Applied Sports Science newsletter – May 31, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for May 31, 2017


U.S. coach Bruce Arena calls up European-heavy roster for World Cup qualifiers

Los Angeles Times, Kevin Baxter from

… Arena brought his team to train in the thin, mile-high air of Colorado in an attempt to prepare the players for Mexico City, which is more than 2,000 feet higher than Denver. But dealing with the schedule may be even more difficult than adjusting to the altitude because the U.S. will be playing twice in four days with a 3 1/2-hour flight in between.

“That’s certainly going to be challenging,” Arena said. “It will require that we have a number of players ready to play. I guarantee we will not be playing the same team from Game 1 to Game 2. There will be a number of changes for the game in Mexico so we’ve built a strong roster to allow us to do that.”


Seattle Seahawks’ Earl Thomas working on his comeback

ESPN NFL, Sheil Kapadia from

About 15 minutes after Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas broke his left leg on Dec. 4 against the Carolina Panthers, he received a phone call from Jeremy Hills.

Hills, the founder, CEO and head trainer of The Factory in Austin, Texas, has known Thomas since high school, and the two were teammates in college. In 2015, when Thomas suffered a torn labrum, Hills helped him with his rehab, and the safety didn’t miss a game.

This offseason, as Thomas rehabbed from the most serious injury of his career — a fractured tibia — he leaned on Hills once again.


Von Miller of Denver Broncos looks to spend more time on field

ESPN NFL, Jeff Legwold from

Von Miller plays a lot in the Denver Broncos’ defense — as he should, because good things usually happen for the Broncos when the linebacker’s on the field. But Miller says he could be out there even a little more.

“Oh yeah, I’ve done some things with my workouts, cardio, working for time, how quick I go from one thing to the next,’’ Miller said. “It’s going to help. I think it could be big.’’

Miller played 81.2 percent of the defense’s snaps last season — 930 in all. Among the team’s front seven, only defensive end Jared Crick played more (82 percent, 939 snaps) — after defensive end Derek Wolfe had missed two games.


Australian Open winner Roger Federer is having way too much fun to quit now

ESPN, Kurt Streeter from

… The 20 minutes in Melbourne have changed the tone and shape of the last phase of Roger Federer’s career.

For as long as he keeps playing tennis, he says, he will seek the feeling he found on that night. He is closing in on two decades as a professional, a record career that includes 18 grand slams, but winning the Australian after a nearly five-year major tournament drought — and against a legion of critics who said his best days might be behind him — feels like a beginning somehow. Never mind making tennis look easy; he is learning how to play the game at ease.

“I’m having a great time,” he says, pouring himself a Pellegrino. “A fantastic time, really.” He doesn’t mean just at Melbourne. He dominated at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, in March, then won another big title in Miami in April. He beat Nadal in all three tournaments, twice without losing a set.


Zach Lowe on Cleveland Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson becoming an elite role player

ESPN NBA, Zach Lowe from

… Atlanta’s big men so feared Thompson’s offensive rebounding, they became hesitant to leave him and contain drives. The guards, hung out to dry, snapped at the bigs. The bigs snapped back that they needed more rebounding help. “He just becomes this problem,” Korver said. “Everyone is suddenly yelling at everyone else. You get a stop against LeBron, and he gets another rebound. It’s so frustrating. It sucks all the wind out of you.”

A few weeks after the Cavs won the title, Thompson reported to the Canadian national team ahead of Olympic qualifying. He asked the coach, Jay Triano, if he might have five minutes to address the team. Triano was curious. Thompson was a champion and a celebrity. Had he lost his sense of self?

Thompson talked about everyone accepting their limitations and playing their role even if it was mostly grunt work.


Repeated bouts of exhaustive exercise increase circulating cell free nuclear and mitochondrial DNA without development of tolerance in healthy men

PLOS One; Dariusz Nowak et al. from


Acute single strenuous exercise increases circulating cell free DNA (cf DNA). We tested whether three repeated bouts of exhaustive exercise induced the cf DNA response without development of tolerance in healthy men.

Eleven average-trained men (age 34.0±5.2 years, body mass index 26.2±3.1 kg/m2, maximal oxygen consumption—VO2max 49.6±4.5 ml/kg*min) performed three treadmill exercise tests to exhaustion at speed corresponding to 70% VO2max separated by 72 hours of resting. Blood was collected before and after each bout of exercise for determination of cell free nuclear and mitochondrial DNA (cf n-DNA, cf mt-DNA) by real-time PCR, selected markers of muscle damage, and blood cell count.

Each bout induced the increase (p<0.05) in plasma cf n-DNA: from 3.4±1.4 to 38.5±27.5, from 4.1±3.3 to 48.5±26.2, and 3.1±1.6 to 53.8±39.9 ng/mL after the first, second, and third exercise, respectively. In a congruent way, cf mt-DNA rose significantly after the second (from 229±216 to 450±228*103 GE/mL) and third bout of exercise (from 173±120 to 462±314*103 GE/mL). Pre-exercise cf mt-DNA decreased (p<0.05) by 2-times (from 355±219 before the first bout to 173±120*103 GE/mL before the third bout) over the study period and were accompanied by significant increase in white blood cells, platelets, creatine kinase, creatinine and lactate after each bout. However, the exercise induced percentage increment of cf n-DNA was always many times higher than corresponding increments of the afore-mentioned markers at any occasion. Conclusions

Repeated bouts of exhaustive exercise induced remarkable increase in circulating cf n-DNA without signs of tolerance development. Baseline cf mt-DNA decreased in response to series of strenuous exercise. Since percentage increments of cf n-DNA in response to exercise were many times higher than those observed for other markers, measurement of circulating cf n-DNA could be a sensitive tool for monitoring acute exercise effects in human body.


Lakers Announce Hiring of Gunnar Peterson as the Director of Strength and Endurance Training

Los Angeles Lakers from

The Los Angeles Lakers announced today the hiring of Gunnar Peterson as Director of Strength and Endurance Training.

Peterson will design and implement a strength and conditioning program for the team with the goal of keeping the players performing at elite levels throughout the NBA season.


Why Executive Function Skills Take So Long To Fully Develop

KQED, MindShift, Jon Hamilton from

Impulsive children become thoughtful adults only after years of improvements to the brain’s information highways, a team reports in Current Biology.

A study of nearly 900 young people ages 8 to 22 found that the ability to control impulses, stay on task and make good decisions increased steadily over that span as the brain remodeled its information pathways to become more efficient.

The finding helps explain why these abilities, known collectively as executive function, take so long to develop fully, says Danielle Bassett, an author of the study and an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania.


Here’s the Latest Research on Running Form

Runner's World, Sweat Science blog, Alex Hutchinson from

… Jacob Lee and his colleagues at Utah Valley University will present the results of a running form intervention in which seven subjects were coached on “proper running mechanics” for a week, with a particular focus on “improving arm movement and cadence” to improve running efficiency.

Sure enough, 3D stride analysis showed that the runners were able to reduce their upper body movement, and they reported “working less intensely to run at the same rate.”

The problem? Actually measurements of energy consumption showed they were running less efficiently, and burning more energy.


Next-gen computing: Memristor chips that see patterns over pixels

University of Michigan, Michigan News from

Inspired by how mammals see, a new “memristor” computer circuit prototype at the University of Michigan has the potential to process complex data, such as images and video orders of magnitude, faster and with much less power than today’s most advanced systems.

Faster image processing could have big implications for autonomous systems such as self-driving cars, says Wei Lu, U-M professor of electrical engineering and computer science. Lu is lead author of a paper on the work published in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology.


Brooklyn Based Company, EpiBone, Grows New Bones Using Stem Cells

UPROXX, Allison Sanchez from

… What if your own stem cells could be used to grow a perfect copy of the bone you need? It seems incredible, but that’s what Brooklyn based company, EpiBone, is attempting. EpiBone uses a combination of a patient’s own stem cells and a 3D printer in a lab to actually grow new bones in under three weeks. The implications of which could revolutionize the health industry.

“Right now we’re focusing on bones above the neck, for cancer, trauma, congenital defects and dental surgery,” 37 year old CEO Nina Tandon told Scientific American. “In this area, about 100,000 procedures are performed every year in the U.S. alone. After blood, bone is the most transplanted tissue.”


What if the patient knows best? | Christina Farr

YouTube, TEDxTalks from

The era of the doctor as the all knowing, indisputable king of medicine, is over. Christina Farr believe that the role of the patient has become more and more important, and that a new era of patient directed treatment is upon us.


The science of taste, or why you choose fries over broccoli

The Conversation, Ingrid Appelqvist from

… what if we could make healthier foods taste better and thus improve eating patterns?

To examine questions of food taste, flavour and digestion under controlled conditions, we have developed a computational model of food mastication (chewing) and digestion.

We have also developed a kit to map genes that predict flavour preferences, and are measuring how proteins in saliva affect food flavour.


Will too much rest kill the Warriors’ NBA finals campaign?

The Guardian, Ian McMahon from

The Golden State Warriors entered the 2016 NBA finals under-rested and overwhelmed. Plagued by questions about Stephen Curry’s dodgy knee and Draymond Green’s kicks to the groin, they had just two days off before the finals. Did a lack of rest ultimately play a role in their breakdown?

Perhaps this year’s Warriors will answer that question. In a remarkable reversal of fortune, after finishing their jog to the 2017 NBA finals 12-0, this year’s Warriors were given nine days to rest and recuperate before Warriors-Cavaliers III.

In an NBA regular and post-season spanning almost eight months, with constant travel and numerous off the court concerns, rest is a commodity. In fact, much of the sports science in the NBA – biometric technology from companies such as Catapult, SportVu and OmegaWave – is dedicated to calculating a player’s need for recovery. Much to the commissioner’s consternation, both the Warriors and Cavaliers heeded this advice, resting star players down the stretch.


David Hesslink: Taking his passion to the major leagues

MIT MechE from

Like many kids, senior David Hesslink collected baseball cards when he was younger. Among his most prized cards was that of pitcher Randy Johnson who, like Hesslink, is one of the rare players to swing right-handed but pitch left-handed. As fate would have it, after graduating this June Hesslink will join the very franchise his favorite player pitched for, when he starts work in the baseball operations office for the Seattle Mariners.

“I came to campus with no idea of what I wanted to do with my life,” says the mechanical engineering major. “The only thing I knew for sure was I loved playing baseball.” That started to change when he took 2.086 (Numerical Computation) as a sophomore. A question on a homework assignment sparked an idea for a project.


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