Applied Sports Science newsletter – March 30, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for March 30, 2020


A coronavirus shutdown won’t stop Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes from working to improve

The Kansas City Star, Sam McDowell from

As the coronavirus response shut down his Fort Worth, Texas training facility, Bobby Stroupe sensed the closure would be long-lasting. The trainer for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes since high school, Stroupe began to map out detailed workouts for each of his professional athletes — regimens that planned for each of them to remain away from his APEC facility for at least eight weeks.

But Stroupe provided the most important information beforehand. It had nothing to do with the technique of a body-weight exercise or the philosophy behind Mahomes working on his shoulder girdle.

In the midst of a pandemic forcing many to stay inside their homes, quarantined from the world, Stroupe delivered a message of opportunity.

“The professionals are about to rise,” he told them. “Some of you have been overdependent on people doing things for you, and you’re going to be exposed. I think the gap is going to widen. The pros that have been professional in their approach, you’re going to continue to get better. The ones who need someone to push them, it’s going to be hard for you.”


Catching up with … Steve Scott, Master of the Sub-4 Mile

MileSplit, Steve Brand from

… “I griped about Len [Miller] when I went there but I couldn’t have gone anywhere else and been as successful,” said Scott, 63. “Those other guys were used to running 10 to 20 miles a day, but not me. I was finally mature enough to handle that kind of work and I grew to love running.

“I believe one of the keys to my later success was that I wasn’t pushed in high school.

“Guys like Eric Hulst, Alan Webb and German Fernandez worked their bodies really hard when they were young, but I believe they paid a price physically and mentally. I went 15 years without an injury because my high school stressed quality, not quantity.”


Brian Kelly gives tight timeline to avoid a diminished football season – Inside the Irish

NBC Sports, Inside the Irish blog, Douglas Farmer from

97 days. If the coronavirus pandemic has not been sufficiently contained in 97 days, Brian Kelly expects it to impact Notre Dame’s football season. If the Irish cannot begin training by July 1, it will affect their season.

Kelly baked a few aspects into that date, so there may be a slight cushion, but the reality is clear: The 2020 college football season is already very much in jeopardy as the coronavirus spreads further and further into the United States.

“There’s going to be a date where we all, as college football administrators and coaches, come up with a date from a player safety standpoint — we have to say this is the date that we can live with to get these young men physically conditioned and ready to go into camp,” Kelly said late Wednesday night.


EZEN Inside podcast program interview: Xavi Schelling

EZEN magazine (Spain), Google Translate from

Interview with Xavi Schelling, Dir. Sports Science and Performance NBA of the San Antonio Spurs.


‘Using adversity as a fuel’: How local athletes are following Taysom Hill’s lead

Deseret News, Dick Harmon from

There’s a lesson to be learned in tough times, and the Pleasant Grove training facility that helped Taysom Hill heal for the NFL is now keeping similar dreams alive for other hopefuls during the coronavirus outbreak


Scientists Engineered Neurons to Make Electrically Conductive Materials

Singularity Hub, Edd Gent from

… a team at Stanford University has developed a way to genetically engineer neurons to build the materials into their own cell membranes. The approach could make it possible to target highly specific groups of cells, providing unprecedented control over the body’s response to electrical stimulation.

In a paper in Science, the team explained how they used re-engineered viruses to deliver DNA that hijacks cells’ biosynthesis machinery to create an enzyme that assembles electroactive polymers onto their membranes. This changes the electrical properties of the cells, which the team demonstrated could be used to control their behavior.


Ultrahigh areal number density solid-state on-chip microsupercapacitors via electrohydrodynamic jet printing

Science Advances, Kwon-Hyung Lee et al. from

Microsupercapacitors (MSCs) have garnered considerable attention as a promising power source for microelectronics and miniaturized portable/wearable devices. However, their practical application has been hindered by the manufacturing complexity and dimensional limits. Here, we develop a new class of ultrahigh areal number density solid-state MSCs (UHD SS–MSCs) on a chip via electrohydrodynamic (EHD) jet printing. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first study to exploit EHD jet printing in the MSCs. The activated carbon-based electrode inks are EHD jet-printed, creating interdigitated electrodes with fine feature sizes. Subsequently, a drying-free, ultraviolet-cured solid-state gel electrolyte is introduced to ensure electrochemical isolation between the SS–MSCs, enabling dense SS–MSC integration with on-demand (in-series/in-parallel) cell connection on a chip. The resulting on-chip UHD SS–MSCs exhibit exceptional areal number density [36 unit cells integrated on a chip (area = 8.0 mm × 8.2 mm), 54.9 cells cm−2] and areal operating voltage (65.9 V cm−2).


Old human cells rejuvenated with stem cell technology

Stanford University, Stanford Medicine, News Center from

… The study found that inducing old human cells in a lab dish to briefly express these proteins rewinds many of the molecular hallmarks of aging and renders the treated cells nearly indistinguishable from their younger counterparts.

“When iPS cells are made from adult cells, they become both youthful and pluripotent,” said Vittorio Sebastiano, PhD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the Woods Family Faculty Scholar in Pediatric Translational Medicine. “We’ve wondered for some time if it might be possible to simply rewind the aging clock without inducing pluripotency. Now we’ve found that, by tightly controlling the duration of the exposure to these protein factors, we can promote rejuvenation in multiple human cell types.”


Sport and exercise genomics: the FIMS 2019 consensus statement update

British Journal of Sports Medicine from

Rapid advances in technologies in the field of genomics such as high throughput DNA sequencing, big data processing by machine learning algorithms and gene-editing techniques are expected to make precision medicine and gene-therapy a greater reality. However, this development will raise many important new issues, including ethical, moral, social and privacy issues. The field of exercise genomics has also advanced by incorporating these innovative technologies. There is therefore an urgent need for guiding references for sport and exercise genomics to allow the necessary advancements in this field of sport and exercise medicine, while protecting athletes from any invasion of privacy and misuse of their genomic information. Here, we update a previous consensus and develop a guiding reference for sport and exercise genomics based on a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This SWOT analysis and the developed guiding reference highlight the need for scientists/clinicians to be well-versed in ethics and data protection policy to advance sport and exercise genomics without compromising the privacy of athletes and the efforts of international sports federations. Conducting research based on the present guiding reference will mitigate to a great extent the risks brought about by inappropriate use of genomic information and allow further development of sport and exercise genomics in accordance with best ethical standards and international data protection principles and policies. This guiding reference should regularly be updated on the basis of new information emerging from the area of sport and exercise medicine as well as from the developments and challenges in genomics of health and disease in general in order to best protect the athletes, patients and all other relevant stakeholders. [full text]


How are Giants ensuring players eat and eat healthy? Videos like this

KNBR San Francisco, Mark W. Sanchez from

… “There’s no rhyme or reason [for a specific meal] — I just started doing whatever I was able to get from the grocery store,” Sarig said over the phone Friday. “We’ve been putting together videos, adding music and trying to make it look professional. I started doing it this week, and we spent some time putting it together.”

Since spring training disbanded March 12 as coronavirus concerns demanded all groups of people separate to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Giants’ dietary team has tried to ensure the players are staying healthy.

First they called or texted all the players to confirm they had access to food, then asked if they needed assistance nutritionally, choosing what to eat. When that was covered, they set out to make those videos you happen upon on Facebook with whatever was in the cabinet or on a store shelf. That’s what the players would find on grocery shelves, anyway.


Prevalence Estimate of Blood Doping in Elite Track and Field Athletes During Two Major International Events

Sports Integrity Initiative from

… Our results from robust hematological parameters indicate an estimation of an overall blood doping prevalence of 18% in 2011 and 15% in 2013 (non-significant difference) in average in endurance athletes [95% Confidence Interval (CI) 14–22 and 12–19% for 2011 and 2013, respectively]. A higher prevalence was observed in female athletes (22%, CI 16–28%) than in male athletes (15%, CI 9–20%) in 2011. In conclusion, this study presents the first comparison of blood doping prevalence in elite athletes based on biological measurements from major international events that may help scientists and experts to use the ABP in a more efficient and deterrent way.


In the Time of COVID-19, Sweeping Changes Are Made to the Amateur Draft

FanGraphs Baseball, Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel from

Among the many significant repercussions of yesterday’s agreement between the MLBPA and MLB in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic were alterations to the amateur talent acquisition processes, changes that will have both immediate and long-term effects on all stakeholders (owners, players, people in scouting, agents, college coaches and staff, international trainers, etc.) in that arena. Last night, after the details of the agreement were reported by Jeff Passan of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic, I spoke with several of those stakeholders for their immediate thoughts and reactions.

The splashy news, and the detail of yesterday’s agreement that will impact team personnel and the player population soonest, is the soft rescheduling of the 2020 draft — the specific date will be determined by MLB, but it will occur by “late-July” — and the straight razor shave it was given by the owners and player’s union, cutting the 2020 draft to five rounds with the option to trim the 2021 draft to 20 rounds, down from the usual 40. MLB can choose to add rounds to the draft if they wish, and a few people in scouting told me they thought it was a real possibility that MLB will, though there’s no clear financial incentive for them to do so.


Analytics Mailbag: What is the most underrated stat in hockey?, Andrew Berkshire from

With the NHL’s season suspended, we obviously don’t have new games to break down and react to, so intrepid NHL editor Rory Boylen decided it was time we reached into the ol’ mailbag and asked readers what you wanted to know, and what questions could we answer using analytics.

Because I want to answer as many questions as possible in the mailbag column itself, some of the questions that people ask that require more detail may be turned into full articles on their own, while the ones I can get into easily will be answered here.


How Manchester City Broke English Soccer

Ryan O'Hanlon, No Grass in the Clouds newsletter from

… Guardiola’s teams have mastered the core, controllable aspect of the sport; they systematically create better chances than their opponents, and they do it at a rate and by a margin that English soccer has never seen before.

How’d they do it? Well, for starters they’ve spent over a billion dollars on players, thanks to funding from the Abu Dhabi royal family. And of course UEFA recently decided that Manchester City spent more than they were allowed to, and pending an appeal (and the unknowable global fallout from the coronavirus), they’ll be suspended from European competition for the next two seasons. But despite all that total spending, they haven’t gone all in on one particular player. Kevin De Bruyne is their most expensive purchase, at €75 million. He’s currently in the midst of what might be the best creative season … ever. But City managed just fine without him last year. Manchester United, meanwhile, have purchased four more expensive players than KDB, Real Madrid and Barcelona both have five, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus have two, and Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich each have one. The finances of European soccer are incredibly opaque — purposefully — and so I personally don’t feel like the recent UEFA ruling invalidates what Guardiola’s City have done. Domestically, they’ve scratched up against the limits of what I thought was possible on a soccer field, with or without an Earth-shattering superstar.


Sports are designed around men — and that needs to change, Mary Halton from

From tennis to swimming and soccer, female athletes are at the top of their game right now, but they are still not receiving the support that men do.

Despite accumulating international titles, the US women’s national soccer team are currently having to pursue a gender discrimination lawsuit for equal pay (above, a photo of them from August 2019). In advance of the trial, their governing body (US Soccer) has filed court documents declaring them less skilled than their male counterparts.

But the problem isn’t just that the gender pay gap also exists in sport — even the average woman just wanting to have enough energy to hit the gym regularly is at a disadvantage. The underlying research that makes good nutrition and effective training possible has also all been done on men, says exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy Sims in her TEDxTauranga Talk. “[During my early research I was told] ‘women are an anomaly, so we don’t necessarily study women in sport nutrition or exercise science’… I looked around and I thought surely with 50 percent or more of the population being female, aren’t the men the anomaly and they don’t know it yet?”

New Zealand-based Sims is on a mission to get the sporting world to recognize that “women aren’t just small men” but have their own set of nutritional and physiological needs.


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