Applied Sports Science newsletter – December 28, 2018

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for December 28, 2018


Alexis Sanchez shows off rigorous fitness routine as he trains to the sound of ‘Eye of the Tiger’

Daily Mail Online (UK), Nathan Salt from

Alexis Sanchez is putting in the hard yards on his own at the training ground as he bids to prove his fitness ahead of the visit of Bournemouth.

The Manchester United attacker is yet to ignite his career at Old Trafford having joined the club from Arsenal back in January.

But with a new lease of life breathed into the club by interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Sanchez is pushing himself to the sounds of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor ahead of his return to the side.


Rose Lavelle ready to shine for USWNT, powered by humble confidence

Sporting News, Mike DeCourcy from

Rose Lavelle will tell you with a surprising air of modesty that even after earning 20 caps with the United States Women’s national team, starting four of the five games in the CONCACAF championship and scoring the winning goal in the title game, she does not think of herself as having made it with the reigning world champions.

Lavelle also will tell you with all sincerity that she has believed since she was a puny ninth-grader, overlooked by many scouts and coaches, her future included a place on the national team.


Carey Price’s latest injury stirs panic amongst Canadiens fans, Eric Engels from

It’s a lower-body injury. Again.

How much time will he miss? Nobody knows yet.

Of all the things Montreal Canadiens fans would never like to hear again, this tops the list. They were tormented when Price missed 70 games of the 2015-16 season with a knee injury that was supposed to only cost him roughly six weeks, and you can imagine their reaction to Thursday’s Twitter update — sent from the team’s official account at 1:03 p.m. ET and containing no specific details on the injury, nor any on the expected timeline for recovery.

A total gut-punch. And then there’s the immediate ramification to consider: That the timing of Price’s injury couldn’t be worse.


The Whitehouse Address: A Discussion About Challenging and Supporting Young Players

Matt Whitehouse, The Whitehouse Address blog from

After a week of player reviews it’s led to some contemplation and discussion about what’s the best approach to take with young players. Do we critique, challenge and push, or support and boost their ego’s? Let’s discuss.


A Season in the Heartland, NFL, Greg Bishop from

… Here at the TCO Performance Center, punts no longer doink off the practice facility roof. The hot tub accommodates more than five players at a time. There’s an underwater treadmill … and a nutrition bar … These are all stops on the tour given by general manager/cicerone Rick Spielman. Signs all around him extoll the virtues of watermelon water; defensive end Everson Griffen walks by, shouting about how much he loves the turmeric shots at the juice bar.

Coach Mike Zimmer tolerates these new digs, even if some of the more lavish touches make him squirm. He never allows anyone to turn on the fireplace in the locker room, for instance, or to put anything other than the day’s schedule on the dozens of TVs scattered throughout the facility. “Players win games,” the 62-year-old says one day in Eagan, scoffing at the amenities. Asked about the new draft room, with its 40 bigscreens all stitched together, everything digitized, he says: “Seven-hundred fifty-thousand [dollars], just so we don’t have to use f—— magnets.”

Later, Spielman settles into his desk as a summer storm rattles the tables outside on his veranda. Repeat: He has a veranda. Plus a coach he loves (begrudgingly, at times), a top-tier defense, two star receivers and, finally, a franchise QB. “All we have to do now,” he says, leaning back, “is win.”


Serena Williams’ catsuit ‘offers easy way to prevent blood clots’

Daily Mail Online, Alex Raskin from

… The WTA did recently grant approval for such compression garments to be worn during that organization’s tournaments. However, that ruling does not apply to the four grand slams, so Williams could be prevented from wearing it at Roland Garros in 2019.

Professional tennis is notoriously resistant to new fashion trends (for instance, the white lycra body suit worn by Anne White at Wimbledon in 1985 was immediately banned by that tournament), but what remains somewhat absent from the ongoing debate is the catsuit’s efficacy.

Do compression bodysuits offer athletes – particularly those with intrinsic clotting disorders – a tangible advantage?


Liability For Sports Organizations In The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Concussions

Gowling WLG (Toronto, Canada), Josh Hanet and Kavi Sivasothy from

… The law surrounding liability for concussions remains unsettled, creating challenges for plaintiffs seeking to recover damages for injuries. However, that does not relieve responsibility from sports organizations in the interim. To mitigate liability and protect their players, organization must proactively address their duty of care. Organizations should seek medical and legal advice to ensure they are meeting the standard of care required for their players. While their efforts need not be perfect, organizations cannot escape liability by begging ignorance any longer.


Embrace a Fake Meat Future for Its Lesser-Known Benefits

WIRED, Science, Clive Thompson from

Recently I rolled into a local restaurant to try an Impossible Burger, an all-plant patty invented by the Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods. It’s renowned for having an eerily chewy, even bloody, meatlike quality, a startling verisimilitude that has made it “perhaps the country’s most famous burger,” as New York magazine recently wrote. One bite into its gorgeous, smoky flavor and, damn, I was convinced.

This is good news, because the time has come to scale up fake meat, fast. Why? Because in the fight to stave off climate change, meat replacement is—forgive me—one of the lowest-hanging fruits.


WADA denied Moscow lab data access, leaving Russia facing ban

Reuters, Steve Keating from

Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is again on the verge of suspension after a World Anti-Doping Agency inspection team visiting a Moscow laboratory was denied access to raw data to complete its full reinstatement, WADA said on Friday.


Is Klopp right to slate ‘senseless’ Nations League?

Training Ground Guru, Liam Harper from

… Although some friendly matches are still being scheduled in international breaks, the new Uefa Nations League has essentially replaced them. This may be great news for national coaches, who can prepare players for meaningful matches, and for fans, who can watch games with something at stake.

But is it bad news for club owners, coaches, medical staff and, perhaps most importantly of all, for the players themselves? That’s what we set out to discover with our research.


Predicting non-contact hamstring injuries by using training load data and machine learning models

Mladen Jovanovic, Complementary Training blog from

In running-based team sports (e.g. soccer, handball, basketball, rugby), non-contact hamstring injuries remain one of the major reasons players spend time on the sideline. Losing players for multiple weeks due to the hamstring (or any other non-contact) injury, can cost clubs not only winning games and championship, but can also be a huge financial loss. Estimating likelihood of non-contact hamstring injuries and intervening with appropriate actions on those predictions is the “holy grail” of the applied sport science.

The aim of the current paper is twofold. First aim is to estimate predictive performance of multiple non-contact hamstring injury prediction models, by using a day-to-day collected training load data. Second aim is to follow up on the data preparation method outlined by the author in the previous paper,1 with predictive modelling on the real data set. Data set used in the current paper was given to the author, for the purpose of analysis by a sport organization that prefers to remain anonymous. Name of the athletes, days, training load metrics and any other data are made anonymous by the author. The author cannot claim validity of the data set used in the current paper, due to the fact that author has not been involved in the data collection, cleaning and storing of the data. Having said this, the results of the current paper should be viewed highly skeptically and with high level of concern. The purpose of the current paper is thus educational and speculative, with special emphasis on presenting a potential approach in predictive modelling of day-to-day training load data, with the aim of predicting non-contact hamstring injuries.


Sir Bradley Wiggins warns cycling will suffer if Team Sky breaks up

The Guardian, Press Association from

Sir Bradley Wiggins has warned cycling could take a step backwards if Team Sky close their doors at the end of next season.

Sky, who own and sponsor the team, announced last week they will end their investment in professional cycling at the end of 2019, leaving Sir Dave Brailsford scrambling to find new backing to keep the best-funded team in the sport together.

Wiggins, who became the first Briton to win the Tour de France when racing for Team Sky in 2012, has often been critical of his old employers since leaving in 2015, but said the end of the team would not be good news.

“People need to be careful what they wish for because if Sky go now the sport will be worse off for it,” Wiggins said on talkSPORT.


Expert-level sleep scoring with deep neural networks

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association from


Scoring laboratory polysomnography (PSG) data remains a manual task of visually annotating 3 primary categories: sleep stages, sleep disordered breathing, and limb movements. Attempts to automate this process have been hampered by the complexity of PSG signals and physiological heterogeneity between patients. Deep neural networks, which have recently achieved expert-level performance for other complex medical tasks, are ideally suited to PSG scoring, given sufficient training data.

We used a combination of deep recurrent and convolutional neural networks (RCNN) for supervised learning of clinical labels designating sleep stages, sleep apnea events, and limb movements. The data for testing and training were derived from 10 000 clinical PSGs and 5804 research PSGs.

When trained on the clinical dataset, the RCNN reproduces PSG diagnostic scoring for sleep staging, sleep apnea, and limb movements with accuracies of 87.6%, 88.2% and 84.7% on held-out test data, a level of performance comparable to human experts. The RCNN model performs equally well when tested on the independent research PSG database. Only small reductions in accuracy were noted when training on limited channels to mimic at-home monitoring devices: frontal leads only for sleep staging, and thoracic belt signals only for the apnea-hypopnea index.

By creating accurate deep learning models for sleep scoring, our work opens the path toward broader and more timely access to sleep diagnostics. Accurate scoring automation can improve the utility and efficiency of in-lab and at-home approaches to sleep diagnostics, potentially extending the reach of sleep expertise beyond specialty clinics.


The Nationals overhauled their roster for youth, speed and energy. Will it pay off?

The Washington Post, Chelsea Janes from

Transition comes in its own time, at its own pace, most visible in hindsight, most necessary after turmoil. And in the past two months, transition came quickly to the Washington Nationals. Despite retaining their entire coaching staff after a disappointing 2018 season, the Nationals have rebuilt their image and remade their clubhouse with purposeful speed, recasting their roster as a speedy, energetic bunch unlike any they have had before, at least on paper.


U.S. anti-doping agency eyes sports betting role

ESPN, Ryan Rodenberg from

The agency that spearheaded the takedown of Lance Armstrong has a new potential target: sports betting integrity.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is interested in monitoring the expanding sports betting market in the U.S., potentially broadening its role to help pinpoint unusual betting activity with the same type of statistical detection methods it already uses to flag markers suggestive of doping.

The possibility of a broader role for USADA — which could be delegated the authority to serve as a central ‘hub’ for sports wagering integrity efforts — took on a new level of importance after the formal introduction of comprehensive federal sports betting legislation earlier this week.

“If legalized sports gambling and potentially match-fixing situations continue to come to light, it would be important to have a regulatory body to put rules in place and hand down any sanctions necessary,” said Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of USADA in Colorado Springs. “USADA would consider expanding our scope


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.