Applied Sports Science newsletter – April 16, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for April 16, 2020


Who We Are – News – USA’s other Mewis keeping the dream alive from

In 2008, Kristie and Sam Mewis reached a World Cup final together. Had it been said at that FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup that just one of these sisters would go on to grace a global final at senior level, predicting which would have seemed easy.

Kristie, after all, was the jewel in the crown of that young USA side. The midfielder left New Zealand with a Bronze Ball award – the only American to feature on the player of the tournament podium – and ended the year as US Soccer’s Young Athlete of the Year. Stardom seemed all but certain.

But when the USWNT became world champions in France last July, Sam was the star and Kristie the spectator. The explanation for the switching of the siblings’ statuses is a story that unfolded across the 11 years that separated those World Cup finals of 2008 and 2019.

Can NFL draft lead Joe Burrow to Bengals and another Ohio revival?

ESPN NFL, Ben Baby from

… One year after Nebraska fired [Frank] Solich, he was hired to be Ohio’s head coach and tapped [Jimmy] Burrow to be his defensive coordinator. Burrow’s youngest son, Joe, was in second grade. It didn’t take long before the entire county started to realize the coach’s kid was pretty good at sports and absolutely hated to lose.

“There’s no doubt he’s always been that way,” said Ryan Luehrman, Burrow’s close friend and former teammate. “In every single thing we played, there’s no taking it lazy or just casually.”

When Burrow got to middle school and started playing 3-on-3 basketball in physical education, Adams wouldn’t allow him to score and put two of the worst kids on his team. And Burrow still won.

As Clayton Kershaw waits for baseball to return, a look at his family, legacy and future

ESPN MLB, Wright Thompson from

… The next day, I sent Kershaw’s agent an email asking if I could schedule an interview, laying out how emotional I found it to watch him be willing to fail again for the chance of success. I told him, I’d like to do a story about Clayton and how these failures live in his internal life. It took five months, but here we were, driving down I-10 West in Phoenix. “That first week after the season ends, it’s like something happens in your brain where you just mentally shut down,” he said. “Your body hurts. You’re sore — like, everything — you’re just like tired and your whole routine has changed.”

“You’ve been running on adrenaline,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said. “I mean, especially the way our seasons have ended and mine personally. Go to the playoffs, lose in the playoffs the last seven years, it’s just … it’s depressing.”

The curious tale of the football international nobody ever heard of (because he was born in the wrong month)

The Correspondent, Michiel de Hoog from

At the highest level in sports, the month of your birth can determine your chances of success to a startling degree. Steve Lawrence, father of a gifted football player born in the wrong month, discovered this ‘relative age effect’ 20 years ago – and fought to save his son’s career from failure. This is his incredible story.

Josh Ewens: West Ham United’s first-team fitness coach on working in COVID-19 lockdown

West Ham United, Josh Ewens from

… First things first, our challenge was kitting the players out with everything they would need to keep strong and fit for the foreseeable future, and for an unspecified amount of time.

We had to make sure the players had everything they needed, and to be prepared for Government rules and guidelines to potentially change again from what they currently are, which allows one bout of exercise outside every day.

We did this by both distributing equipment from the training ground, which was deep cleaned thoroughly, and getting new equipment. The groundstaff were fantastic in helping with this.

Coronavirus shutdown causes NCAA schools to use virtual training for athletes

Indianapolis Star, Zach Osterman from

Tom Morris spends more of his time in front of a computer these days.

He can’t work with athletes in person. After a brief burst of Zoom sessions, the NCAA disallowed strength coaches from remotely supervising workouts. Now Morris, IU’s senior assistant athletic director for athletic performance, and his colleagues go through their team captains.

The goal is to keep athletes as fit as possible, though not just physically. It’s never been harder, but Morris is nonetheless exhilarated by the experience.

“We kind of organized pretty quickly on this,” Morris said. “We already had a website going for some different stuff for incoming recruits. … Turned it into the COVID-19 landing page. Think of it as a virtual weight room.”

Measuring and improving baseball swing efficiency

Driveline Baseball from

Bat speed is extremely important if you want to be a successful hitter at a high level (more details on bat speed here). With that in mind, a hitter can get a ton of value out of a swing metric that tells them how well, or efficiently, they are creating bat speed.

What is Swing Efficiency?

Swing Efficiency is defined as average bat speed divided by average peak hand speed during a swing. In other words, it tells a hitter how well they are turning their hand speed into bat speed, with a higher score being more “efficient.”

Effect of Heat Acclimation among International Women Rugby Sevens Players

Sport Performance & Science Reports from

Elite Rugby Sevens match play is characterized by high in-tensity running, accelerations, decelerations and collisions(11), and repeated high-intensity efforts (4, 5). Due to the popularity of Rugby Sevens, tournaments are played world-wide, including in hot and humid environments (e.g. 45°C in Sydney during Sevens 2020). When training or competing in the heat, physiological strain can lead to impairments in en-durance exercise capacity (9). Elevated whole-body temperature can also impair repeated sprint performance through a reduction in arterial oxygen delivery, greater reliance on anaerobic energy provision and accelerated accumulation of atomic hydrogen (6). Such heat related physiological impairments could impact performance in Rugby Sevens.

Training strategies to mitigate the effects of heat stress on physical performance should be explored in the context of Rugby Sevens. If such strategies are effective, they could help staff and players to adequately prepare for the next Olympic Games in Tokyo, where similar conditions will be encountered (10). Recently, equipped with an environmental chamber (hypoxia, heat and relative humidity), the French Rugby Union investigated the potential effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) performed in the heat before the 2019 Dubai Sevens tournament.

As connected health adoption grows, privacy rules like HIPAA are still broadly misunderstood

MobiHealthNews, Jonah Comstock from

Even before the current crisis, connected technology and the Internet of Health Things were growing in prominence and adoption. Now, spurred on by people’s efforts to stay at home as much as possible, this technology is even more important.

But as health information and health data move into the homes and into consumers’ personal devices, concerns about privacy and security are giving pause to some providers and consumers.

“It’s probably fair to say that the healthcare industry is a little bit lagging in some respects compared to other industries that have picked up and used the internet connectivity and sensors for real-time data analytics,” Brian Scarpelli, senior global policy counsel at the Connected Health Initiative, said during a recent HIMSS Digital event. “There’s a very legitimate reason for that, and I don’t mean this as a knock, because in the healthcare sector, safety and life is so paramount in so much of what is done.”

SB Labs: Camera Calibration

StatsBomb, StatsBomb CV Team from

This article is written by the CV team at StatsBomb. In it, we will cover the technical details of the camera calibration algorithm that we have developed to collect the location of players directly from televised footage

Mining Bacteria Parts to Build Around-the-Clock Biosensors – BU biomedical engineers say a new breakthrough could open doors to continuous health-monitoring devices and wearables

Boston University, BU Today, The Brink from

A team of researchers from Galagan’s BU lab and the University of Bordeaux was inspired by the one commercially successful biometric device that monitors a physiological function around the clock: the continuous glucose monitor, whose central task is performed by a protein obtained from a microbe that senses glucose.

“There are potentially millions of similar proteins,” says team leader Galagan, a BU College of Engineering associate professor of biomedical engineering. “They can sense just about anything that affects our health. A primary reason we don’t have more sensors like the glucose sensor is that the proteins needed to make those sensors haven’t been identified.”

Ultralight, flexible solar cell keeps tech in shape

Monash University (AU), Latest News from

… In a pair of research papers, published in the prestigious journals Joule and PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA), an international research team, involving Monash University, has developed a super-thin photovoltaic cell that has high efficiency, supreme mechanical bending and stretching capacity, and capabilities to provide a long-lasting power source.

In the Joule paper, researchers successfully developed novel mechanically robust photo-absorber materials that can make ultra-flexible solar cells. These cells can achieve a power conversion efficiency of 13 per cent with 97 per cent efficiency retention after 1000 bending cycles, and 89 per cent efficiency retention after 1000 stretching cycles.

“Power conversion efficiency considers how much solar energy can be converted into electricity. The solar energy illuminated on Earth is 1000 watts per square metre. Our device can produce 130 watts of electricity per square metre. The 13 per cent efficiency we were able to achieve is one of the highest efficiencies in organic solar cells,” Dr Wenchao Huang, Research Fellow in Monash University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, said.

Can Sports Return Without Setting Off a COVID-19 “Biological Bomb?”

Patrick Hruby, Hreal Sports newsletter from

To get a better sense of the COVID-19 challenges facing leagues and organizations and the possible effectiveness of proposed workarounds, Hreal Sports spoke to Zach Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University who wrote his dissertation on injuries in the National Football League. … Hreal Sports: Let’s start with a soccer match in Italy. The now-infamous Champions League match that took place in Milan on Feb. 19 between Atalanta, an Italian team, and Valencia, a Spanish team, and since has been identified as a likely super-spreader event for the coronavirus, with 40,000-plus fans exposing themselves to infection and helping carry it back to other parts of Spain and Italy. There’s a famous quote from an Italian doctor calling it a “biological bomb.”

Bursting the Bubble: Why Sports Aren’t Coming Back Soon

Sports Illustrated, Stephanie Apstein from

… “The idea of a quarantined sports league that can still go on sounds really good in theory,” says Binney. “But it’s a lot harder to pull off in practice than most people appreciate.”

Conversations with experts painted a picture of what exactly it would take to make these sports vacuums a reality. Before any of this can begin, every person who would have access to the facilities will need to be isolated separately for two weeks to ensure that no infection could enter. That’s players and coaches, athletic trainers and interpreters, reporters and broadcasters, plus housekeeping and security personnel. No one can come in or out. Food will have to be delivered. Hotel and stadium employees will have to be paid enough to compensate for their time away from their families. Everyone onsite will have to be tested multiple times during this initial period.

Dr. Anthony Fauci promotes fan-free return for sports

ESPN News Services from

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert and one of the faces of the United States’ fight against the coronavirus, says the only way professional sports will happen this summer is by holding events without fans in attendance and by keeping players in hotels.

“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci told Snapchat’s Peter Hamby as part of a weeklong interview series. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. … Have them tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”

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