Applied Sports Science newsletter – March 26, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for March 26, 2020


Tom Brady on joining Bucs — ‘Gotta be able to adapt and evolve’

ESPN NFL, Jenna Laine from

… “It’s not like I’m 25, where I just basically pack a suitcase and go,” Brady said. “I have three kids, and it’s just changing a little bit of our life — but that’s life, and that’s what people do. That’s what you do when you have opportunities at other jobs and other places. There’s a lot of coaches that deal with that; there’s a lot of players that have dealt with that. They deal with it every year. … In that sense, I’m no different than what so many other people are going through. And you do the best you can do, and you make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Brady isn’t asking for any special treatment, although hardly anyone at the Bucs’ Advent Health Training Center would bat an eye at fulfilling his requests. He has six Super Bowl rings, and few players in the Bucs’ locker room have ever even played in the postseason, so certainly the team could alter a lot of things for him. But Brady’s focus is on getting up to speed on the Bucs’ system and immersing himself in their culture — from learning coach Bruce Arians’ playbook to knowing the preferences of wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.


The complicated path back to normalcy for 11,000 Olympic hopefuls

ESPN Olympic Sports, Wayne Drehs from

… Postponing the Olympics a year is a far more difficult task than pausing the NBA season or rescheduling the 2020 European soccer championships. It’s figuring out equitable solutions for 11,000 athletes from 206 different countries. It’s reorganizing 200,000 volunteers. It’s assuring the safety, enjoyment and entertainment of 4.5 million ticket holders watching 46 different sports in 42 different venues.

Few would argue Tuesday’s decision was the wrong one. And sure, there are far greater global concerns right now than the ability of Olympic athletes to compete. But in Olympic circles, as much as Tuesday’s news brought clarity for athletes wrestling with whether to train or stay home, it also brought an encyclopedia’s worth of new questions. The majority of which, at least for now, come with the same answer: TBD.

“It almost feels like a wasted year. Like it didn’t even happen,” said two-time Olympic wrestler and 2012 gold medalist Jordan Burroughs. “There is just so much up in the air, shoved to the back burner.”


Why 2020 Olympic trials shouldn’t be redone

Yahoo Sports, Henry Bushnell from

… [Des] Linden, as a two-time Olympian herself, knew what she was missing. “You want that for yourself, because it’s hugging your friends and family, validating four years of work,” she says. “Having done it, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s so special, I wish I were on that side.’ ”

She also, however, clapped and smiled. She hugged the winners. Because she was “super happy” they got to experience that victorious side as well.

It’s those moments, those feelings, that were on her mind Tuesday when postponement was announced. Some fans, she says, with a trials redo in mind, have wondered: You might get another shot. This is cool, right?

“No,” she says. “Let’s not even start that conversation.”


USWNT star Carli Lloyd excited about extra time to train for postponed Olympics

Pro Soccer USA, Julia Poe from

… “For me personally, you know I’m excited, because it’s more opportunity to train, more opportunity to get more fit, more time to prepare,” Lloyd said. “I think for our team, especially with Vlatko and a new coaching staff, there wasn’t much time to prepare and now he’s going to get more time with us and we all have kind of gotten a recharge and a break.”

The extra time could help the U.S. achieve an elusive milestone, becoming the first women’s team to win the Olympics after winning the FIFA World Cup.

There’s a reason this feat is so challenging — the fatigue of winning a World Cup is difficult for teams to overcome in less than 12 months. The Americans saw this in 2016, when they came off a dominant 2015 World Cup victory only to fall in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics.


Sue Bird still plans to compete in 2021 Olympics, after she turns 40

The Seattle Times, Jayda Evans from

… “I’ve always believed the best ballplayers should be on the team, without a doubt,” Bird said via phone Wednesday. “If I’m physically able and I’m playing at the top level and the opportunity is there, of course I’m going to say yes to it. I would feel weird saying otherwise.

“I saw a quote from (Olympian) Keri Walsh Jennings that’s true: When you’re preparing for an Olympics, you’re not really thinking about the Olympics as much as you’re just focused on that one day that you’re in right now. So, now there’s a lot more days ahead of us until then. But you’re still doing the same thing in your day-to-day as an athlete to stay in shape.”


Why the preteen years are a critical period for brain development

The Hechinger Report, Jill Barshay from

We think of the teen years as a worrisome period when some kids can spiral downward, developing anxieties and addictions. But Ron Dahl, who directs the Institute for Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, argues that adolescence is actually a second opportunity to invest in children because of the enormous brain development during this period.

“It’s a perfect storm of change,” said Dahl, speaking at a Feb. 27, 2020 seminar of the Education Writers Association on adolescent learning and well-being in Berkeley, California.


Baltimore Ravens Chiropractor Reveals Benefit of Playing Multiple Sports

STACK, Spencer Baron from

Sometimes it’s easy to take advice from healthcare professionals and let it go in one ear and out the other because it contradicts what you see with your own two eyes.

For instance many doctors recommend that young athletes play more than one sport to avoid overuse injuries. But how can this be the case if pro athletes stick to just one sport and they seem to do just fine?

Dr. Alan K. Sokoloff, team chiropractor for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and University of Maryland Terps, shares that the answer lies in part in how participating in two or more sports can help you enhance the skills required to absolutely master your sport of choice.


NFL-style OTAs could come to college football this summer

FootballScoop, Zach Barnett from

Spring football has been wiped out for the vast majority of college football. (To those of you who started in February: Share your stock tips with the rest of us.) This, obviously, is detrimental to every program that didn’t get their most or any of their 15 practices in, and has sparked conversation about how to claw back as much lost work as possible.

On Wednesday, two influential voices floated the idea of holding NFL-style OTAs over the late spring and summer to ramp up to the season.


Swiss startup Aktiia scores over $6M for its cuff-less blood monitoring system

MobiHealthNews, Laura Lovett from

… The company has built a continuous-blood-pressure-monitoring bracelet that is equipped with an optical sensor and a software algorithm that measures an individual’s blood pressure. Users will also have access to a corresponding app that lets users track their trends and the difference between night and day. The company said that the bracelet’s charge lasts for a month.

“Aktiia will enable patients and their doctors to have 24/7 blood pressure, day and night, over long periods of time without interrupting the patient’s daily life,” Josep Solà, cofounder and CTO, wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews. “Nighttime blood pressure measurements are extremely helpful in diagnosis and management of hypertension, but they are very difficult to get currently without waking up the patient by inflating a cuff, which by itself confounds the measurement.”


Ask HN: Best sleep trackers?

Hacker News from

I have pretty chronic sleep problems. Several in fact :-/. I wanted to get a sense form the tech-aware community what sleep trackers do people use? How accurate are they? Can you sleep comfortably with them? One challenge I have is I need to track my leg movements given restless legs…

None. Period. I was in human sleep research for 14 years as a technologist and proj manager. I tested dozens and dozens of devices- a mattress pad that claimed to track sleep. None of them are accurate.


Staging achilles tendinopathy using ultrasound imaging: the development and investigation of a new ultrasound imaging criteria based on the continuum model of tendon pathology | BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal from

Aim To develop a standardised ultrasound imaging (USI)-based criteria for the diagnosis of tendinopathy that aligns with the continuum model of tendon pathology. Secondary aims were to assess both the intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of the criteria.

Methods A criteria was developed following a face validity assessment and a total of 31 Achilles tendon ultrasound images were analysed. Intra-rater and inter-rater reliability were assessed for overall tendinopathy stage (normal, reactive/early dysrepair or late dysrepair/degenerative) as well as for individual parameters (thickness, echogenicity and vascularity). Quadratic weighted kappa (kw) was used to report on reliability.

Results Intra-rater reliability was ‘substantial’ for overall tendinopathy staging (kw rater A; 0.77, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.94, rater B; 0.70, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.89) and ranged from ‘substantial’ to ‘almost perfect’ for thickness (kw rater A; 0.75, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.90, rater B; 0.84, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.98), echogenicity (kw rater A; 0.78, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.95, rater B; 0.73, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.89) and vascularity (kw rater A; 0.86, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.98, rater B; 0.89, 95% CI 0.79 to 0.99). Inter-rater reliability ranged from ‘substantial’ to ‘almost perfect’ for overall tendinopathy staging (kw round 1; 0.75, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.91, round 2; 0.81, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.99), thickness (kw round 1; 0.65, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.83, round 2; 0.77, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.93), echogenicity (kw round 1; 0.70, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.85, round 2; 0.76, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.94) and vascularity (kw round 1; 0.89, 95% CI 0.79 to 0.99, round 2; 0.86, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.98). Inter-rater reliability increased from ‘substantial’ in round 1 (kw 0.75, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.91) to ‘almost perfect’ in round 2 (0.81, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.99).

Conclusion Intra-rater and inter-rater reliability were ‘substantial’ to ‘almost perfect’ when utilising an USI-based criteria to diagnose Achilles tendinopathy. This is the first study to use the continuum model of tendon pathology to develop an USI-based criteria to diagnose tendinopathy. [full text]


CDC’s latest recommendation could mean no sports until June

Sporting News, Dan Bernstein from

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday recommended against holding events with 50 or more people over the next eight weeks as the U.S. scrambles to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has so far sickened more than 3,499 people in the U.S. and killed 63.

That announcement likely means no NBA, NHL or MLB action until at least mid-May, and probably not until June. Fifty is such a small number that two basketball teams playing in an empty arena probably couldn’t meet the requirement considering coaches, trainers, referees and TV crews need to be on hand, in addition to the players.


NHL doctor warns of patchwork protocols across 31 markets

Associated Press, Stephen Whyno from

The NHL’s chief medical officer said Wednesday he expects the coronavirus pandemic to get worse before it gets better in North America and differences across 31 markets are likely to affect when players might get back on the ice.

Dr. Winne Meeuwisse said it is difficult to predict when cases of COVID-19 might peak or begin to decrease, which muddles any potential timeline for the resumption of practices or games. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said league officials “continue to hold out hope that at some point we’ll be able to resume play,” but it’s also too early to know whether fans would be allowed in arenas should that happen.


Diet, Nutrition Have Profound Effects on Gut Microbiome

George Washington University, School of Medicine & Health Sciences from

Nutrition and diet have a profound impact on microbial composition in the gut, in turn affecting a range of metabolic, hormonal, and neurological processes, according to a literature review by scientists from the George Washington University (GW) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The article is published in Nutrition Reviews.

Until recently, the human microbiome remained an understudied target for novel strategies to diagnose and treat disease. The prevalence of diseases that may involve disruption of the gut microbiome are increasing and there is currently no consensus in the scientific community on what defines a “healthy gut” microbiome.


SSAC20: Soccer Analytics: The Beautiful Game Meets the Analytics Edge

YouTube, 42 Analytics from

Panelists: Vanessa de Boode, Devin Pleuler, Ted Knutson, Tyler Heaps, Grant Wahl [video, 54:24]


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