Female Sports Science newsletter – June 2, 2019

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 2, 2019



Women’s World Cup: How Chile’s footballers fought back from the brink

CNN, Matias Grez from

They hadn’t stepped foot onto a football pitch for more than two years — 981 days to be exact — but Chile’s national team made quite an impact on its return.

The match had barely been advertised, not in the media nor by the country’s football federation, but still more than 10,000 fans turned up at Santiago’s Estadio Nacional to watch them beat Peru 12-0.

This, of course, was not the men’s national team but the women’s, a team which had endured years in the wilderness under the country’s football association (ANFP).

Such was the neglect of women’s football in the country, an all too familiar feature across South America, Chile had been removed entirely from FIFA’s world rankings for being “inactive”.


Meet Dina Asher-Smith, The World’s Fastest Woman

Elle, Liv Little from

If it hadn’t been for an ice cream bribe, Dina Asher-Smith may never have become Britain’s fastest woman.

It wasn’t a desperate desire to be famous or even to be an athlete that inspired her to take up track and field. Instead, it was a friend’s promise of a frozen treat if she went along to a local running club when they were at primary school. Despite finding day one a challenge, she came fifth out of 400. Dina giggles as she recounts the day.

‘I was like, “This is the most horrendous thing ever,” and there was a point when I slowed down and said, “I’m so tired – can I stop?” And they were like, “No! You’ve got to keep going.” And that’s how I discovered track and field.’


Olivia Moultrie: 13-year-old is women’s soccer’s grand experiment

SI.com, Chris Ballard from

A steady drizzle fell on Portland on the evening of March 27. By six o’clock traffic had snarled. It wasn’t much of a night for a preseason soccer friendly—still, some 2,000 diehards ventured out to watch the local pro women’s team take on the U.S.’s U-23 squad.

The first half proved uneventful. The Portland Thorns were missing Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan, both senior national team stars. As the second half began, a new player came on for the Thorns. Unlisted in the program and smaller than most of her peers, number 42 wore bright red cleats and a high bun. Appearing tentative, she lost the ball a few times, won it back once and came off early to huddle with trainers, thoroughly gassed. Which made sense. After all, she was only 13.


Hoak-Lange finishes 2nd in Buffalo Marathon women’s race – with passenger

The Buffalo News, Rachel Lenzi from

Aileen Hoak-Lange finished second in the 26.2-mile women’s marathon Sunday in the Buffalo Marathon.

She completed the course in 2 hours, 55 minutes, 2 seconds, but if Hoak-Lange’s time seemed a little slow Sunday morning, it was for good reason. Two weeks prior to the race, she found out she was pregnant, so she had a passenger in tow during the course of the marathon.

“I’m three months, as of yesterday,” Hoak-Lange said. “I checked with the doctor and made sure I was clear, and she said, ‘go ahead, give it your all, and you’re fine to do that.’ So, that eased my mind a little. It was a little bit of a surprise but it’s almost a relief, but it made sense as to why some of my workouts, recently, haven’t been up to par.


Beth Mead’s angry side has launched her into elite, says Phil Neville

The Guardian, Suzanne Wrack from

Phil Neville has said the Arsenal forward Beth Mead has gone from wanting to go to Blackpool on holiday to wanting “to go to the moon”, after he warned her in January that she had one game to prove herself and had to stop being nice.

Mead was named player of the match on Saturday after she provided a pinpoint cross on to the head of Jill Scott for England’s second goal in a 2-0 win against Denmark and took the corner that led to Nikita Parris opening the scoring.

“The penny has dropped,” Neville said. “It’s like: ‘Do you want to go to Blackpool on your holidays or do you want to go to the moon?’ She now wants to go to the moon. Before she was happy to go to Whitley Bay and have fish and chips.”


A Mount Everest climb often takes two months. Roxanne Vogel just did it in two weeks.

The Washington Post, Jacob Bogage from

Nearly as difficult as summiting Mount Everest for Roxanne Vogel was coordinating in a mere number of hours her trip home, a task like something out of a “Mission Impossible” movie mixed with developing-world air travel.

Vogel trained for three years for a trip that defines the term whirlwind: she’d leave home in Berkeley, Calif., climb the world’s tallest mountain and fly back to California all in 14 days.

On the 12th day, May 22, Vogel reached the peak, which left two days to get halfway around the world and back home while starting at one of the Earth’s most remote locations.

She walked through her front door around 11 p.m., May 24 — done with one hour to spare.



What Is Team USA Known For?

FloVolleyball from

USA players and head coach Karch Kiraly weigh in on what they believe they’re known for around the world. [video, 1:05]


Contribution of High School Sport Participation to Young Adult Bone Strength

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal from

Introduction Nearly 8 million American adolescents participate in sports. Participation declines in young adulthood.

Purpose This study assessed longitudinal effects of high school sport participation and muscle power on young adult bone strength.

Methods Two hundred twenty-eight young adults from the Iowa Bone Development Study completed an interscholastic sport participation questionnaire. Current physical activity (PA) behaviors were assessed via questionnaire. Dual x-ray absorptiometry assessed hip areal bone mineral density and was used with hip structure analysis to estimate femoral neck section modulus and hip cross-sectional area. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography provided strength-strain index and bone strength index at 38% and 4% midshaft tibial sites, respectively. Vertical jump estimated muscle power at 17 yr. Sex-specific multiple linear regression predicted young adult bone outcomes based on sport participation groups. Mediation analysis analyzed the effects of muscle power on relationships between sport participation and bone strength.

Results At follow-up, males participating in any interscholastic sport had greater bone strength than males who did not participate in sport. The explained variability in bone outcomes was 2% to 16%. Females who participated in sports requiring muscle power had greater bone strength than females who did not participate in sports or females who participated in nonpower sports (explained variability was 4%–10%). Muscle power mediated 24.7% to 41% of the effect of sport participation on bone outcomes in males and 19.4% to 30% in females.

Conclusions Former male interscholastic sport participants and female interscholastic power sport participants have stronger bones than peers even when adjusting for current PA. Muscle power did not fully explain differences in all bone outcomes, suggesting that sport participation has additional bone health benefits.


The 10,000-hour rule for sporting success is largely a myth, so let kids dabble

The Guardian, Sean Ingle from

This column comes from the sleepy Austrian town of Götzis, where Katarina Johnson-Thompson has obliterated a world-class heptathlon field, winning four of the seven disciplines. Her event is a supreme test of speed, strength, stamina and technical skill. Yet Johnson-Thompson did not start out wanting to be an athlete. Instead, while still in nappies, she began taking ballet classes. Then, later, she became obsessed with football, kicking about with friends outside her house in Liverpool while wearing a Steven Gerrard top. Only when she was older did she focus on track and field.

I mention this because I have been reading an extraordinary new book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph In A Specialised World, by David Epstein, which skewers what he calls “the cult of the head start” and makes an overwhelming scientific case for playing the sporting field.


sports medicine

The association of psychological readiness to return to sport after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and hip and knee landing kinematics

Clinical Biomechanics journal from


Anterior cruciate ligament tears have a negative psychological impact on athletes. Currently, it is not clear if psychological readiness to return to sport has an impact on an athlete’s landing biomechanics. Thus the purpose of the study is to investigate whether there is an association of psychological readiness to return to sport and single-leg landing biomechanics.

Athletes with an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (n = 18) completed the Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Return to Sport after Injury scale to measure psychological readiness to return to sport, knee strength testing, and a single-leg landing task. A multivariate linear regression model was built for the involved and uninvolved limb based on sagittal and frontal plane knee and hip range of motion. Significance was set at p < 0.05. Findings

Knee extensor/flexor strength testing showed significant differences (p < 0.05) between involved and uninvolved limbs. Nearly 40% of the variance in psychological readiness scores (p = 0.025) can be accounted for by the involved limb's frontal plane hip and knee range of motion. Knee frontal plane range of motion was the only significant factor, and the standardized coefficients indicate that greater knee frontal plane range of motion and lower hip frontal plane range of motion were associated with higher psychological readiness. No other associations were found between psychological readiness and sagittal or frontal plane sing-leg biomechanics of the involved or uninvolved limbs. Interpretation

Greater psychological readiness to return to sport is associated with the involved limb’s frontal plane knee and hip range of motion during a single-leg landing biomechanics.


Risk factors of stress fractures due to the female athlete triad: Differences in teens and twenties. – PubMed – NCBI

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports from


The female athlete triad (Triad), defined by the American College of Sports Medicine as low energy availability (EA) with or without disordered eating, menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density (BMD), is associated with stress fractures and athletes aged 16-17 years are most susceptible.

To examine whether the Triad increases the risk of stress fractures, athletes were assigned to a “teenage” group and a “20s” group.

This prospective study enrolled 390 elite female athletes and was conducted from 2012 to 2016 at Japan Institute of Sports Sciences. Blood concentrations of various hormones were examined and BMD was measured at the lumbar spine and throughout the whole body using DXA. LEA was defined as body weight ≤ 85% of the ideal body weight for teenage athletes, or BMI ≤ 17.5 for athletes in their 20s. Low BMD was defined as a BMD Z-score of < -1.0 in the lumber spine and the whole body. RESULTS:

Among 390 athletes enrolled, 36 developed new stress fractures within 3 months of registration. The risk for stress fractures due to the Triad in teenage athletes was higher than for athletes in their 20s. In teenage female athletes, secondary amenorrhea, low BMD for the whole body, and a low ratio of actual body weight to ideal body weight increased the risk for stress fractures by 12.9 times, 4.5 times and 1.1 times, respectively.

To prevent stress fractures in female athletes with the Triad, age of athletes should be taken into consideration.


“England’s Jordan Nobbs calls for research into ACL injuries and menstrual cycle” Would love ⁦@ElliottSale⁩ & ⁦@ezross⁩ to be involved in future research.

Twitter, Owen Satterlay, Keith Baar from

Agreed that @ElliottSale is great. We have a human trial going with @BergstromMSM based off of an exciting follow up to our published work in this area https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25979936/ …. Hope to have something in the next 6 months.



The WNBA Is Uniquely Suited To Survive Its Many Star Absences

FiveThirtyEight, Neil Paine from

When it was announced this week that Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird would miss the 2019 WNBA season with a knee injury, it was just the latest in a long line of maladies that have struck the league this year. In addition to Bird, the sport has seen absences take out her teammate Breanna Stewart (reigning WNBA MVP), 2014 MVP Maya Moore of Minnesota, Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry, Dallas’s Skylar Diggins-Smith, Indiana’s Victoria Vivians, Las Vegas’s Lindsay Allen and Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi for either all or most of the 2019 season.

It’s a shocking and unprecedented spate of missing stars that figures to drastically change the championship picture for multiple teams, including — probably first and foremost — the Storm, who won the 2018 WNBA title based on huge contributions from Stewart and Bird. Together, the players listed above generated 30.5 wins last season according to Wins Created — a combination of Basketball-Reference.com’s Win Shares and the Player Efficiency Rating-based Estimated Wins Added metric.


An Audience of Athletes: The Rise and Fall of Feminist Sports

Longreads, Britni de la Cretaz from

… When I first began reading through issues of womenSports, requested through the archives of the Boston Public Library and delivered to me in huge binders organized by year, I was in awe. I could not believe that something like this had existed, because nothing like it exists even today, 40-plus years later. A monthly magazine dedicated exclusively to women’s sports and female athletes seemed like a dream.

“This particular woman, the woman who is active, who pursues sports, she travels, she’s a great reader, she’s a great audience,” says Susan Casey, former editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated Women, which published in 1997 and again from 1999 to 2002. “She’s kind of underserved right now and I hope that changes.” In truth, that woman has been underserved for a very long time.


Who makes the cut in the WNBA? Looking at WNBA rosters by players’ draft positions

Medium, Her Hoop Stats, Jenn Hatfield from

Even for the best women’s college basketball players, the probability of making a WNBA roster is extremely low. The NCAA estimates that less than 1 percent of draft-eligible players heard their names called in the 2018 WNBA Draft, and even draftees face an uphill battle to make a WNBA roster. This year alone, arguably the best player in Buffalo history, Cierra Dillard, was cut from two different WNBA training camps, and the consensus national player of the year, Megan Gustafson, failed to stick on the Dallas Wings’ roster.

So, you might ask, who beat the odds to make a WNBA roster this season? As you might expect, a lot more first-round picks managed to make a roster than second- or third-round picks — but there’s more to the story.


What Happens When A World-Class Athlete Decides To Have A Baby

NPR, Morning Edition from

Sprinter Allyson Felix has nine Olympic medals, including six gold medals. And she’s not done. Yet contract talks with Nike, her sponsor, are at an impasse.

ALLYSON FELIX: And to me, you know, it’s no longer about money. It’s just about one thing simply, and that’s the protection around maternity.

INSKEEP: She spoke with Rachel Martin about what to expect when a world-class athlete is expecting. Here’s how she says Nike reacted to her news.


Women’s professional hockey is at a crossroads; how we got here has been a long road

Sporting News Canada, Mike Murphy from

If you’re having trouble keeping up with what’s happening in the world of professional women’s ice hockey in North America – don’t worry, you are definitely not alone.


NWHLPA and its players continue to build towards 2019-20 campaign

The Hockey News, Erica Ayala from

In the wake of the players involved with the #ForTheGame movement forming the PWHPA, the NWHLPA continues its push towards and preparation for the 2019-20 NWHL season.



Women want the office to be warmer. Science now backs them up

Los Angeles Times, Jessica Roy from

What’s the perfect office temperature?

Everyone you ask will have a different answer. For some people, an office climate bordering on frosty is ideal; for others, anything below subtropical necessitates a blanket, fingerless gloves and an illicit space heater.

There’s no one thermostat setting that will make everyone happy. But in a new study, USC researchers offer the temperature that facilitates optimal productivity.


VIDEO – USWNT’s Crystal Dunn explains lack of diversity in US soccer

SI.com from

USWNT defender Crystal Dunn attributes US Soccer’s lack of the diversity to the high costs to participate in the sport, describing to SI Now’s Amy Campbell how we could learn from the way soccer is organized overseas. [video, pre-roll + 1:30]


The Women’s World Cup’s Other Inequality: Rich vs. Poor

The New York Times, Jere Longman from

If the story of women’s soccer in recent years has been the ongoing fight for equal pay, there always has been a different inequality just below the surface. While women’s international soccer has made significant progress in some countries, support for it, especially financially, from individual federations and corporate sponsors continues to vary widely.

France, the host country for this year’s championship, has a thriving professional league, and its players have spent the last few weeks preparing for the World Cup at their federation’s national training center. The United States, the defending champion and a three-time winner of the tournament, is completing an opulent send-off tour across the country this weekend, replete with nationally-televised games on ESPN and giant billboards on big-city buildings.

Jamaica’s run-up to the World Cup, by contrast, has been much less visible, and its program’s mere existence far less financially secure. Historically, the Reggae Girlz have received tenuous support from their national federation. As recently as 2015, the federation cut off financing for the team entirely.


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