make a sustainable living playing in the current state of the professional game. Having no health insurance and making as low as $2,000 a season means players can’t adequately train and prepare to play at the highest level.”


A ‘new age’ for women’s football

UK Arts & Humanities Research Council from

This summer’s world cup will arrive at the best time in history for women’s football both in terms of its public profile and media coverage, according to Dr. Stacey Pope, Associate Professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University.

Dr Pope has long been interested in issues of gender and sport, has published widely on the topic of women’s sports fandom as well as leading a major Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project on the topic.

She argues that the 2015 World Cup marked a tipping point in the coverage of women’s sport and began a move away from institutional sexism towards a ‘new age’ of media representation, with a shift towards greater gender equality.


Women’s World Cup: USA’s Jill Ellis trusts veterans to defend title

USA Today Sports, Nancy Armour from

… “World Cups aren’t moments to invest in players,” Ellis said Thursday after announcing her roster. “World Cups are about winning.”

That’s clear in looking at the veteran-laden roster. Of the 23 players on the U.S. roster, 12 are holdovers from the team that won the World Cup four years ago. Of the 11 newcomers, seven have made 30 or more appearances for the national team.



A First in Canada: Research Hub to Work Toward Gender Equity in All Levels of Sport

Government of Canada from

To create an environment where girls and women feel comfortable engaging in sport at all ages and all levels, we need to understand why they are discouraged from participating in sport or move into the senior coaching, management or leadership ranks in sport.

The Government of Canada is taking concrete steps to achieve gender equity in sport and ensure that girls and women have equal opportunities to follow their dreams and fulfill their potential.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced $2.6 million in funding to design, create and implement a gender equity research hub to support applied research in sport.


Percentage of Female NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches by Conference

Medium, Her Hoop Stats, Aseem Rastogi and Keith Geswein from

Earlier this year, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said that she would only hire female assistant coaches. Since the ratio of female to male coaches has been an ongoing discussion in women’s basketball, we decided to look at the data to better understand the full picture.

Based on our thorough analysis of each NCAA Division I women’s basketball coaching staff,* we found that 63% of head coaches are female. The percentage of female head coaches has increased slightly each year since the 2015–16 season.

We have broken down these numbers for all 32 conferences. None of them have all female head coaches, but five are close.


Adam Silver Calls for More Gender Diversity in N.B.A. Officiating and Coaching

The New York Times, Sopan Deb from

The N.B.A. has long tried to portray itself as the most progressive sports league in the United States. Adam Silver, the league’s commissioner, took another step in trying to reinforce this image on Thursday, saying that the N.B.A. had set a goal: At least half of its new referees should be women.

“I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit of being a man, as opposed to a woman when it comes to refereeing,” Silver said to a gathering of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.


The Social Science Behind How Change Happens

yes Magazine, Cass R. Sunstein from

In “How Change Happens,” law professor Cass R. Sunstein, formerly a senior adviser in the Obama White House, draws on behavioral science to describe the actions that lead to social change, whether for good or ill. In this excerpt, he describes the power of breaking with convention and challenging the seemingly entrenched norms that “leash” and inhibit us.


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