Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 18, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 18, 2020


QB Alex Smith is working his way back from an injury unlike any other in the world of pro athletes.

Twitter, Stephania Bell from

From today on NFL Live [video, 1:50]


Mavs news: Kevin Garnett credits Mark Cuban for one NBA innovation

Clutch Points blog, Christian Alamodin from

… Nowadays, it does seem wrong that franchises don’t give visiting players the proper nutrition that should be given to them every game, but that was definitely the trend before Cuban changed the game. It’s thanks to this small initiative by Cuban that the Mavs became an organization a lot of players have come to respect.


Behind the Badge: 18 months inside the LFC goalkeeping department

Liverpool FC, Chris Shaw from

… A typical working day for Robinson begins with the sight of Achterberg – now in his 11th season as part of the Liverpool backroom team – already at his desk inside Melwood, planning sessions and conducting analysis, including videos of goalkeepers around the world.

The Dutchman has remained a constant of the Reds set-up as the managerial reins moved from Rafael Benitez to Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish to Brendan Rodgers and now Klopp over the past decade.

Known for his tireless work ethic and personable nature at the training ground, Achterberg’s dedication to the pursuit of improvement is a trait [Jack] Robinson wants to emulate as he develops his own abilities.

“The time he has been here, at such a big club, tells you how good a coach he is and how good a person he is,” says Robinson.


Kevin Gorman: Oscar Marin on mission to help Pirates pitchers understand analytics, Kevin Gorman from

Oscar Marin is a man on a mission, one that looked impossible last summer: rescue and revive the pitching staff of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As pitching coach, the 37-year-old Marin has brought old-school values and new-age ideas to the Pirates in ways Ray Searage either couldn’t or wouldn’t.

First and foremost, Marin is building bonds with and gaining the trust of the entire pitching staff by communicating with confidence in both a bilingual and personable way.


Why LA Rams last hired coach may be the most important

Fansided, Ramblin Fan blog, Bret Stuter from

The LA Rams continue to search for their Director of Strength and Conditioning. Here’s why that may be the most important hire of all

The LA Rams competed in Super Bowl LIII as the NFC Division Champions. The following year, the team did not make the playoffs. The difference falls somewhere between players not succeeding in their assignments, and far too many injuries.


1 Philadelphia Eagles front office hire that isn’t getting enough hype

Fansided, Inside the Iggles blog, Geoffrey Knox from

… The name on that list that really stands out belongs to Tom Hunkele. You may not know who he is, but don’t worry. You’re very familiar with his work. He spent the last 14 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and has proven to be skilled in doing something the Eagles can’t seem to get done, getting injured players back on the field, getting them back to playing at a high level and keeping them healthy.

Some of his best work includes helping Adrian Peterson recover from that torn meniscus he sustained in 2016, assisting in getting Teddy Bridgewater back on the field after he tore his ACL and dislocated his the knee joint, and overseeing Dalvin Cook‘s recovery after he underwent successful surgery to repair his ACL in 2017 (and after he missed time in 2018 with a hamstring injury).


New strength coach Phil Matusz brings the NFL Combine to Boston College

Boston Herald, Rich Thompson from

Boston College first year strength and conditioning coach Phil Matusz is bringing the NFL experience to spring football.

BC coach Jeff Hafley hired both an experienced body builder and an innovative thinker when he brought Matusz with him from Ohio State to refashion the Eagles’ training programs.

Before Hafley and his staff begin evaluating talent and installing new systems, Matusz will put the players through an exact replica of the NFL Combine.


Wearable Technology For Mental Health

Texas A&M University, Texas A&M Today from

While mental health counseling is available on most college campuses, the stigma around mental health care can keep students away from the help they need. This is why researchers at Texas A&M University are developing evidence-based services to help manage students’ mental health.

Most college students have either a smartphone, tablet or smartwatch that gives them constant access to one another and the world around them. Smart technology and can also provide a reliable platform to deliver mental health services. To that end, a team of researchers led by Farzan Sasangohar, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, is developing a wearable continuous monitoring tool.


Undergrad Innovators Design Wearable Device to Aid People in Posture

University of Pittsburgh, Pittwire Health from

In the Classroom to Community Design Lab in the Department of Bioengineering on the fourth floor of Benedum Hall, Jacob Meadows tries on a vest-like device. He bends forward slightly as the device vibrates and a red light on the vest’s shoulder flickers on and off.

“This is our first iteration prototype from two years ago, which features a light for demonstration during presentations.” said the bioengineering senior in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.

Meadows and fellow bioengineering senior Tyler Bray have been developing this wearable device, Posture Protect, to help people with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, as well as their physical therapists.


PlaySight trained AI on thousands of hours of videos to understand sports

VentureBeat, Kyle Wiggers from

Sports analytics, which refers to the use of data and statistics to measure the performance of players (or teams) and make informed coaching decisions, is an enormous market. Grand View Research pegs its worth at $4.6 billion by 2025, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 31.2% from 2019.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, startups are pursuing it with gusto, and one of the pack leaders is PlaySight. The Tel Aviv-based company keeps a low profile, but it’s raised $26 million in capital since its founding in 2010 (and plans to raise again in the coming months) from SoftBank, Navar Corporation, Verizon Ventures, pro golf legend Greg Norman, and other backers. Moreover, it counts among its customers the NBA’s Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, and Toronto Raptors, as well as over 80 other NCAA and NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) programs and the United States Tennis Association’s National Campus.


DNA-like material could bring even smaller transistors

Purdue University, News from

A material shaped like a one-dimensional DNA helix might further push the limits on a transistor’s size. The material comes from a rare earth element called tellurium. … “This research reveals more about a promising material that could achieve faster computing with very low power consumption using these tiny transistors,” said Joe Qiu, program manager for the U.S. Army Research Office, which funded this work. “That technology would have important applications for the Army.”


Fast-charging, long-running, bendy energy storage breakthrough

University College London, UCL News from

A new bendable supercapacitor made from graphene, which charges quickly and safely stores a record-high level of energy for use over a long period, has been developed and demonstrated by UCL and Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers.


Athletes are killing themselves and schools in Michigan fear their players could be next

Detroit Free Press, Jeff Seidel from

… Today, the Free Press is taking an in-depth look at college athletics and mental health, using sports to shed light on a national crisis. The Free Press found a wide disparity in how Michigan colleges handle mental health issues, and athletic administrators at several schools admitted they fear they aren’t doing enough. These administrators should be commended for their honesty because it is time to talk openly about this issue — to talk about what is working, as well as what is not. This isn’t about casting blame or pointing fingers, it’s about trying to isolate problems and highlight solutions. The stigma has to be broken. And it starts with education and unvarnished openness.


Mental health issues and psychological factors in athletes: detection, management, effect on performance and prevention: American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement—Executive Summary Free

British Journal of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine from

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine convened a panel of experts to provide an evidence-based, best practices document to assist sports medicine physicians and other members of the athletic care network with the detection, treatment and prevention of mental health issues in competitive athletes. This statement discusses how members of the sports medicine team, including team physicians, athletic trainers and mental health providers, work together in providing comprehensive psychological care to athletes. It specifically addresses psychological factors in athletes including personality issues and the psychological response to injury and illness. The statement also examines the athletic culture and environmental factors that commonly impact mental health, including sexuality and gender issues, hazing, bullying, sexual misconduct and transition from sport. Specific mental health disorders in athletes, such as eating disorders/disordered eating, depression and suicide, anxiety and stress, overtraining, sleep disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, are reviewed with a focus on detection, management, the effect on performance and prevention. This document uses the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy to grade level of evidence. [full text]


Best Practices for Data Science Pipelines

Dataiku, Lynn Heidmann from

“An organization’s data changes over time, but part of scaling data efforts is having the ability to glean the benefits of analysis and models over and over and over, despite changes in data. That’s where the concept of a data pipeline comes in: data might change, but the transformations, the analysis, the machine learning model training sessions, and any other processes that are a part of the pipeline remain the same.” [audio, 23:19]


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