Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 14, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 14, 2020


Bam Adebayo is the fiercest, best NBA player you don’t know

ESPN NBA, Zach Lowe from

… Adebayo was a good kid, and a good student, but Marilyn Blount, his mother, was not the type to leave anything to chance. She was raising Bam alone in a single-wide trailer home; the boy’s father, John, separated from the family when Adebayo was young.

Blount rose every day at 5:45 and cooked Bam a hot breakfast as he slept. After Bam left for school, Blount walked to the Acre Station Meat Farm, where she took home about $12,000 per year as a cashier. When her son came home from basketball practice, she was already asleep.

She didn’t drive. She needed coaches and friends to take her son where he needed to go, and make sure he avoided places she didn’t want him to go. She asked teachers to tutor Bam, to guarantee he would be academically eligible for college.

What the adults in that meeting might not have known was that Adebayo had been watching his mother with fresh eyes. “When I was younger, it’s like, ‘Mom works. Normal adult stuff,'” Adebayo says. “But you mature and start to look at it differently. I watched my mom struggle. She comes home tired. She doesn’t want to do anything. As I got older, I started thinking, ‘My mom doesn’t deserve this.’ My whole devotion became to get my mom out of that trailer.”


After acquiring citizenship & making USMNT debut, Ferreira aims high in 2020

American Soccer Now, Brian Sciaretta from

… FC Dallas is a different type of club in MLS. It is well represented on U.S. youth national teams at every level and the FC Dallas first team has built and utilizes a young core of domestically produced players. Ferreira is a key member but he is joined by Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania, and Reggie Cannon.

[Jesus] Ferreira has progressed all the way through the FC Dallas academy to the first team and he credits the club for his development as a professional.

“Growing up and being in the academy, you always took that opportunity whenever they were calling up players to train with the first team, you always want to take advantage because we wanted to learn from the best,” Ferreira explained. “I think that’s what FC Dallas does different.


Why March is important in Panthers’ evaluation of Cam Newton

ESPN NFL, David Newton from

The Carolina Panthers, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler recently reported, hope to put quarterback Cam Newton through a workout in March to see the progress of his recovery from December surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury to his foot.

Because details of the procedure orthopedic specialist Martin O’Malley performed are unknown, we can only speculate about where the 2015 NFL MVP is with the process, according to multiple medical experts.

All we know for sure, based on what sources have said, is that the procedure was relatively minor, and a full recovery is expected.


Exclusive: Chelsea become first club to tailor training to menstrual cycles

The Telegraph (UK), Kate Bowan from

Initiative has been driven by manager Emma Hayes and understanding more about players’ cycles could have huge impact on preventing injuries


The effect of the menstrual cycle on running economy. – PubMed – NCBI

Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness from


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the menstrual cycle on running economy (RE).

Using a repeated-measures design, ten eumenorrheic, trained female runners (age: 32 ± 6 yrs, V̇ O2max: 59.7 ± 4.7 mL·kg-1·min-1) completed four, weekly, identical sub-maximal and maximal incremental step tests on a treadmill to measure physiological responses across a full menstrual cycle. For phase comparison, the results from the trials that fell in the early follicular (low oestrogen, low progesterone), late follicular (high oestrogen, low progesterone) and mid-luteal (high oestrogen, high progesterone) phases were used.

There was a significant effect of menstrual cycle phase on RE (p = 0.001), with RE in the mid-luteal (ML) phase being worse than that of the early follicular (EF) (+2.33; p = 0.026) and late follicular (LF) (+2.17; p = 0.011) phases. The ML phase also resulted in elevated core temperature versus the EF (+0.51oC; p = 0.001) and LF (+0.66oC; p = 0.037) phases, and elevated minute ventilation versus the EF phase (+3.83 L.min-1; p = 0.003). No significant effects of menstrual cycle phase were found on body mass, heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, time-to-exhaustion, maximal oxygen consumption, or blood lactate concentration.

In the ML phase, which causes increased core temperature and minute ventilation, RE is impaired at exercise intensities that are applicable to training and performance. In physiologically stressful environments, this impairment in RE may have a significant impact on training and performance.


Heat Acclimatization – What? Why? How? from

Over the next couple of years, two of the world’s largest sporting events are happening in the hottest places on earth. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are forecast to see temperatures in excess of 33.3oC (92oF) whilst the FIFA World Cup, scheduled to take place in Qatar in 2022, could see temperatures of over 50 oC (120 oF). When sporting events take place in such extreme environments, it is essential that the athletes can handle the heat. But it is not just down to the athletes to get ready to perform – the whole sports performance team, ranging from coaches to physiotherapists, have a role to play.

Getting to grips with heat acclimatization is fundamental to ensuring success when competing in hot climates, such as those found in Tokyo or Qatar. Heat acclimatization or acclimation can be loosely defined as the changes or adaptations that occur in response to heat stress. Heat acclimatization plays an important role in the body’s physical response and overall ability to cope with heat exposure. But it is important that teams know more than just what heat acclimatization is – it is also important to know how to enable an athlete to acclimatize.


Louvre-ing SportsTech

Medium, SportsTechX, Rohn Malhotra from

… I was looking forward to this the most, to check out the startups at the Le Tremplin Invest Finals. Organized by the French Ministry of Sport and Le Tremplin, 16 SportsTech startups had the chance to pitch their projects to a large pool of investors on an international stage.

Managing Director, Charles Fremont, introduced the initiative, explaining the event’s coordination with GSW and its aim to connect international startups and investors and create new networking and investment opportunities in the global SportsTech ecosystem.

Some of the presenting startups qualified for these finals through smaller competitions while others were selected from various other international SportsTech initiatives including Thinksport (Switzerland), Wylab (Italy), Qatar SportsTech (Qatar), Sport Tech Hub (UK), Sports Tech Tokyo (Japan), leAD Sport Accelerator (Germany) and Colosseum Sport (Israel).


Driveline Baseball Buys Pitching Sensor Company

Baseball America, J.J. Cooper from

Driveline Baseball started as a training facility. It’s grown into a baseball performance center that works with athletes both on-site and remotely, while also providing certification programs for coaches. The company has also become a software developer, with a number of programs aimed at helping teams at various levels manage and better train athletes.

And now, it’s starting to acquire baseball technology companies as well.

Driveline has completed a deal to acquire the patents and sport-sensor business of Motus Global, the company that produces pitching sleeves that measures the biomechanical data and stress a pitcher is imparting on his arm. (Motus also uses its sensors to measure the wear and effort on the arms of football quarterbacks and volleyball players). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Myotonometry for the evaluation of Achilles tendon mechanical properties: a reliability and construct validity study

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal from

Objective This study evaluates the intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of the MyotonPRO and its construct validity for the assessment of Achilles tendon stiffness.

Design Reliability and construct validity study.

Methods Forty healthy participants were assessed using the MyotonPRO by two raters on two different occasions. Tendon was evaluated in three different positions (relaxed, 0° plantarflexion and standing) and during different isometric contractions (range 0–3 kg). Reliability was calculated using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC and 95% CI) standard error of measurement and minimal detectable change. Construct validity was evaluated between the different positions and the different contraction intensities using Friedman test.

Results Intra-rater reliability was very high ICC2,k 0.87–0.98. The reliability of the 0.5 kg contraction was moderate with an ICC2,k of 0.59. Inter-rater reliability ranged from high to very high with an ICC2,k of 0.76–0.86. The reliability of the 0.5 kg, 1 kg contraction and the standing position was moderate with an ICC2,k of 0.55, 0.54 and 0.56 respectively. Inter-session reliability ranged from high to very high with an ICC2,k of 0.70–0.89. The reliability of the 0.5 kg contraction was moderate with an ICC2,k of 0.54. Construct validity was demonstrated between different contraction levels and different positions.

Conclusion MyotonPRO is a reliable tool for the evaluation of Achilles tendon stiffness during different contraction levels and in different positions. Construct validity was supported by changes of tendon stiffness during the explored conditions. MyotonPRO can be implemented, as a ready to use device, in the evaluation of tendon tissue mechanical properties. [full text]


Wearable Health Tech Gets Efficiency Upgrade

North Carolina State University, News from

North Carolina State University engineers have demonstrated a flexible device that harvests the heat energy from the human body to monitor health. The device surpasses all other flexible harvesters that use body heat as the sole energy source.


How to make a sweat sensor for drugs – Guidelines include how to deal with pesky interfering signals when making voltammetric

Chemical & Engineering News, Louisa Dalton from

Most oral medicines easily slip into sweat, which makes sweat sensors well suited to tracking pharmaceutical consumption. But a pitfall for drug monitoring in sweat is interfering electroactive molecules like amino acids that can mask the desired drug signal. Researchers now present design guidelines for creating electroactive drug sensors for sweat that include a strategy for avoiding or working around the interfering molecules (ACS Sens. 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.9b02233). The guidelines helped them create an effective sensor for monitoring dipyridamole, a drug given after heart surgery.


NHL Commissioner’s office, league lawyers handling case of Arizona Coyotes illegal fitness tests, per report, Gabriel Fernandez from

NHL deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, and league lawyers are now managing the case of the Arizona Coyotes allegedly giving illegal fitness tests to prospects well before the appropriate deadline, and a new report reveals that the team might have committed at least $5 million worth of recruiting violations. TSN’s Darren Dreger said on Saturday that sources tell him the Coyotes might have given upwards of 20 players these tests.


Max Muncy’s extension helps the argument for new service time rules

SB Nation, Beyond the Boxscore blog, Matt Provenzano from

Late bloomers are a fascinating archetype in baseball. José Bautista is probably the modern example I think about the most, a slugger who didn’t hit his stride until 29. Nelson Cruz, as another example, was really only a superstar hitter in his 30s. Those two were lucky enough to make plenty of money throughout their career—Bautista to the tune of $103 million, Cruz just a shade under at $99 million.

That required a very fortuitous time where teams were still willing to shell out money for older sluggers, and I’m talking about less than a decade ago. Bautista received five years and $64 million from the age of 31 to 35, and then the Blue Jays were perfectly fine with taking him year to year given his retirement soon after. Cruz was signed to four years and $57 million at the age of 34.


Penguins’ standard of excellence a model for Canadiens to follow, Eric Engels from

There are words pasted on the wall of the northeast corner of the dressing room at the Pittsburgh Penguins’ practice facility, ones that encapsulate a championship mentality that’s been in place since Jim Rutherford took over as general manager of the team back in June of 2014.

They read, “Code of excellence,” and the words “passion,” “accountability,” “work ethic,” and “commitment” — which are written on the other walls of the room — outline the recipe that goes into adhering to that code.

This is what the Penguins are all about. This is where their path diverges from that of the Montreal Canadiens under general manager Marc Bergevin, because they set the bar at Stanley Cup or bust and do so year after year in defiance of the reality that the salary cap has levelled the playing field and parity has taken over. There is no managing expectations in Pittsburgh. The Penguins have no fear of disappointing anyone but themselves.


Aging Curves Revisited: Damn Strikeouts

Fangraphs, The Hardball Times, Jeff Zimmerman from

Seven years ago, I found that the PED era was hiding that hitters were peaking earlier. I’ve created various aging curves since that article (including the award–winning series I did with Bill Petti on pitchers) and never found anything out of place. A few times recently, I’ve been asked to revisit the data since the article is six years old and seems dated. I re-ran the numbers and found some pitching adjustments have changed the strikeout aging factors for both hitters and pitchers and, therefore, the overall curves.


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