Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 13, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 13, 2020


Pascal Siakam not your typical max player

NBC Sports, Pro Basketball Talk, Dan Feldman from

… The Raptors drafted Siakam with the No. 27 pick in 2016. Even that low, he was widely viewed as a reach. Siakam looked like just a hustle player, and his age appeared to limit his ceiling.

Only three years later, Siakam became only player selected outside lottery to receive a max rookie-scale extension.

“For those kids out there that want to see how good you can be, go watch him in the summer time,” said former Raptors coach Dwane Casey, who now coaches the Pistons. “Not worried about load management. The kid worked three a times a day, him and Rico Hines out there in L.A.”


Pirates director of sports medicine anticipating Gregory Polanco will report healthy to camp, Kevin Gorman from

… Polanco played in only 42 games last season after having setbacks from surgery on his left shoulder the previous September. He batted .242 with six home runs and 17 RBIs.

“It’s monitoring his workload,” Tomczyk said. “The biggest challenge at the end of the season with Gregory was hitting. That issue has seemed to be resolved and rectified at this point, and we’re excited to see where that plays in camp.”


Women’s Hockey: How Abby Roque became one of top offensive weapons for Badgers

University of Wisconsin, The Badger Herald, John Spengler from

Abby Roque’s journey to the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team was anything but typical. For starters, she hails from the state of Michigan, while the majority of her team is either a Wisconsin, Minnesota or Canada native.

On top of this, Roque also ascended through high school hockey while playing on her local boy’s team. Despite these differences, Roque cemented herself as a leading producer for the Badgers by her senior season.


Eagles hope changes in medical and training staffs will finally keep their top players on the field

South Philly Review blog, Mark Zimmaro from

… The Eagles have turned over their medical and training staffs every year during this span.

In his end-of-the-season news conference in January, Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman stated the Birds were going to get to the bottom of the team’s injury issues and turn it around.

“We have hired a new chief medical officer,” said Roseman, referring to Dr. Arsh Dhanota. “This is someone that we are very, very excited to have. He came in in June and what he asked for us was that he would observe, observe through the season, observe our training staff, observe our weight staff, our sports science, our processes, and make recommendations to us that we would carry out. So we’re excited about that.”


How Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers changed their culture under coach Matt LaFleur

USA Today Sports, Packers News, Jim Owczarski from

A reboot at 1265 Lombardi Ave. was needed. This much, most knew. Green Bay Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy held down the power button by opening a head-coaching search before the 2018 regular season concluded — one that ended with Matt LaFleur’s hiring in January 2019.

The result was a franchise-record seven-win turnaround and trip to the NFC championship game despite the raw numbers defining an average team. So how did one of the more successful, and perhaps surprising, seasons in the long history of the organization develop?

More than three dozen members of the team and coaching staff broke down the coding, which perhaps created the program for sustained success: an ideal blend of personalities that led to an earnest buy-in of the reset.

“Brotherhood can take you further than you can imagine,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “When you have that, it’s the outcomes you get …”


Take 5: The Upside of Failure

Kellogg Insight; Maryam Kouchaki, Dashun Wang, Benjamin F. Jones, Yang Wang, Craig Wortmann, Edward (Ned) Smith, Col. Brian Halloran, Eric T. Anderson from

No one sets out to design an unsuccessful product or get turned down for a big promotion. Yet there’s a growing awareness that failing actually has its upsides.

“The idea that one gets stronger through failure is the kind of stiff advice that people may tell themselves in difficult times,” says Kellogg strategy professor Benjamin Jones. Indeed, this idea has taken on new life in the “fail fast, fail often” mentality of startups, where it’s accepted that striking out is not just something to be endured, but a critical step on the path to success.

But how true is this widely held belief? And when, exactly, can failure be a boon?

Kellogg faculty weigh in on the surprising benefits of failing and how you can own—and even profit from—your mistakes.


Soft avatars for predicting garment fit

Cornell University, College of Human Ecology from

Ithaca, NY February 19, starting at 12:20 p.m., Cornell University Human Ecology Building. “The soft avatar project at UBC is a multi-year effort to capture not only the 3D shape of a human body but also its physical properties, including elasticity, soft tissue volume, and how the body responds to touch with garments and other objects.” [free]


Duke study: Activity, but not skin tone, can impact wearables’ PPG heart rate accuracy

MobiHealthNews, Dave Muoio from

The new investigation also found substantial differences between the performance of specific devices, with consumer products generally outperforming research wearables.


How kirigami can help us study the muscular activity of athletes

Waseda University (Japan), News from

… a joint research team from Waseda University and Kitasato University, Japan drew inspiration from a traditional Japanese artform called kirigami, to prepare a durable skin-like patch for measuring the electromyographic activity of palm muscles, and have published their findings in NPG Asia Materials. Unlike the better-known origami, kirigami crafts contain both paper folds and cuts. Interestingly, it is possible to employ kirigami technique to create ultrathin insulated conductive sheets that are also largely bendable and stretchable. “By cutting a conductive sheet in a special kirigami pattern and sealing it with silicone rubber, we have managed to create elastic and insulated wirings that minimized the mechanical mismatch between skin and device during exercise,” reports Dr. Kento Yamagishi from Waseda University (Currently, Singapore University of Technology and Design), the lead author of the paper. These wires were combined with another of their previous inventions – conductive nanosheets that can be used on the palm or soles without problems.


Scientists Study Sweat, the Small Stuff

University of Arizona, UA News from

Imagine if you could know the status of any molecule in your body without needing to get your blood drawn. Science fiction? Almost – but researchers at the University of Arizona are working on ways to do this by measuring molecules in sweat.

When physicians take blood samples from patients, they send the samples to labs to be analyzed for biomarkers. These biological clues indicate everything from cholesterol levels to disease risks, and they can be used to monitor patient health or make diagnostic decisions. The same biomarkers also are found in sweat.

Using $519,000 in funding from the SEMI Nano-Bio Materials Consortium, or SEMI-NBMC, Erin Ratcliff, a materials science and engineering professor and head of the UArizona Laboratory for Interface Science of Printable Electronic Materials, is leading a project to develop new ways of collecting and analyzing the clues sweat has to offer. Ultimately, this work could allow physicians to use patient sweat samples in the same way they currently use blood samples, for a less invasive and more informative approach to establishing and monitoring patient health.


Running Surfaces And Speed Influence Your Risk of Injury

Women's Running, Ian McMahan from

… when the trail gets softer, the leg becomes stiffer, leaving the net impact to the leg roughly the same. It’s how the body maintains the overall stiffness of the surface/shoe/leg combination and it’s the reason why running on softer surfaces doesn’t necessarily result in a lower rate of injury. The overall impact to the leg remains virtually the same whether running on trails, a beach or concrete.

But there’s an asterisk. “We know how the body adjusts to different surfaces in the short term, but what we don’t know are the long term consequences of running on a particular surface,” says Dr. Brian Heiderscheit, Director of the University of Wisconsin’s Runners’ Clinic.

Of course, the cushioning of the shoe impacts the equation as well, and could be part of the reason why ultra-cushioned shoes haven’t solved the injury conundrum.


For USC football, technology is revolutionizing sports medicine practices [Video]

Yahoo Sports, Pac-12 Network from

Russ Romano, USC’s Associate AD and Head Athletic Trainer, discuss how techbology is dramatically changing how the Trojans approach sports medicine, from postgame muscle recovery to increasing blood flow in the limbs. [video, pre-roll + 1:00]


Understanding Ketones: What does the wonder drink actually do?

Cyclingnews, James Witts from

… “From our research, ketones can improve the performance of Grand Tour riders,” [Peter] Hespel continues.

We ask if Deceuninck are using them at the Tour de France. The answer seems obvious but there’s no confirmation – and with it, Hespel’s raising of the eyebrows encapsulates the mysterious air around the wonder supplement that’s drifted over the peloton for years.

Every Tour, one news organisation or another insinuates that ketones complement energy gels and rice cakes in a rider’s larder; every year, teams refuse to confirm or deny either its use or benefits. It’s carved a reputation as the nutritional omertà, a fuelling Macbeth never uttered by the sporting actors.


Why Most Endurance Elites Don’t Endorse CBD (Yet)

Outside Online, Scott Douglas from

Megan Rapinoe has surely done her homework, right? Sports Illustrated’s 2019 Sportsperson of the Year endorses Mendi, a CBD brand that offers capsules, gummies, and a topical salve touted as “athlete-built recovery essentials.” That her twin sister is the company’s CEO no doubt influenced Rapinoe’s decision. Still, she’s a rare high-profile, currently active athlete who has publicly backed a CBD brand. To date, no athletes of Rapinoe’s caliber in the endurance world have joined her.

The fact that nobody at the level of Boston Marathon champ Des Linden or two-time Olympic nordic skier Erik Bjornsen endorses a CBD brand might seem odd. After all, elite athletes do lots of things to maximize recovery, from lounging in compression gear to enduring contrast water therapy to eating gelatin. Why not openly try CBD—a legal product said to lower inflammation and improve sleep—and pick up a new sponsor along the way? As with all things CBD, uncertainty is a key explanation.


The Perils of “Survivorship Bias”

Scientific American, Katy Milkman from

… Sendhil Mullainathan, a professor of computation and behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has thought a lot about how to avoid such logical errors. Recently, Katy Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, got to chat with Mullainathan about survivorship bias and the poor decisions it can produce in an interview for the podcast Choiceology.


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