Applied Sports Science newsletter – May 26, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for May 26, 2017


LeBron James Is Indestructible

FiveThirtyEight, Owen Phillips from

… Quantifying a player’s durability is a bit tricky because the NBA doesn’t keep track of games missed due to injury, which leaves us no way to distinguish physical issues from other reasons for missing games, such as paternity leave or regular rest. The best we can do, then, is to look at the number of games a player appeared in as a portion of the number of games they could have appeared in. The higher the percentage of possible games played, the more durable the player is.2

This year, James appeared in 74 out of a possible 82 games during the regular season and has played in all 12 of the Cavaliers’ playoff games — that’s a 91 percent appearance rate. By itself, that statistic is unremarkable. But when you put it in context — James has played in at least 85 percent of his teams’ games in every season of his career — you see something special.


Video indicates Teddy Bridgewater could be close to same QB — at some point

The San Diego Union-Tribune, ProFootballDoc from

… Bridgewater still has a long way to go. The video doesn’t prove anything, but it definitively shows progress having been made in the nine months since he suffered a left knee dislocation that included tearing his ACL and other major ligaments.

In viewing the video, his left knee looks stiff as he plants, has a stomping gate that fails to dampen through the knee, does not flex/sit down with the knee as he sets to throw and does not fully shift weight to step into his throw on follow through. Footwork and balance are key for a quarterback and he is not there yet, but this is a good start. He will need to show more than this including lateral movement before being game ready.

Of significant note, Bridgewater does not appear to have any nerve damage, as can happen with knee dislocations.


Here’s why people believe Aaron Judge can be the next Derek Jeter for the Yankees

Yahoo Sports, Jeff Passan from

… “Enjoy the 0 for 4s,” Judge said. “Not really enjoy them, but learn from them. Don’t make everything a negative. Turn it into a positive. The days you’re 0 for 4, ask why you were 0 for 4. Was it the pitcher making good pitches, and I just need to recoup and get ready for the next day? Or was it something with my swing? Or did I not prepare the right way? Learn from those so you can turn everything into a positive.”

Never was Derek Jeter a particularly vocal leader. No rah-rah cheerleading or back-slapping motivation. He did so by example and by deed, like the time he was rehabbing his bum ankle in Tampa, saw the new first-round pick had arrived, walked up to him and said. “Hey, Aaron, great to meet you. Great to have you on board.” And though this may seem like the normal, reasonable, proper thing to do, baseball culture does not exactly encourage any of them.


Minnesota football: PJ Fleck begins work selling Row the Boat mantra |, Pete Thamel from

P.J. Fleck remains one of the most captivating characters in college football. He ambushed the sport’s consciousness last season by leading Western Michigan to the Cotton Bowl with an undefeated regular season and a MAC championship. Fleck got hired at Minnesota in January, bringing his high-energy “Row The Boat” philosophy to Minneapolis. The early returns include an adrenaline spike in relevancy to the traditionally milquetoast Gophers program, which includes a 2018 recruiting class ranked in the top 20 by all three major services.

Fleck recently sat down with Sports Illustrated to talk about the Gophers’ cultural overhaul, his post-spring thoughts on their talent, former Western Michigan star Corey Davis’s NFL future and how other Big Ten coaches have received him.


Staying healthy, laying foundation top priorities for 49ers in OTAs

ESPN NFL, Nick Wagoner from

… Strong attendance is a positive for every team, but it’s particularly important for a team like the Niners, who are just beginning to build a foundation.

“I think it’s huge,” Shanahan said. “It’s something you can’t necessarily control, but you’ve definitely got to try to get the right people who it’s important to. I think it’s very hard to build a team when your team isn’t there. It’s one sport that you can practice individually and maybe make yourself bigger, faster, stronger, but on both sides of the ball, it’s 11 guys playing together. The only way to get better playing together is to be together. It is something that is very important.”

So, with that in mind, what does Shanahan hope to gain during the team’s 10 OTAs and final veteran minicamp?


England at the Under-20 World Cup: Interview with manager Paul Simpson

The Set Pieces, Matt Stanger from

“We want to try and create intelligent footballers,” says England Under-20 manager Paul Simpson at the team’s hotel in the centre of Jeonju, South Korea.

“We’re trying to give them that little bit of ownership so that they’re intelligent enough to deal with a game while it’s going on. I think the days of being dictator coaches are gone. We have to get the players to be involved in the process. If they feel as though they’ve played a part in the decisions, they’ll carry them out that little bit clearer.”


Fatigue, sport performance and hormones..more on the endocrine system

BMJ Blogs: BJSM blog, Dr. Nicky Keay from

How do you feel on Monday morning, when the alarm wakes you at 7am with a day of work ahead after the weekend? A bit tired, slightly lethargic, sluggish, maybe a little bit down, perhaps a few regrets about somewhat too much alcohol/food over weekend, frustrated that the exercise training schedule didn’t go according to plan?

There are many causes of fatigue and sport underperformance: Endocrine, immunological, infective, metabolic, haematological, nutritional, digestive, neoplastic….. The adrenal gland in the Endocrine system in particular has come in for some bad press recently.


Pushy AI Bots Nudge Humans to Change Behavior

Scientific American, Richard Conniff from

When people work together on a project, they often come to think they’ve figured out the problems in their own respective spheres. If trouble persists, it’s somebody else—engineering, say, or the marketing department—who is screwing up. That “local focus” means finding the best way forward for the overall project is often a struggle. But what if adding artificial intelligence to the conversation, in the form of a computer program called a bot, could actually make people in groups more productive?

This is the tantalizing implication of a study published Wednesday in Nature. Hirokazu Shirado and Nicholas Christakis, researchers at Yale University’s Institute for Network Science, were wondering what would happen if they looked at artificial intelligence (AI) not in the usual way—as a potential replacement for people—but instead as a useful companion and helper, particularly for altering human social behavior in groups.


Fitness trackers accurately measure heart rate but not calories burned

Stanford Medicine, News Center from

A Stanford inquiry into the accuracy of seven wristband activity monitors showed that six out of seven devices measured heart rate within 5 percent. None, however, measured energy expenditure well.


MIT’s ‘living cell’ shirt reacts to sweat to help cool you down

Digital Trends, Dyllan Furness from

In the future, your clothes will be lined with living cells. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed Biologic, a biohybrid technology behind workout clothes that ventilate when a wearer sweats thanks to a lining of microbes.

“We found that microbial cells are sensitive to moisture change in the environment,” Wen Wang, a biotech researcher who led the study, told Digital Trends. “At dry condition, the cell shrinks to a smaller size, while at humid condition, it swells to a bigger size.”

Wang and his team used bioprinting to coat small flaps of latex with E. coli cells, creating a sandwich with microbes on the top and bottom, as they described in a recent paper published in the journal Science Advances. When exposed to heat or moisture, the cells shrink and cause the latex to bend. So when a wearer warms up and starts sweating, the flaps curl and create little vents, allowing air to flow and the fabric to breathe better.


Do Force Platforms, Pressure Sensors And Smart Insoles Do The Same Thing?

SABEL's Sports Technology Blog from

Force platforms, pressure sensors and smart insoles are all devices that a person can step on and get some insight related to their weight or the pressure they are exerting on those devices with each step. Other than that, they are quite different and can have very different applications. This post is just an attempt to break that down. Feel free to jump to the different sections that are of interest:


The Crosstalk between the Gut Microbiota and Mitochondria during Exercise

Frontiers in Physiology from

Many physiological changes occur in response to endurance exercise in order to adapt to the increasing energy needs, mitochondria biogenesis, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and acute inflammatory responses. Mitochondria are organelles within each cell that are crucial for ATP production and are also a major producer of ROS and reactive nitrogen species during intense exercise. Recent evidence shows there is a bidirectional interaction between mitochondria and microbiota. The gut microbiota have been shown to regulate key transcriptional co-activators, transcription factors and enzymes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis such as PGC-1α, SIRT1, and AMPK genes. Furthermore, the gut microbiota and its metabolites, such as short chain fatty acids and secondary bile acids, also contribute to host energy production, ROS modulation and inflammation in the gut by attenuating TNFα- mediated immune responses and inflammasomes such as NLRP3. On the other hand, mitochondria, particularly mitochondrial ROS production, have a crucial role in regulating the gut microbiota via modulating intestinal barrier function and mucosal immune responses. Recently, it has also been shown that genetic variants within the mitochondrial genome, could affect mitochondrial function and therefore the intestinal microbiota composition and activity. Diet is also known to dramatically modulate the composition of the gut microbiota. Therefore, studies targeting the gut microbiota can be useful for managing mitochondrial related ROS production, pro-inflammatory signals and metabolic limits in endurance athletes.


Two things I’ve changed my mind about, part II: Phytic acid


Phytic acid is a substance found primarily in whole grains, beans, and nuts that reduces the absorption of specific minerals from food. I previously wrote that minimizing phytic acid may be an important part of a healthy diet, but new evidence—and a reexamination of old evidence—has convinced me that it probably isn’t as important as I initially thought. At least in the context of a diverse, omnivorous diet.

Phytic acid is a small molecule found in seeds like grains, beans, and nuts that binds (chelates) certain essential minerals—particularly calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc—and reduces their absorption from food. What this means is that the nutritional value of these foods isn’t as high as you might expect if you looked them up in a nutritional database. Many traditionally-living cultures with grain-heavy diets used techniques such as soaking, grinding, and fermentation that reduce phytic acid levels and increase mineral availability (1). Let me explain why I think phytic acid is less of a nutritional concern than I used to.

The human gut adapts somewhat to phytic acid-rich food


Premier League 2016-17 review: what we learned tactically from the season

The Guardian, Michael Cox from

Chelsea’s switch to three at the back changed thinking in top flight while regaining the ball via pressing, rather than retaining it, is now regarded as fundamental


The science of visual interactions

O'Reilly Radar, Miriam Redi from

Miriam Redi investigates how machine learning can detect subjective properties of images and videos, such as beauty, creativity, and sentiment.


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