Applied Sports Science newsletter – August 30, 2018

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 30, 2018


Stephen Strasburg cites fatigue, not health, for notable drop in velocity in comeback start

The Washington Post, Jorge Castillo from

… “He said he felt fine and I think he did get a little gassed,” Martinez said. “I thought, ‘That’s good enough for me.’ And he competed. And I’m proud of him. He went out there when we needed him and he competed.”

“I don’t really know,” Strasburg said. “I saw it too, so I’d like to think that it’s … I don’t know if it’s rust, I think it’s just endurance. Hopefully, that’s what it is.”

Strasburg returned Wednesday after having pitched just once since June 8. He first spent six weeks on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Then he got roughed up in a start July 20 and spent the next month on the disabled list with a cervical nerve impingement. Strasburg didn’t make a rehab start before Wednesday’s outing, but he logged several bullpen sessions and threw 77 pitches in a simulated game last week in St. Louis. The Nationals, always extra cautious with Strasburg, deemed him healthy and ready.

“He was good to go,” Martinez said. “He threw a lot of bullpens. We got him up to 75-80 pitches and he felt good.”


From high school star to elite pro, Mallory Pugh is a shining example for change in U.S. Soccer

Los Angeles Times, Dylan Hernandez from

Mallory Pugh smiled.

“It’s funny,” she said.

There’s plenty that America’s next soccer star finds funny. That’s how she described the Olympics being more competitive than the Under-20 World Cup. She used the phrase when recalling her troubles enrolling in an online college course.

In this particular instance, she was talking about returning from a sprained knee ligament to train with the U.S. women’s national team for the first time in more than four months.

“It takes a couple trainings to get back into that speed of play,” Pugh said.


Cincinnati Bengals 2018: Can Geno Atkins keep up Hall of Fame pace?

Cincinnati Enquirer, Paul Dehner Jr. from

… “You just can’t do it (the same),” Sapp said. “You aren’t able to do it. There is a reason they put that 30 on you. Because they have seen enough of us hit that 30 wall. It’s real. It’s absolutely real. It’s just the mileage on a car. It’s like anything else. It’s not getting any better. You are running a marathon. You are not getting stronger at the end of a marathon. You hold on.”

That’s where Atkins disagrees. He looks at the evolution of sports science since the days Sapp roamed the sideline as altering the reality of what the 30s look like.

“I don’t really consider age, honestly,” Atkins said, at his press conference after signing the extension. “With today’s sports science and all that advancement of how to take care of your body and all that knowledge goes into what we do now with modalities and keeping you fresh for gameday and with the training staff with cold tub, hot tub NormaTec, stem and all that, I think that really age isn’t even a factor anymore. Now guys can extend their career barring any injuries to 30-plus, mid-30s, really.”


How to Get Enough Sleep in College

Lifehacker, Beth Skwarecki from

The feeling I associate most with my early college days is exhaustion. I wrote all my papers at night; I fought sleep every time a lecture got a bit dull. You can’t live for years on a sleep deficit, though, so here’s what I should have known from the start.


How Does a University Advance an ‘Athlete-friendly’ Curriculum?

The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, George Leef from

… You would think that in a self-respecting educational institution, the faculty would be able to read, analyze, and comment on such a study relating to an academic matter. But the faculty was not given such an opportunity. The committee’s report was only for the provost.

And even though Auburn’s athletics department got its way, the confrontation continued to simmer. Professor Stern was targeted with various retaliatory acts for his whistle-blowing efforts, especially dean Aistrup’s attempt to have him replaced as chairman. Stern told Stripling, “What they have done to me is necessary to keep people in line, or you will have other people who will speak out.”

UNC got caught at its athletics cheating, but Auburn seems to have pulled off a successful cover-up. There is little doubt that, as we enter a new football season, many of its players will be getting an “education” designed mainly to ensure that they remain eligible to play.


Finding the sweet spot of a good night’s sleep: not too long and not too short

European Society of Cardiology from

Researchers have found a sweet spot of six to eight hours sleep a night is most beneficial for heart health. More or less is detrimental. Their findings are presented today at ESC Congress 2018. (1)

Study author Dr Epameinondas Fountas, of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, Athens, Greece, said: “We spend one-third of our lives sleeping yet we know little about the impact of this biological need on the cardiovascular system.”


Countering college’s culture of sleeplessness

Harvard Gazette from

A full night’s sleep is hardly a tradition for college first-years. At Harvard, with new people and experiences to discover in a storied city, plenty of 18-year-olds would rather be out on the town than counting sheep.

But this year, students in the Class of 2022 may decide to turn in a bit earlier, thanks to the work of Raymond So ’21 and Charles Czeisler ’74, the Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and chief, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

For the first time at Harvard, incoming first-years are being asked to complete “Sleep 101″ by bedtime on move-in day (Aug. 27). A component of the Sleep Matters Initiative at BWH, “Sleep 101” is an interactive module designed to increase student awareness of the health and performance implications of sleep, as well as provide tips and strategies on how best to maintain a healthy sleep schedule in a competitive, busy environment such as college.


P.J. Fleck’s walk-on warriors

Football Study Hall blog, Ian Boyd from

Recruiting and branding mastermind P.J. Fleck has been working the walk-on program in an effort to build up the Minnesota roster into the kind of squad that can compete for B1G titles.


Jazz strength and conditioning coach Mark McKown, a link to the Stockton & Malone years, leaves organization

The Salt Lake Tribune, Andy Larsen from

McKown moves on now to become an independent consultant in the field.


University of Calgary launches wearable tech program as demand for graduates explodes | CBC News

CBC News, Stephen Hunt from

As the director of the University of Calgary’s Running Injury Clinic, Reed Ferber noticed something way back in 2009.

“Runners were using wearable technology — the Nike chip was the first type of wearable technology. They were not going on their runs if they forgot their device at home,” Ferber said.

“So [I realized] these devices are changing behaviour of these athletes.”

Close to a decade later, Ferber revealed Monday the University of Calgary has received funding from the federal government in the form of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) CREATE grant to train 80 graduate students over the next six years to become experts in the field of wearable technology — which has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry.


An avatar uses your gait to predict how many calories you will burn

EPFL, News from

… Humans instinctively adopt the gait that requires the least amount of energy given the walking conditions. Without realizing it, we are constantly tweaking our pace, stride length and foot lift. But could we consciously play with these parameters in order to influence our energy expenditure?

Researchers at EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory from the School of Engineering studied eight gait parameters in order to come up with a very sophisticated software program that uses an avatar to predict how much energy people use when they walk depending on their walking style. This research has been published in Scientific Reports. Salman Faraji, the co-lead author, devoted an entire section of his thesis to this topic.

The avatar – a torso equipped with two legs with feet – can be freely configured. Users start by entering their height and weight and can then set the walking speed, distance between their feet (stride length and stride width), and foot lift, along with the incline of both the torso and the ground. They can also add mass and simulate the effect of being pushed or pulled at different parts of the body. The number of calories burned and the energy consumption are displayed in real time whenever the parameters are modified.


Biosensor Allows Real-Time Oxygen Monitoring for ‘Organs-On-A-Chip’

North Carolina State University, NC State News from

A new biosensor allows researchers to track oxygen levels in real time in “organ-on-a-chip” systems, making it possible to ensure that such systems more closely mimic the function of real organs. This is essential if organs-on-a-chip hope to achieve their potential in applications such as drug and toxicity testing.

The organ-on-a-chip concept has garnered significant attention from researchers for about a decade. The idea is to create small-scale, biological structures that mimic a specific organ function, such as transferring oxygen from the air into the bloodstream in the same way that a lung does. The goal is to use these organs-on-a-chip – also called microphysiological models – to expedite high-throughput testing to assess toxicity or to evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs.

But while organ-on-a-chip research has made significant advances in recent years, one obstacle to the use of these structures is the lack of tools designed to actually retrieve data from the system.

“For the most part, the only existing ways of collecting data on what’s happening in an organ-on-a-chip are to conduct a bioassay, histology, or use some other technique that involves destroying the tissue,” says Michael Daniele, corresponding author of a paper on the new biosensor. Daniele is an assistant professor of electrical engineering at North Carolina State University and in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


As football reaches ‘a tipping point,’ UVA turns to advanced technology to keep players safe

Richmond Times-Dispatch , Mike Barber from

Even before the death of a University of Maryland offensive lineman following a workout this summer, the University of Virginia had put in place enhanced precautions to help protect its football players from the dangers of heatstroke.

U.Va. put itself at the forefront of player safety by adding real-time monitoring of players’ core body temperatures.

“It’s really helping us keep them safe,” said assistant athletic director for sports medicine Kelli Pugh, the football team’s primary trainer. “Before, we had to wait until they felt bad to tell us they felt bad.”

Prior to certain football practices and workouts, U.Va. freshmen and other high-risk players swallow a pill. The multivitamin-sized tablet contains a digestible sensor capable of using a Bluetooth connection to send real-time data to trainers’ computers.


The A’s Changed Baseball Once. They May Be Changing It Again.

FiveThirtyEight, Travis Sawchik from

… So how did the A’s get here? This isn’t another “Moneyball” story. The once-undervalued metric of on-base percentage is no longer baseball’s best-kept secret — and it’s not even an Oakland staple. The A’s have instead pursued different paths to become one of the better teams in the major leagues despite opening the season with the game’s lowest payroll.

Keeping it in the air

Because fly balls and line drives are so much more valuable than ground balls, more and more individual players are trying to launch balls into the air. But the A’s have acquired, and ostensibly tried to develop, the skill at a teamwide level since 2013. As’s Mike Petriello found, the A’s have posted five of the eight lowest ground-ball seasons since 2004, including this season’s mark so far. Their average launch angle of 14.9 degrees leads baseball.

While they have acquired fly-ball hitters like Jed Lowrie, Matt Joyce and Khris Davis, they have also developed anti-grounder sluggers in Matt Olson (2012 first-round pick) and Matt Chapman (2014 first-rounder).


The business models that work in soccer

Dan Altman, North Yard Analytics from

… If you run a sports club and want to win sustainably, then you have to make decisions based on facts – just as you would in any other industry. The moment you allow emotion and machismo to affect your decisions, the club is no longer an investment. Rather, it is a vehicle for your personal consumption and enjoyment; the fans, players, coaches, and staff are just along for the ride.


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