Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 25, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 25, 2020


Why Madison Bumgarner’s rodeo hobby should concern Diamondbacks

San Jose Mercury News, Bay Area News Group, Jon Becker from

… There’s a real risk of injury for Bumgarner, whose other hobby of riding dirt bikes cost him three months of his 2017 season with the Giants when he injured his shoulder in an accident.

According to one study by a sports epidemiologist at the University of Calgary, rodeo isn’t just an unsafe sport, it’s even more dangerous than playing football. Dale Butterwick’s research shows nearly 20 of every 100,000 rodeo competitors will suffer a catastrophic injury (either death or a life-altering injury). For football, the rate is fewer than one of every 100,000 players.

“I haven’t seen any sport that comes close to that. In a scientific setting, alarm bells go off,” Butterwick told The Canadian Press.


Todd Gurley Wants To Help More Because It’s ‘Bigger Than Football’

Uproxx, Martin Rickman from

Todd Gurley just finished getting a facial from the FaceGym crew, and checked his face in the mirror before an interview with ESPN’s the Undefeated. The Tarboro (NC) native and former Georgia running back couldn’t be more relaxed, and his answers reflect that, as he’s thoughtful, barely hiding a smile, and at all times aware that he’s lucky to be blocks from the beach in the prime of his career.

Gurley is then shuffled over to a pair of Normatec boots, something he’s all too familiar with in his routine of train, play, recover, and he’s tried everything that’s available to him over the years to get out in front of potential injuries. What works best, however, isn’t something he has the luxury of receiving in-season.

“I’ve done all of it, man, and none of it really works,” Gurley tells Uproxx. “The only thing that ever works is time.”


The Not-so-Secret Hangout of MLB’s Tightest Fraternity

Bleacher Report Magazine, Scott Miller from

Few schools have sent more players to the majors in recent years than Vanderbilt, yet each winter those players return to Nashville to train, bust chops and soak up one of baseball’s unique cultures.


Pat Spencer was the best player in college lacrosse. He’s held his own as a Big Ten basketball player, too.

Baltimore Sun, Edward Lee from

“He’s a great passer with the ball over his head like he’s got the [lacrosse] stick working,” Turgeon said. “What an athlete. I was blown away at their place, I wasn’t prepared for what kind of athlete he was going to be. We have some really good athleticism, and he really stuck out there. I see why he dominated the way he did. He’s a good player.”

Spencer leads the Wildcats in assists (3.8) and steals (0.8) per game, ranks second in points (10.6) and minutes (29.0) and is third in rebounds (3.3). Coach Chris Collins said Spencer has already left a mark on his teammates.

“He’s been playing in rec leagues for four years, and you come out to the Big Ten after not playing competitive basketball since high school and you’ve got to play in these environments against these teams, it’s a remarkable feat,” he said.


Will MLB Teams Start Embracing Yoga Recovery Programs for Pitchers?

SportTechie, Joe Lemire from

When she was working as a stats coordinator for MLB Advanced Media more than a dozen years ago, Steph Armijo took her first yoga class and immediately saw the potential benefits for ballplayers. Sure, she’d look toward the field during pregame warmups and see some players doing lizard poses and variations of other asana, but none of it was being done in a methodical way to maximize the full benefits.

A few years after leaving MLB in 2007, she founded Yoga 42, a program geared toward elite athletes. “When I first started knocking on this door and said I want to teach yoga, that didn’t mean anything to them. Teams want to see the results,” she says. “You see players doing the typical yoga stretches, but nobody wanted to call it yoga and nobody wanted to ‘do yoga.’ ” She eventually taught classes to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and to front-office employees of MLB’s New York Mets, but only occasionally to the players.

New research, however, offers a glimpse into the objective data that could convince clubs to open the door wider for implementing biomechanical yoga programs. Last summer, Armijo partnered with Motus Global and KineticPro to conduct a small pilot program that tracked the recovery of pitchers who participated in a 60-minute yoga class the day after pitching and then another 60-minute vinyasa class the day after that. Yoga therapy balls were also used for myofascial release.


Q&A about the recovery and rehab process for Florida State football players

Rivals, Warchant blog, Ira Schoffel from

… When it comes to putting together a rehab plan, is there a pretty standard timeline of how everything needs to happen? Or is every case relatively different?

A: They’re all different — everybody is an individual. But at the same time, with each injury there are certain protocols that we’re generally going to follow. And those are generally generated by the surgeon — the phases that you’re going to reach.

The way I look at it is Phase 1 is the moment we go on the field, and we all have different roles through different phases. But when you have an injury to that degree, there is protocol that has to be initiated right then because there’s a certain way to treat it. Especially when it’s something that is as potentially severe as that was. So there’s the acute care phase, then the surgical phase, which in his case was a few days later, the post-surgical phase, and then of course the rehab. So basically, the moment he’s on the ground, we go out there get a quick evaluation — me and Dr. [Bill] Thompson — and that phase is starting right then.


Man Utd focus on grassroots with Emerging Talent Programme

Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin from

Manchester United are launching a new Emerging Talent Programme to “radically increase the number of schools, grassroots clubs and communities we interact with”.

The programme is designed to be a bridge between the work done in schools and grassroots clubs and United’s elite Academy at Carrington. The aim is to identify talented players across the North West and offer the most promising the opportunity to join a structured development programme at the Academy.

Over the next three years, the club intends to engage with more than 20,000 children and young people through the programme.


Data Ownership in Sports Technology

Hawkin Dynamics, Ben Watson from

… Even if a client leaves our ecosystem, their data is never compromised, used, or rolled into a larger data-set. This brings the question as to how we can tap-into the massive volume of data our system handles every day. The answer is clear, from our perspective. If we want to use data (including customer data) for ANY purpose beyond simple support questions where we may need to deal with their data to resolve issues or answer questions, we need explicit written permission and extremely detailed parameters under which we can utilize said data. This ensures that we are never in a position, and that our users are never in a position where the ownership or integrity of their data can be questioned. It is also standard practice for us to anonymize any user data in the above-mentioned theoretical scenario, to ensure that personally identifiable information is not in our possession.


Attacking the Second Half of the Season: Schalke 04 Optimizes Internal Load Management With Firstbeat Sports

FirstBeat Sports, Felix Lob from


Schalke 04 has been utilizing Firstbeat Sports since the beginning of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season.

This is the first year of a three-year contract as the Ruhr region club focuses on data-based training optimization, player recovery, and individualized player support that goes beyond training. For instance, internal stress monitoring has become an essential aspect of training management and underlines the idea that no external mechanical performance takes place without internal stress.

As the Bundesliga returns following the winter break, Firstbeat sports scientist Christoph Rottensteiner looks back on implementing the Firstbeat Sports system with Schalke during the summer.


Improved reporting of overuse injuries and health problems in sport

Amsterdam Collaboration on Health & Safety in Sports (ACHSS), Health & Safety in Sports blog from

We are happy to have been part of this one .. an update of the widely adopted and employed Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center Overuse Injury Questionnaire (OSTRC-O). A monitoring tool that provides the backbone for many of our studies .. improved and stronger than before!

In 2013, OSTRC-O was developed to record the magnitude, symptoms and consequences of overuse injuries in sport. Shortly afterwards, a modified version of the OSTRC-O was developed to capture all types of injuries and illnesses—The Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center Questionnaire on Health Problems (OSTRC-H). Since then, users from a range of research and clinical environments have identified areas in which these questionnaires may be improved. Therefore, the structure and content of the questionnaires was reviewed by an international panel consisting of the original developers, other user groups and experts in sports epidemiology and applied statistical methodology.


WNBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement could help address overuse injuries

Arizona PBS, Cronkite News, Jesse Morrison from

Overuse injuries are often attributed to factors such as specialization in youth sports. But the unique circumstances of women’s professional basketball has made WNBA players especially susceptible.

Will the league’s new collective bargaining agreement change that?

The recent deal provides a 53% increase in total cash compensation to players, and the game’s stars – the Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, for example – will be able to earn compensation in excess of $500,000, according to details provided by the league.


No Bottlenecks Key to Fluids at Trials

Atlanta 2020 Trials, Atlanta Track Club, Caryn Lamphier from

On February 29, 2020, Atlanta Track Club will host the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon and the largest personal fluids operation in history. Yes, every marathon supplies fluids to its runners, but with only a minuscule number of elites allowed personally tailored fluids. At these Trials, every runner will have that option. And with a previous high of 364 starters, in 2016, even past Trials have never seen anything like the almost 700 entrants expected to be on the starting line in Atlanta. How to make sure every runner can find his or her bottle, and then grab it safely? Here’s an inside look.

Technical Planning

Kicking off the planning and development phase really began more on the technical side, with number crunching. Using fancy projection models, historical data on previous U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon and lots of brain power, staffer Holly Ortlund was able to provide an estimated number of entrants that proved to be pretty spot-on. We began planning for “worst (most awesome) case scenario:” the largest field ever.


There’s a strong, positive, non-linear link between player height and 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. But most of that is explained by the relationship that both variables have with weight — when conditioning on weight, the link all but disappears

Twitter, Michael Lopez from


The fighting debate isn’t nuanced or complex. Either you want fighting or you don’t

The Hockey News, Ken Campbell from

The QMJHL delayed their vote on whether to ban fighting until August, with league commissioner Gilles Courteau calling it a “sensitive matter” that everyone “wants to understand it to the fullest.” But the entire debate comes down to a simple choice.


Life as an NFL scout: 3,000 nights in hotels, chain restaurants and lots of video

ESPN NFL, Michael Rothstein from

… “I’ll describe athletic traits, like with my wife or my daughter, and they are like, ‘I don’t even know what you’re talking about,'” Sears said. “But one thing is, like, short arms. You never think of people having short arms until you’re analyzing them for pro athletes and stuff.

“But now, I see somebody and I’m like, ‘Wow, that guy has really short arms.'”

Sears is paid to analyze college football players, traveling across the country from August until Thanksgiving, driving and flying from various campuses and practices to compile more than 300 player evaluations. On the road, Sears has accumulated 3,233 nights — and counting — at Marriott hotels, with the next stop coming this week in Indianapolis at the NFL scouting combine.


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