Applied Sports Science newsletter – June 1, 2017

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 1, 2017


Risks still abundant as Chris Bosh hopes to get back on court in NBA, David Aldridge from

… The majority of front office people who gave their (anonymous, obviously) thoughts on Bosh believed that while there would be interest in him, it would be hard for any team to go after him because it would be so hard to find a doctor who would pass him on a physical.

“There will be interest, but the health risks outweigh the upside for most organizations,” one Western Conference executive said.


Will Andre Iguodala’s health be the biggest factor in the 2017 NBA Finals?

Fansided, The Step Back, Scott Rafferty from

… As ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh explained last season, there was only one player in 2015-16 who kept James to less than 21.0 points per 100 possessions: Marcus Morris (20.5). There were an additional three players who allowed James to score less than 28.5 points per 100 possessions: Andre Iguodala (21.0), Thabo Sefolosha (21.6) and Kawhi Leonard (28.3). That basically means James scored at a similar rate to this season’s Joe Johnson (20.3) and Harrison Barnes (28.2) when one of those four players defended him, both of which aren’t bad marks by most players’ standards. Against everyone else in the league, however, James turned into Kevin Durant with an average of 36.0 points per 100 possessions.

The name that should jump out from that list is Iguodala because he’s the only player remaining in these playoffs who has had some success guarding James in the past.


Interview with Tim Sparv, the ‘no-stats all-star’

The Set Pieces, Robbie Dunne from

Tim Sparv is ‘brain damaged’ from football analytics. “I just scream at the TV at some player taking a shot 30 metres from the side of the box. For me it’s just horrendous,” he says. Sparv is referring, of course, to expected goals and the best places to shoot on the pitch. “Every time I watch a game on TV now and I see the shots being taken from far, I always think about the shot location and where the biggest chances are for scoring a goal.”

If Sparv is not at the forefront of the analytics revolution, he is certainly in the middle of it. The Finnish international, who spent four years at Southampton as a youngster, is a symbol of the game-changing acquisitions clubs can find if they are looking at the right variables.

Sparv was signed by FC Midtjylland in 2014 when the Danish club highlighted him as someone who can spot potential dangers on the pitch before they materialise. He is not an abrasive player because he doesn’t need to be. He slipped under the radar because traditional statistics don’t take into account defensive midfielders who have strengths outside tackling and winning the ball in the air.


Doubts about Bale’s fitness ahead of Champions League final

The Washington Post, AP, Tales Azzoni from

… “It’s been a very difficult season for me,” the 27-year-old Bale said. “I’ve had my operation, which really caused all of my problems, which is quite unlucky. But I haven’t played for the last six, seven weeks. I would understand if I was on the bench… If I have to come on and make an impact that way, then that’s what I have to do and that’s what I’ll do for the team. Whatever is best for the team is ultimately the most important.”

The Wales forward said he played through pain after returning to action following the ankle surgery in November. He said he worked hard to regain his fitness, taking part in double sessions of training to try to expedite his recovery. He has been practicing with the rest of the squad for the last few weeks.


Exercise and sleep: Good news for the weary, Sandee LaMotte from

… “There has been more and more research in the last decade showing exercise can reduce insomnia,” Rush University clinical psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron said. “In one study we did, for example, older women suffering from insomnia said their sleep improved from poor to good when they exercised. They had more energy and were less depressed.”

“There are more solid studies recently that looked at people clinically diagnosed with insomnia disorder, rather than self-described poor sleepers,” agreed the University of Pittsburgh’s Christopher Kline, who studies sleep through the lens of sports medicine. “The results show exercise improves both self-reported and objective measures of sleep quality, such as what’s measured in a clinical sleep lab.”


New study could radically improve the way cyclists train – Technology providing personalized on-the-spot feedback takes sports science up a few gears

University of Calgary, UToday from

… [Louis] Passfield — on a year-long study leave from the University of Kent — has teamed up with University of Calgary kinesiology professor Juan Murias and master’s student Calaine Inglis for a ground-breaking project that could radically improve the way cyclists train.

For the study, 12 local racers provided fitness baselines by undergoing gold-standard testing. At regular intervals during their season, they’ll return to the Human Performance Lab at the Faculty of Kinesiology to update their physiological profiles.

“It’s really neat that we can get them at these different time points,” says Inglis, “and try to understand better how things are changing in relation to their training.”


Texas on track to become first state to explicitly back stem cell therapies

STAT, Andrew Joseph from

Lawmakers in Austin have approved a bill authorizing unapproved stem cell therapies, putting Texas on track to become the first state to explicitly recognize the experimental treatments.

The measure now heads to Governor Greg Abbott, who has signaled his support for it.

For years, clinics across the country have been offering experimental stem cell therapies for patients with chronic conditions or terminal illnesses, but no state has given them legal validation. Instead, clinics have largely operated under the radar of regulatory authorities, touting treatments for a range of injuries and diseases.


Painkillers in sport: A ‘career necessity’ or a ‘serious health risk’?

BBC Sport from

… A poll for BBC’s State of Sport week found that 60% of amateur athletes took over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen to support their performance or recovery at least once a week.

Building on that research, File on Four spoke to a range of experts and sporting figures to ask whether the use of painkillers in sport has reached epidemic proportions.


Tech athletics tabs Rogers as new health care administrator from

The Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced Tuesday that Dr. Mark Rogers, the football and wrestling team physician, has been appointed athletics health care administrator in accordance with NCAA requirements.

According to legislation passed at the 2016 NCAA Convention, each member institution must designate a health care administrator to oversee the school’s health care administration and delivery. Primary athletics care providers, such as team physicians and trainers, retain the authority to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions, while the health care administrator takes an administrative role, serving as the primary point of contact to assure schools are compliant with NCAA health and safety legislation and inter-association recommendations.


UMaine using NCAA money to add mental-health program for athletes

Portland Press Herald, Mike Lowe from

The University of Maine will use a $640,038 disbursement from the NCAA to add a mental health program to its athletic department.

“We want to prioritize mental health care for our student-athletes,” said Lynn Coutts, a senior associate athletic director who is overseeing the implementation of the program.


Athletes’ Microbiomes Differ from Nonathletes

The Scientist Magazine®, Jeff Akst from

Genomicist Lauren Petersen has been racing mountain bikes since she was 14 years old. But throughout her teens she battled chronic Lyme disease, suffering recurring bouts of illness that sometimes kept her off her wheels. “I’d feel like crap for a month or two, and then the antibiotics would make me feel like crap, and then I’d rebound a little bit and be okay for a while,” she recalls. “It was continuous peaks and valleys.”

For seven years, Petersen’s doctors prescribed her a barrage of antibiotics. In 2003, at age 21, she took two or three broad-spectrum antibiotics at a time for an entire year, a regimen that she says seemed to finally kick the Lyme. But she wasn’t well. “Even when I wasn’t sick anymore, I had chronic fatigue and bad stomach issues.”

She saw several doctors about her issues, but all the tests probing her immune system, liver function, and more came back normal. It wasn’t until she was studying pathogenic bacteria as a PhD student at the University of New Hampshire that she started hearing about the microbiome, and how it might affect health—and how antibiotics can kill the good bacteria in the body along with the bad. “It kind of rang a bell,” says Petersen, thinking back to the many courses of antibiotics she had endured. “I thought, ‘Wow, maybe there’s something wrong with my microbiome.’”


Lindsay Allen: Micronutrients Researcher

The Scientist Magazine®, Anna Azvolinsky from

At the interface of food, nutrition, and agriculture, Lindsay Allen’s research has been informing nutrition guidelines and policies around the world for decades.


English Premier League Injury Analysis: 2016/17 Season

PhysioRoom Blog from


Running Needs Another Steve Prefontaine

Outside Online, Martin Fritz Huber from

It’s been more than four decades since his death, and distance running hasn’t yet found anyone who can match his bravado


Creeping Forward: Improving Shot Location

StatsBomb, Euan Dewar from

… Whether you talk about it in terms of shot distance or shot zones, teams across Europe’s top five leagues are cutting the fat off of their shots. This article is going to focus on the Premier League specifically, mainly because there’s just so many things to digest across Europe that this could go on forever, so a cutoff point has to be set somewhere. If you want details on what’s going elsewhere give me a bell on twitter and if there’s enough curiosity there might be a follow up. … The first thing that sticks out is the relationship between shots taken outside the box and the total shots numbers. Bits are getting shaved off the outside numbers with each passing season, yet those shots aren’t really being replaced with anything. However, this isn’t really ending up as a loss in end product because of the increased focus on better shots. Everything is floating around in similar totals, and the goals aren’t going away that’s for sure.


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