Female Sports Science newsletter – May 19, 2019

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for May 19, 2019



Casey Short hopes to turn World Cup roster letdown into growth opportunity

Equalizer Soccer, John D. Halloran from

Casey Short had just received the most painful call possible for a national team player. After two and a half years of consistent call-ups with the United States women’s national team, head coach Jill Ellis informed the defender that she would not be part of the U.S.’ final roster heading to France for the 2019 World Cup.

“The [call] was pretty short because I was very emotional and I think I got out, maybe, two words,” Short told The Equalizer. “She just got basically right to the point and said that I wasn’t in the final roster.

“She was trying to be positive and help me to see there’s more to this and to keep pushing, but like I said, I couldn’t get out many words. I just thanked her and tried to process everything that was going on.”


Inside Lane: Emily Sisson, Marathoner, Has Arrived

PodiumRunner, Johanna Gretschel from

… “It’s been a slow, gradual process,” Sisson says. “When I graduated [from Providence College] in 2015, working out with Molly terrified me. We could tempo together but on the track, she was just so much faster than me. Slowly, over time, I was able to do her workouts, hanging on for dear life. It’s just taken years of continuous training.

“She’s been great about helping me get there as well. It speaks volumes about her character, because she was the one who helped me in the beginning to rise up to another level. I’ve been pretty lucky.”


The Note | By Alex Morgan

The Player's Tribune, Alex Morgan from

… When I was 14 or 15 years old, I wanted to get a scholarship for college. I needed to play with the best youth teams, at the best tournaments, and that meant going out of the state a lot. My parents would drive me to these weekend tournaments, which often lasted four days. I don’t think they ever used their vacation time on an actual vacation. I don’t think they even liked being at those tournaments. But they went anyway, because they knew I had this dream.

By now I guess my dad had read the yellow sticky note too.

Not everyone cared about my dream, though. When I was 14, I began playing for my first club team. Honestly, every girl who wanted to play college soccer was playing club soccer at this point. But I just … wasn’t. I just played recreational for my city. I didn’t really know that you started younger.

The coach saw that I had talent. But he was like, “You’re just not finessed enough. You’re not good enough. You’re not gonna make it. I’m sorry, you just can’t be on this team.”


Jordan Hasay Eyes Big Record at Chicago Marathon

Women's Running, Erin Strout from

While many of her U.S. peers will take the upcoming fall racing season off to prepare for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February, Jordan Hasay has different plans: She’s targeting an American record attempt in October at the Chicago Marathon.

A member of the Portland-based Oregon Project coached by Alberto Salazar, Hasay is currently the country’s fastest woman at the marathon. On Tuesday, Chicago officials said in a press release that Hasay will go for Deena Kastor’s American record of 2:19:36. Kastor set that mark at the 2006 London Marathon. Hasay has come closest to the 13-year record when she finished the 2017 Chicago Marathon in 2:20:57—just her second attempt at the race distance.

“I love the fast course and exciting atmosphere, which I believe can lead to an attempt at the American record,” Hasay, 27, said, in a written statement. “I look forward to being at my best again and giving it all I have in October.”



Jump load and landing patterns of collegiate female volleyball players during practice and competition. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness from


Overuse lower extremity injuries are common in women’s court volleyball players and are likely due to the repetitive jumping and landing the sport requires. The purpose of this study was to quantify jump load during collegiate women’s volleyball, describe the quantity of double-leg (DL) to single-leg (SL) landing strategies, and compare loads and landing strategies between games and practices.

Fourteen collegiate Division-1 women’s court volleyball players participated in the study. Volleyball-specific activity demands were quantified using video analysis from three consecutive practices and one match. Investigators recorded the total frequency of jump landings, and the frequency and percentage of double-leg (DL) landings and single-leg (SL) landings of fourteen collegiate Division-1 women’s court volleyball players. Repeated measures ANOVAs identified differences in jumping load and percentages of DL and SL landings among practices and between practices and games (p<0.05). RESULTS:

On average, there was a significantly higher overall jumping load (p=0.01) and frequency of DL (p=0.03) and SL (p=0.04) landings during practice than games, yet no differences between practices (p>0.05). Approximately 75% of all landings were DL, and individual patterns of DL to SL landings were consistent across events (p>0.05).

Women’s collegiate volleyball demands high volumes of repetitive jumping and landing with SL and DL support that may make these athletes susceptible to overuse injuries, especially during practice.


Women’s soccer team goes from competitors to companions

Los Angeles Times, Kevin Baxter from

The U.S. national team’s final push to this summer’s Women’s World Cup didn’t begin in a game or a training session. It didn’t even start on a field.

It began instead at Atelier Crenn, a pricey three-star restaurant in San Francisco’s Marina District where the food, like the World Cup, is French.

That’s where the 23 players met Monday, on the third night of training camp, to break bread and, more importantly, break whatever tension remained from the long, sometimes bitter competition to make the team.


How not understanding your menstrual cycle might be affecting your running

Runner's World (UK), Kate Carter from

A few years ago, GB runner Jessica Judd made a startling admission: depending on the stage of her menstrual cycle, her 3,000m time could vary by as much as 15 seconds – the difference between first place and glory, and finishing last.

It made for headline news – no surprise, given the lingering omerta around the issue – but it’s not just elite athletes who find their cycle affects their performance. Leading distance coach Tom Craggs tells the story of one of his runners who started taking iron when a doctor finally diagnosed anaemia, which is frequently caused by heavy periods. Three weeks later she took 15 minutes off her half-marathon PB.

This shouldn’t come as a shock, either, considering the hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle can cause stomach issues, cramps, insomnia, elevated heart rate and shortness of breath. There is even evidence that you are more prone to certain injuries – such as ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears – at certain times of the cycle. And that’s before you factor in state of mind: confidence levels can be affected, too.



DataScience4All Women’s summit

Correlation One from

New York, NY June 4, starting at 6:30 p.m. “Before the event, you’ll be connected with a mentor based on your interests and experiences. At Data Science for All, alongside your mentor, you’ll learn and practice new data science skills through a learning session and an open-ended project. In addition, you’ll connect with other aspiring and experienced data scientists throughout the event.” [registration required]


Give a kid a fitness tracker and life will become a dangerous competition

Metro News (UK), Bangs Carey-Campbell from

… Kitting kids out with fitness trackers and encouraging them to view fitness through stats, data, numbers and targets is setting them up to see life as an endless competition. There is a commendable aspect to what fitness trackers are out to achieve. I’m all for encouraging people to move. They have served as great motivational tools for many people who find themselves in an exercise slump. But when they start to market that to kids, it gets a little dicey. Whoever was in charge of the children’s edition decided to not include calories burned or body fat percentages as a measurable.


sports medicine

Should medicine be gendered?

BBC Science Focus Magazine, Simon Crompton from

Men and women have completely different biologies, and yet doctors prescribe the same drugs and doses to everyone, regardless of sex. The results can be damaging, even deadly. Is it time that medicine treated men and women differently?


Keep calm and carry on return to sport testing after an ACL injury: clinician-scientists weigh in on knee injury risk

BJSM blog; Jacob J. Capin, Lynn Snyder-Mackler, May Arna Risberg & Hege Grindem from

Imagine you are a sports medicine clinician responsible for an athlete with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Her surgery goes well, she completes her rehabilitation meticulously, passes your clinic’s return to sport (RTS) criteria, and starts to progress to full RTS. Now imagine another of your patients: his knee keeps flaring up after ACL surgery and his rehabilitation is arduous and prolonged. He’s not in a position to pass the RTS exercises (such as the hop test you can see me doing here), so you advise him he’s not ready to return. He returns to a lower-demand sport than originally planned–golf. Two years later, the woman has sustained a contralateral ACL injury during football. The man has completed two 5k runs, avoided pivoting sports and has no re-injury.

No clinician would interpret this scenario to mean that the woman could have avoided her contralateral ACL injury had she returned to football without passing RTS criteria. However, if the clinical picture is missing from a research paper’s conclusion, this interpretation is plausible. After all, she passed the criteria and he failed.

This scenario illustrates one of several problems in the literature on RTS testing–sports exposure is not considered in the analysis.


Are Hip Physical Examination Findings Predictive of Future Lower Body Injury Rates in Elite Adolescent Female Soccer Athletes at Minimum 5-Year Follow-Up?

Journal of Sport Rehabilitation from


While elite adolescent female soccer athletes have unique injury risk factors and management challenges, limited epidemiological data exist for this population.

Describe lower body injury patterns and determine whether a screening hip physical examination is predictive of future injuries in elite adolescent female soccer athletes.

Prospective cohort study.

One United States premier soccer club.

One hundred seventy-seven female soccer athletes ages 10-18 years old (mean 14.6±1.8 years) completed a demographic questionnaire and screening hip physical examination which included range of motion and provocative tests.

At least five years after baseline screening, athletes completed an electronic follow-up injury survey. Injury was defined as pain that interfered with sporting activity.

In addition to descriptive analyses of athletes’ injury profiles, associations between players’ baseline demographics and subsequent injury profiles were evaluated using chi-square tests, and potential predictors of injury based on players’ baseline hip examinations were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression.

Ninety-four of 177 athletes (53%) were contacted for follow-up, and 88/94 (93.6%) completed the survey. With mean follow-up of 91.9±9.3 months (range 66-108 months), 42/88 (47.7%) reported sustaining a new lower body injury. The low back was the most commonly injury region (16/42, 38.1%). Almost half of all injured athletes (20/42, 47.6%) sustained overuse injuries, and 16/42 (38.1%) had an incomplete recovery. Higher body mass index and reaching menarche were associated with sustaining an injury (p=0.03 and 0.04, respectively). Athletes’ baseline hip examinations were not predictive of their subsequent rate of lower body, lumbopelvic, overuse, or incomplete recovery injury (all p>0.05).

Lower body injuries were common in elite adolescent female soccer athletes, with over one third of injured athletes reporting permanent negative impact of the injury on their playing ability. Baseline hip physical examinations were not associated with future injury rate.



The ‘3.5% rule’: how a small minority can change the world

BBC – Future, David Robson from

There are, of course, many ethical reasons to use nonviolent strategies. But compelling research by Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard University, confirms that civil disobedience is not only the moral choice; it is also the most powerful way of shaping world politics – by a long way.

Looking at hundreds of campaigns over the last century, Chenoweth found that nonviolent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns. And although the exact dynamics will depend on many factors, she has shown it takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Chenoweth’s influence can be seen in the recent Extinction Rebellion protests, whose founders say they have been directly inspired by her findings. So just how did she come to these conclusions?


England Women’s World Cup squad are balanced but in transition

The Guardian, Louise Taylor from

… Once the very 21st-century reveal was over, the names on the list represented safe, conservative, predictable and, above all, eminently sensible choices on Neville’s part.

This is a reliable, dependable squad staffed with excellent characters and solid on-pitch performers offering sufficient stylistic diversity and energetic young blood to allow a manager experiencing his first World Cup scope to switch tactics and formations when circumstances demand.

Granted the squad include 11 players who will be making their World Cup debuts but every one has appeared under Neville and developed a constructive working relationship with a manager who will lean heavily on the nucleus of the Lionesses squad who won the bronze medal at Canada 2015.


Q&A With Cathy Engelbert

WNBA.com – Official Site of the WNBA from

Where do you want to take the WNBA as commissioner of the league?

It’s such a moment in time for women’s leadership and there’s so better place than in sports that builds confidence in women and girls. We’re so wanting for women’s leadership and these amazing, world class athletes that play for the WNBA. I’m really excited to bring a business lens and to drive and have this league flourish and to have all these women feel like they are at the top of their game, whether it’s at the WNBA or when they retire from the WNBA. There’s so much potential for this league to flourish and from a business perspective too, to make the league really at the top of it’s game.


New WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert a perfect fit to lead league

espnW, Mechelle Voepel from

The WNBA took seven months to name its new leader, but it was worth the wait. Cathy Engelbert, named Wednesday as the league’s new commissioner, brings to the WNBA a highly impressive business background; she has been CEO at Deloitte LLP and had a 33-year career at the Big Four professional services firm. Now the NBA is showing it will truly let her lead, changing the title of the job from president to commissioner. It’s an important and necessary step.



Nike to change its pregnancy policy in future athlete contracts amid backlash

CBS News, Sophie Lewis from

Nike is updating its athlete contracts to protect female athletes’ pay during pregnancy. The company faced backlash this week for cutting compensation during maternity leave for some of its athletes.

Nike says it updated its policy last year, but its contracts previously allowed the company to reduce pay if athletes fell short of performance goals, including during pregnancy or childbirth. Nike says that’s now changed.


A brilliant World Cup ad for Germany’s women’s soccer team

Fast Company, Jeff Beer from

To say women’s sports have historically received short shrift–a sexist situation that continues today–would be an understatement.

Ahead of this summer’s Women’s World Cup in France, Commerzbank and the German football association (DFB) teamed up to create an ad that not only promotes the German women’s national team but also acknowledges the football establishment’s own role in diminishing female football accomplishments.


I thought the main issue in women’s sports was equal pay. I was wrong

The Guardian, Anya Alvarez from

We are told female athletes are paid less than men because they generate less money. But that will always be the case if women’s sports aren’t marketed properly


It’s not just sports. As the gig economy grows, American policy toward contractors needs to change generally too. But it was surprising to learn that athletes can’t negotiate protections into their own contracts.

Twitter, Lindsay Crouse from

So while mat leave may be symbolic, it’s a good place to start.


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