Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 12, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 12, 2020


Tim Benz: Sorting through Jason Zucker trade and his Penguins’ debut, Tim Benz from

… “He’s got a ton of speed,” captain Sidney Crosby said after the game. “I think he fits the way we play as a group.

“He creates a lot of loose pucks. The more he gets comfortable, the better it is going to be.”

General manager Jim Rutherford seems to love Zucker. He tried acquiring him last summer for Phil Kessel. So let’s hope this isn’t simply the culmination of confirmation bias on his part.


Usain Bolt says NFL star Tyreek Hill has ‘no chance’ of making Tokyo Olympics

Sky Sports from

Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt says NFL star Tyreek Hill has “no chance” of making the US team for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Hill, whose side ended a 50-year wait for Super Bowl glory with victory over San Francisco 49ers, said before the match that he is seriously considering trying to make the US Olympic team this year.


Sleep guru James Wilson not taking credit for success at clubs he’s worked with

FourFourTwo from

Sleep guru James Wilson says he cannot take the credit for the recent success at the clubs he has worked with.

But can it be a coincidence that Sheffield United, Rotherham and Lincoln have all enjoyed good times on the pitch, when Wilson has helped to ensure everything is peaceful off it – specifically during the night?

The sleep behaviour and environment expert, who is also known as ‘The Sleep Geek’, has gone into those three clubs and helped the players and staff with their nighttime habits and results have since spiked.


Ionescu has unfinished business in her senior season – ESPN Video

ESPN NCAA Women's Basketball from

Go behind the scenes with Sabrina Ionescu and the Oregon Ducks before their big win at UConn. [video, pre-roll + 3:35]


Manager Gabe Kapler works on building trust with Giants fans

Associated Press, Janie McCauley from

… He is committed to earning people’s trust, and has started by building deep relationships with the coaches and can carry that further with the players once everybody is together at spring training in Arizona. Kapler retained longtime Giants coach Ron Wotus to coach third base, lending some stability to the group by keeping someone who has been around for decades.

“Before I’ve really gotten to know the players very well the staff is really important for me to build relationships with. My intention is to build even deeper relationships and have our coaches build deeper relationships because then when the players come in they’re going to see that connectedness,” Kapler said.


A Complex Relationship: Sleep, External Training Load, and Well-Being in Elite Australian Footballers.

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance from


To assess relationships between objective sleep characteristics, external training loads, and subjective ratings of well-being in elite Australian football (AF) players.

A total of 38 elite male AF players recorded objective sleep characteristics over a 15-day period using an activity monitor. External load was assessed during main field sessions, and ratings of well-being were provided each morning. Canonical correlation analysis was used to create canonical dimensions for each variable set (sleep, well-being, and external load). Relationships between dimensions representing sleep, external load, and well-being were quantified using Pearson r.

Canonical correlations were moderate between pretraining sleep and external training load (r = .32-.49), pretraining sleep and well-being (r = .32), and well-being and posttraining sleep (r = .36). Moderate to strong correlations were observed between dimensions representing external training load and posttraining sleep (r = .31-.67), and well-being and external training load (r = .32-.67). Player load and Player load 2D (PL2D) showed the greatest association to pretraining and posttraining objective sleep characteristics and well-being. Fragmented sleep was associated with players completing the following training with a higher PL2D.

Maximum speed, player load, and PL2D were the common associations between objective sleep characteristics and well-being in AF players. Improving pretraining sleep quality and quantity may have a positive impact on AF players’ well-being and movement strategy during field sessions. Following training sessions that have high maximum speed and PL2D, the increased requirement for sleep should be considered by ensuring that subsequent sessions do not start earlier than required.


Swing Analytics Here to Stay, Learn from it and Embrace It. Blast Motion

Baseball Outside The Box podcast, Peter Caliendo from

Matt Tanner has been with Blast Motion Baseball as the Channel Manager for the past 2 year. He just recently presented at the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Convention. [audio, 50:58]


Engineers mix and match materials to make new stretchy electronics

MIT News Office from

At the heart of any electronic device is a cold, hard computer chip, covered in a miniature city of transistors and other semiconducting elements. Because computer chips are rigid, the electronic devices that they power, such as our smartphones, laptops, watches, and televisions, are similarly inflexible.

Now a process developed by MIT engineers may be the key to manufacturing flexible electronics with multiple functionalities in a cost-effective way.

The process is called “remote epitaxy” and involves growing thin films of semiconducting material on a large, thick wafer of the same material, which is covered in an intermediate layer of graphene. Once the researchers grow a semiconducting film, they can peel it away from the graphene-covered wafer and then reuse the wafer, which itself can be expensive depending on the type of material it’s made from. In this way, the team can copy and peel away any number of thin, flexible semiconducting films, using the same underlying wafer.


Activity and functional readiness, not age, are the critical factors for second anterior cruciate ligament injury — the Delaware-Oslo ACL cohort study

British Journal of Sports Medicine from

Objective To elucidate the relationships between age, return to level I sport (RTS) within the first postoperative year, passing RTS criteria and second anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Methods In a prospective cohort study, 213 athletes were followed for 2 years after ACL reconstruction to record second ACL injuries. Independent variables were age, passing RTS criteria and level I RTS within the first postoperative year (vs later or no RTS). We defined passing RTS criteria as ≥90 on the Knee Outcome Survey — Activities of Daily Living Scale, global rating scale of function and quadriceps strength/hop test symmetry.

Results The follow-up rate was >87% for all outcomes. In multivariable analysis, level I RTS within the first postoperative year and passing RTS criteria were highly associated with second ACL injury (level I RTS HR: 6.0 (95% CI: 1.6 to 22.6), pass RTS criteria HR: 0.08 (95% CI: 0.01 to 0.6)), while age was not (age HR: 0.96 (95% CI: 0.89 to 1.04)). Athletes <25 years had higher level I RTS rates in the first postoperative year (60.4%) than older athletes (28.0%). Of those who returned to level I sport in the first postoperative year, 38.1% of younger and 59.1% of older athletes passed RTS criteria. Conclusion High rates of second ACL injury in young athletes may be driven by a mismatch between RTS rates and functional readiness to RTS. Passing RTS criteria was independently associated with a lower second ACL rate. Allowing more time prior to RTS, and improving rehabilitation and RTS support, may reduce second ACL injury rates in young athletes with ACL reconstruction.


Skeletal maturation and growth rates are related to bone and growth plate injuries in adolescent athletics

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports from

Injuries are common in elite adolescent athletics, but few studies have addressed risk factors for injury. Growth and maturation are potential risk factors in this population; however, the current body of literature is both inconclusive and considered at high risk of bias. The aim of this study was therefore to examine if growth rate, maturity status and maturity tempo are associated with injury risk in an elite sports academy. Anthropometric, skeletal maturity and injury data collected prospectively over four seasons (117 athlete‐seasons) were included in the analyses. Growth rate for stature was associated with greater risk of bone (Incidence rate ratio (IRR): 1.5 per one standard deviation increase above the mean; 95% CI: 1.1 to 1.9) and growth plate injuries (IRR: 2.1; 1.5 to 3.1). Growth rate for leg length was associated with greater overall injury risk (IRR: 1.3; 1.0 to 1.7) as well as the risk of bone (IRR: 1.4; 1.0 to 1.9) and growth plate injuries (IRR: 2.1; 1.4 to 3.0). Athletes with greater skeletal maturity, expressed as skeletal age (IRR: 0.6 per year; 0.5 to 0.9) and percentage of predicted mature height (IRR: 0.8 per percent increase; 0.7 to 1.0) were less prone to growth plate injuries. Rate of change in skeletal age was associated with an increased risk of bone injuries (IRR: 1.5; 1.0 to 2.3). The results of this study suggest that rapid growth in stature and leg length, skeletal maturity status and maturity tempo represent risk factors for certain injury types in adolescent athletics.


Fifteen-week window for recurrent muscle strains in football: a prospective cohort of 3600 muscle strains over 23 years in professional Australian rules football

British Journal of Sports Medicine from

Objectives To determine the rates of muscle strain injury recurrence over time after return to play in Australian football and to quantify risk factors.

Methods We analysed Australian Football League player data from 1992 to 2014 for rates of the four major muscle strain injury types (hamstring, quadriceps, calf and groin) diagnosed by team health professionals. Covariates for analysis were: recent history (≤8 weeks) of each of the four muscle strains; non-recent history (>8 weeks) of each; history of hip, knee anterior cruciate ligament, knee cartilage, ankle sprain, concussion or lumbar injury; age; indigenous race; match level and whether a substitute rule was in place.

Results 3647 (1932 hamstring, 418 quadriceps, 458 calf and 839 groin) muscle strain injuries occurred in 272 759 player matches. For all muscle strains combined, the risk of injury recurrence gradually reduced, with recurrence risks of 9% (hamstring), 5% (quadriceps), 2% (calf) and 6% (groin) in the first match back and remaining elevated for 15 weeks after return to play. The strongest risk factor for each muscle injury type was a recent history of the same injury (hamstring: adjusted OR 13.1, 95% CI 11.5 to 14.9; calf OR 13.3, 95% CI 9.6 to 18.4; quadriceps: OR 25.2, 95% CI 18.8 to 33.8; groin OR 20.6, 95% CI 17.0 to 25.0), followed by non-recent history of the same injury (hamstring: adjusted OR 3.5, 95% CI 3.2 to 3.9; calf OR 4.4, 95% CI 3.6 to 5.4; quadriceps OR 5.2, 95% CI 4.2 to 6.4; groin OR 3.5, 95% CI 3.0 to 4.0). Age was an independent risk factor for calf muscle strains (adjusted OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.0). Recent hamstring injury increased the risk of subsequent quadriceps (adjusted OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.7) and calf strains (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.6). During the ‘substitute rule’ era (2011–2014), hamstring (adjusted OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.86), groin (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.93) and quadriceps (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.92) strains were less likely than outside of that era but calf (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.3 to 1.9) strains were more likely than before the substitute rule era.

Conclusion Recent injury is the greatest risk factor for the four major muscle strains, with increased risk persisting for 15 weeks after return to play.


How Google Got Its Employees to Eat Their Vegetables

Medium, OneZero, Jane Black from

The tech giant is engineering a way to encourage its employees to eat healthier — and it might just help the rest of the country



Barca Innovation Hub from

The second edition of the “Barça Nutrition Sports Conference”, took place on the 9th of October, with relevant personalities in the sports nutrition world. The latest trends in periodization, monitoring, nutrition education, and the use of supplementation, among other topics were debated. The book “High-Performance Nutritional Cuisine. Practical Recipes for football” was presented at the event, which showcases 20 recipes created by the FC Barcelona nutritionists for the first team when competing, in order to recover well.

Functional approach for the player’s nutrition: biomarkers, immune tolerance and metabolic optimization

In the first part of the day, Dr. Franchek Drobnik, member of FC Barcelona medical services and the chief of the research department at the High-Performance Center (CAR) of Sant Cugat del Vallés, explained the importance of measuring variables when monitoring the athlete’s performance and health condition.


State of the USMNT: Assessing the U.S. on talent identification, player development and tactical evolution

ESPN FC, Jeff Carlisle and Noah Davis from

It’s been more than two years since the U.S. men’s national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. It’s been little more than a year since Gregg Berhalter took charge of the national team for the first time. The Americans’ first crack at redemption will come this fall, when they begin qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

So with the failures of the 2018 cycle in the past and the hope of the 2022 cycle still on the horizon, where does the U.S. stand? Jeff Carlisle and Noah Davis answer that question by chronicling the state of the U.S. men’s national team in four key areas as the Americans prepare to start on the path toward Qatar.


NBA using artificial intelligence for highlight clips this All-Star game

CNBC, Jessica Golden from

  • The NBA has been experimenting with technology from WSC Sports to analyze key moments of each game and spit out some of the best highlights.
  • As social media has emerged as an important destination to reach fans, the need for more and customized highlights has grown.

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