Applied Sports Science newsletter – August 3, 2018

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 3, 2018


Missy Franklin Returns To Nationals, Opens Up About Struggle With Depression And Anxiety

Team USA, Karen Rosen from

Missy Franklin smiled and laughed on the pool deck at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships, greeting old friends and meeting young swimmers who’ve grown up watching her on television.

People didn’t know what to expect from Franklin at her first nationals in two years following two shoulder surgeries and a diagnosis of depression and anxiety.

“It’s funny – a lot of people have been coming up to me and saying that I look really happy, which I appreciate so much,” Franklin said, “but at the same time I think that’s part of the problem. You can look any way you want, you can look like the happiest person in the world and still be going through one of the hardest struggles.”


The day Jackie Joyner-Kersee was called ‘the greatest athlete who ever lived’

The Undefeated, Rhiannon Walker from

… In order for Joyner-Kersee to defend her title in Barcelona, she needed to overcome several hurdles, including the event that had left her with a torn hamstring at December’s World Championships in Tokyo — the 200 meters.

To add to her anxiety, the 200 was the final event of the first day. She took first place in 23.12 seconds.

“My fear of the 200 started back in December,” she said. “I would flash back to it.”

Joyner-Kersee’s performance in the long jump gave her a 239-point lead over Belova.


Danilo Gallinari, healthy and ready for action, to take part in NBA Africa game

Los Angeles Times, Broderick Turner from

… The summer has allowed his body to heal from hand and glute injuries that derailed the 6-foot-10 Italian’s maiden season with the Clippers.

Gallinari plans on showing he’s healthy and ready to prosper while playing for Team World against Team Africa at Sun Arena at Time Square.


Gregory Polanco and the Pittsburgh Pirates resurgence

SB Nation, Beyond the Boxscore blog, Merritt Rohlfing from

… Seeing a player turn it around is always neat and fun. We want more great players all the time. It’s also not that unique a story, the path he’s taken to accelerate his career. You’ve read and heard it time and again the last few years, from Yonder Alonso to Jesus Aguilar to Josh Donaldson. More fly balls, more damage, and maybe a bit less chasing of pitches out of the zone. Polanco is doing all that: his fly ball rate a career high 49.7 percent (12 points above his career average), his walk rate has leaped to 12.1 percent (three points above his career rate and nearly double his 2017 number), and his O-swing rate is 26.8 percent (the lowest since his rookie year and nearly five points below his career average).

So he’s made all the right adjustments (and the Pirates as a whole seem to have bought in full bore to the “no slugs on the ground” idea) and is turning in a great little season for himself. Which is very nice to see, because we always want young players to flourish and become very good and stun us with their amazing skills and abilities. It’s a bit bittersweet though, for so many reasons. The Pirates rising to the top of the league for a brief time, it was a bit magical. It was the fruition of the little guy rising up and challenging the powers that be. Of course all owners are rich, but the Pirates were the downtrodden— nearly a quarter century of no Octobers, a home of legends of the sport’s history that had fallen on hard times. So seeing them shine so briefly as they did, and seeing players like Polanco or Starling Marte or Josh Bell have such underwhelming starts to a career, it’s a bit sad to think of what might have been.


Emily Fox Wins Race to Recover for 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup

U.S. Soccer from

… First and foremost, the painstaking process required patience. Recovery from ACL surgery, for any athlete is a marathon, not sprint. She had to take a series of steps and clearances in her comeback plan: to run, to cut, to dribble with the ball, to kick and shoot and finally, to play in full-contact in drills. Fox found ways to deal with frustration as she took it one day at a time.

“For me, it was kind of a shock, because I thought as soon as I’m cleared I can just be free and do everything,” Fox said. “It was kind of a learning process because everything takes steps. A lot of it for me was that every single day I did something, even in the early stages when you can’t run or be with the ball. I learned a lot about patience for sure.”

While she waited to return to the field, Fox found ways to improve herself off-the-field. All of the little things became more important as she worked her way back. The care with which she looked after each wrinkle of her plan ensured her the speediest recovery possible.


Liverpool in Evian: Triple training sessions, nothing but football – it’s ‘my week’ for Jurgen Klopp

ESPN FC, Glenn Price from

Liverpool are now away from the hustle and bustle of the United States and the International Champions Cup. For the second straight summer, Jurgen Klopp has taken his side to a rural part of Europe for an entirely football-focused training camp.

Liverpool used Bavarian town Rottach-Egern as their base last summer and are now spending five days in Evian-les-Bains.

The small French town is a popular tourist spot, overlooked by the French Alps and on the shores of Lake Geneva. It’s peaceful and picturesque. The bars and restaurants along the water are packed day and night. The sound of Lake Geneva slowly crashing into rocks seems only ever to be interrupted by the hourly boat that travels back and forth from the Swiss city of Lausanne directly opposite.


SCMS 2018: How Machine Learning Can Make Sports Workflows More Efficient

Sports Video Group, News, Ken Kerschbaumer from

… “The industry is at the learning phase of how we wrangle extra data into something more meaningful,” he added. For example, by using AI and machine learning to do some of the more generic editing or clipping decisions (like a scoring play or penalty), the creative team can focus on finding additional material that adds emotion to the piece.

Rinehart said the Notre Dame Studios team is trying to figure out how to take a very large dataset and apply it to the rest of the university. In the athletic department, it helps creative teams find shots of coach and player reactions or crowd shots more easily. And, with automated transcription, an interview can become searchable within a matter of minutes of its conclusion.

“If we can solve that problem in one part of the university,” he added, “how can it apply to other areas, like for lectures so that students can search against it?”


OpenCV Object Tracking

PyImageSearch, Adrian Rosebrock from

In last week’s blog post we got our feet wet by implementing a simple object tracking algorithm called “centroid tracking”.

Today, we are going to take the next step and look at eight separate object tracking algorithms built right into OpenCV!

You see, while our centroid tracker worked well, it required us to run an actual object detector on each frame of the input video. For the vast majority of circumstances, having to run the detection phase on each and every frame is undesirable and potentially computationally limiting.

Instead, we would like to apply object detection only once and then have the object tracker be able to handle every subsequent frame, leading to a faster, more efficient object tracking pipeline.


The Saints have a new team “cooling center” that players can use DURING practice

FootballScoop, Doug Samuels from

The Saints have a new creative tool to help players cool down after practice.

Designed by company in Lafayette, Louisiana, the mobile storage container has been rigged as, essentially, a giant freezer. The unit is equipped with a bunch of folding chairs to allow players to come in and sit in the 25 degree environment to cool off during, and after a hot practice.

Only a matter of time before these hit high schools in Texas, Georgia, California, Arizona, and states like those.


Composite Cellularized Structures Created from an Interpenetrating Polymer Network Hydrogel Reinforced by a 3D Woven Scaffold

Macromolecular Bioscience journal from

Biomaterial scaffolds play multiple roles in cartilage tissue engineering, including controlling architecture of newly formed tissue while facilitating growth of embedded cells and simultaneously providing functional properties to withstand the mechanical environment within the native joint. In particular, hydrogels—with high water content and desirable transport properties—while highly conducive to chondrogenesis, often lack functional mechanical properties. In this regard, interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) hydrogels can provide mechanical toughness greatly exceeding that of individual components; however, many IPN materials are not biocompatible for cell encapsulation. In this study, an agarose and poly(ethylene) glycol IPN hydrogel is seeded with human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Results show high viability of MSCs within the IPN hydrogel, with improved mechanical properties compared to constructs comprised of individual components. These properties are further strengthened by integrating the hydrogel with a 3D woven structure. The resulting fiber‐reinforced hydrogels display functional macroscopic mechanical properties mimicking those of native articular cartilage, while providing a local microenvironment that supports cellular viability and function. These findings suggest that a fiber‐reinforced IPN hydrogel can support stem cell chondrogenesis while allowing for significantly enhanced, complex mechanical properties at multiple scales as compared to individual hydrogel or fiber components.


FIFPro says insufficient break after World Cup puts players health at risk

ESPN FC, Reuters from

Global footballers’ union FIFPro says that at least 15 World Cup players have taken part in UEFA club competitions less than four weeks after returning from Russia, giving them an insufficient close season break.

The union reiterated its call for a mandatory rest period of at least four weeks between the final game of one season and the start of pre-season training for the next.


Trade Threads: Weaving a Roster Together

The Hardball Times, Chris Davies from

… I started by looking at the rosters of each major league team to determine whether players were homegrown, acquired via free agency or waivers, or acquired by trade. Because 40-man rosters include players without big league service time but 25-man rosters are too volatile, I had to create parameters to limit the population. One hundred plate appearances was my baseline for batters, whereas for pitchers I used minimums of 10 appearances or 25 innings pitched.

In narrowing my search this way, most teams had more than 25 players who qualified (mostly those whose players have struggled with injury), though some had fewer. But because the average number of players per team who qualified was not much higher than average roster size (28.7), I felt fairly confident with my methodology. With my sample selected, I then used Roster Resource and Baseball-Reference to identify how players were acquired and to follow the threads of those who were part of trade deals.


3D printed shot charts at the JSM art showI’m legit upset I didn’t come up with this ideas myself#JSM2018…

Twitter, Katherine Evans from


The National Sport Plan has ambitious ideas, but not enough specifics

The Conversation, Lisa Gowthorp from

Following 18 months of consultations, the much-anticipated National Sport Plan was finally unveiled by Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie this week to great fanfare.

Released at the same time was a review of Australia’s sports integrity policies – another major priority of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government, commissioned in response to concerns over gambling and match-fixing worldwide.

Scrutiny of the National Sport Plan has come quickly in the media, with mixed reviews. The ABC, for instance, called the plan “light on details” and “heavy on buzzwords”, but applauded the ambitious approach to tackle corruption in sports.

So, what will the new plan do in practical terms, and what did the government get right?


‘I’m really worried’: Rafael Benítez concerned over Newcastle’s outlook

The Guardian, Louise Taylor from

Rafael Benítez’s tenure as Newcastle’s manager looks to be reaching a pivotal moment after he claimed “everything” is wrong behind the scenes at St James’ Park.

“When things are not going well off the pitch you can see a reflection on the pitch,” Benítez said after Wednesday’s 4-0 friendly defeat at Braga in northern Portugal. Pressed as to whether he was referring to recruitment at a club showing a profit on summer dealing, he replied: “Everything – I’m really worried.”

The Spaniard is concerned about the depth of his squad and remains desperate to sign a central striker – ideally West Brom’s Salomón Rondón – as well as a No 10, a centre-half and a left-back, but asked if there was money to spend or any deals were close he said: “I have no idea. The fans have to be concerned, we are concerned. I’m really worried.”


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