Applied Sports Science newsletter – March 23, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for March 23, 2020


Grind of minor leagues not far from Andrew Albers’s mind in Japan, Arden Zwelling from

Andrew Albers remembers minor-league life well. Being broke, bothering old friends for a place to sleep, bothering old coaches for facilities to throw in, scrambling to keep his dream alive. He was released (twice). He pitched in independent ball (twice). He went to professional try-outs. He went to Venezuela to play winter ball. He worked as a substitute teacher during off-seasons, throwing side sessions in a high school gym. He went through it all. Among pro ballplayers, it’s not an uncommon story.

And yet he’s not sure what he’d do if it were still his situation today. If he was still one of the many minor-leaguers facing uncertain futures as the COVID-19 pandemic delays the beginning of the 2020 season until, well, we’ll see.

“You definitely feel for those guys. That’s why you hope it won’t be that long of a layoff,” Albers says from Rokko Island, Japan, where the North Battleford, Sask., native is now pitching for NPB’s Orix Buffaloes. “Because it’s going to be really tough to find a job for two or three weeks, right?”


Weightlifting Phenom Michael Pierce Pumped Up to Join Vikings

Minnesota Vikings, Lindsey Young from

Michael Pierce has been watching the Vikings from afar, and he couldn’t be more excited to be joining a Minnesota team with a strong history at defensive tackle.

Pierce, whom the Vikings signed as a free agent earlier this week, spoke to Twin Cities media members Friday via conference call and expressed his eagerness to work with Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Andre Patterson.

“Just the way he develops guys, his track record speaks for itself,” Pierce said of Patterson. “He has the leading [defensive tackle] sack-leader in NFL history under his belt [in John Randle], so I was pretty much sold.”


With most Pro Days canceled, less-heralded draft prospects look for ways to make an impression

NBC Sports Washington, Andrew Gillis from

Matt Seybert donned a black Michigan State football shirt, gave a quick stretch and leaned forward, talking to everyone and no one at the same time, and said, “I hope I get at least 20.”

He then laid down on his bench press and pumped out 22 reps of 225-pounds in his home by himself.

Seybert is, in a lot of ways, like many prospects for next month’s NFL Draft — a kid who wants a shot in the NFL, who lost out on valuable time in front of scouts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As Michigan State, Seybert’s alma mater, and many other schools canceled pro days throughout March, players looking for one final shot in front of scouts both on the field and in the weight room were turned away. So Seybert took matters into his own hands.


Alabama athletes on their own keeping in shape during pandemic

Tuscaloosa News, Cecil Hurt from

The University of Alabama has a $14 million nutrition and sports center that, at the moment, isn’t even able to serve a boiled egg to a volleyball player.

The $16 million Sports Science Center is padlocked, metaphorically, with every piece of performance equipment imaginable (at $16 million, you can even afford a couple of Pelotons) unused.

The start of college football season, if all goes well, is just over five months away but at the moment, the players may find themselves working at home on yoga mats and lured by the call of fried fast food at 11 p.m.


Norwich City: Canaries face a major challenge to pick up Premier League pieces in wake of coronavirus according to Dave Carolan

Norwich City News, PinkUn, Paddy Davitt from

Coronavirus is changing our whole society. Is it any wonder football should not be immune?

The challenge for City’s current head of performance, Chris Domogalla, and his team is to ensure Daniel Farke’s squad are ready for the final Premier League and FA Cup push. However long that might be.

That requires a level of planning for Carolan unlike any other seen in professional sport.


Craig Fitzgerald to join Giants, was Tennessee football strength coach, Knoxville News Sentinel, Mike Wilson and Art Stapleton from

The New York Giants have found their new strength and conditioning coach.

Craig Fitzgerald, most recently the director of football sports performance at the University of Tennessee, is being hired as Aaron Wellman’s successor, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to and USA TODAY NETWORK on Thursday.


Exercise-Based Strategies to Prevent Muscle Injury in Elite Footballers: A Systematic Review and Best Evidence Synthesis

Sports Medicine journal from


Exercise-based strategies are used to prevent muscle injuries in football and studies on different competitive-level populations may provide different results.

To evaluate the effectiveness of exercise-based muscle injury prevention strategies in adult elite football.

A systematic search was conducted in PubMed (MEDLINE), Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and SPORTDiscuss (EBSCO). We considered only elite adult (> 16 year-old) football players with no distinction for gender; the intervention to be any exercise/s performed with the target to prevent lower-limb muscle injuries; the comparison to be no injury prevention exercise undertaken; the outcome to be the number of injuries, injury incidence, and severity. We searched systematic reviews, randomized-controlled trials (RCTs), and non-randomized-controlled trials (NRCTs), limited for English language. Risk of bias was assessed using the Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews tool, the Cochrane Collaboration’s Tool for assessing risk of bias in RCTs, and the Risk of Bias in NRCTs of Interventions tool.

15 studies were included. Three systematic reviews showed inconsistent results, with one supporting (high risk of bias) and two showing insufficient evidence (low risk of bias) to support exercise-based strategies to prevent muscle injuries in elite players. Five RCTs and seven NRCTs support eccentric exercise, proprioception exercises, and a multi-dimensional component to an injury prevention program; however, all were deemed to be at high/critical risk of bias. Only one RCT was found at low risk of bias and supported eccentric exercise for preventing groin problems.

We found limited scientific evidence to support exercise-based strategies to prevent muscle injury in elite footballers.


A wearable freestanding electrochemical sensing system

Science Advances, Yichao Zhao et al. from

To render high-fidelity wearable biomarker data, understanding and engineering the information delivery pathway from epidermally retrieved biofluid to a readout unit are critical. By examining the biomarker information delivery pathway and recognizing near-zero strained regions within a microfluidic device, a strain-isolated pathway to preserve biomarker data fidelity is engineered. Accordingly, a generalizable and disposable freestanding electrochemical sensing system (FESS) is devised, which simultaneously facilitates sensing and out-of-plane signal interconnection with the aid of double-sided adhesion. The FESS serves as a foundation to realize a system-level design strategy, addressing the challenges of wearable biosensing, in the presence of motion, and integration with consumer electronics. To this end, a FESS-enabled smartwatch was developed, featuring sweat sampling, electrochemical sensing, and data display/transmission, all within a self-contained wearable platform. The FESS-enabled smartwatch was used to monitor the sweat metabolite profiles of individuals in sedentary and high-intensity exercise settings. [full text]


Wearable biosensors may pave the way for personalized health and wellness

Penn State University, Penn State News from

Bulky, buzzing and beeping hospital rooms demonstrate that monitoring a patient’s health status is an invasive and uncomfortable process, at best, and a dangerous process, at worst. Penn State researchers want to change that and make biosensors that could make health monitoring less bulky, more accurate — and much safer.

The key would be making sensors that are so stretchable and flexible that they can easily integrate with the human body’s complex, changing contours, said Larry Cheng, the Dorothy Quiggle Professor in Engineering and an affiliate of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences. His lab is making progress on designing sensors that can do just that.


How to get conductive gels to stick when wet

MIT News from

Polymers that are good conductors of electricity could be useful in biomedical devices, to help with sensing or electrostimulation, for example. But there has been a sticking point preventing their widespread use: their inability to adhere to a surface such as a sensor or microchip, and stay put despite moisture from the body.

Now, researchers at MIT have come up with a way of getting conductive polymer gels to adhere to wet surfaces.

The new adhesive method is described today in the journal Science Advances in a paper by MIT doctoral student Hyunwoo Yuk, former visiting scholar Akihisa Inoue, postdoc Baoyang Lu, and professor of mechanical engineering Xuanhe Zhao.


When the Stanley Cup Final Was Canceled Because of a Pandemic |History

Smithsonian Magazine, Michael Weinreb from

In 1919, a second wave of cases of the previous year’s flu lead to the sudden death of the hockey championship


What you can eat and do to reduce becoming infected with respiratory pathogens like the corona virus

my sports science blog, Michael Gleeson from


To Get Kids Eating Healthy, Moms & Dads Must Practice What They Preach

Study Finds, John Anderer from

Young children are notorious for being especially picky eaters, and moms & dads the world over routinely struggle to ensure their kids eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland say that both parents practicing what they preach when it comes to eating habits can make all the difference when it comes healthy eating among three- to five-year-olds.


Arsene Wenger ‘set to poach Arsenal’s analytics guru who helped replace him as manager in 2018’ for a role at FIFA

Daily Mail Online (UK), Max Winters from

  • Arsene Wenger is set to poach Arsenal’s analytics chief for a role at FIFA
  • Jaeson Rosenfeld has been in charge of Arsenal’s analytics company for 10 years

    Coronavirus: Giving NCAA athletes back missed eligibility is costly

    USA Today Sports, Steve Berkowitz and Paul Myerberg from

    NCAA Division I schools’ plan to preserve an additional year of eligibility for athletes in spring sports whose seasons were lost due to the coronavirus pandemic could place a significant additional cost on athletics departments that will be facing declining revenue.

    Giving an additional season of eligibility just to seniors on spring-sports teams could cost public schools in the Power Five conferences anywhere from $500,000 to $900,000, a USA TODAY analysis of schools’ financial reports to the NCAA shows.


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