Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 3, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 3, 2020


Nickel: With faith in the safety protocols, Giannis Antetokounmpo is ready to play ball again

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Lori Nickel from

Coaches are wearing masks. Training tables are set far apart. One player must leave the court before his teammate can come in and shoot.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has found the limits of shooting and lifting weights at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center for the last couple of weeks to be really weird.

But he has no reservations about resuming the season just outside Orlando, Florida, later this month, despite the continued spread of coronavirus, and an increase of cases from the pandemic that initially shut down his NBA season on March 11.

Joel Embiid has been in the gym constantly, in great fitness shape

Sixers Wire, Ky Carlin from

When it comes to the success of the Philadelphia 76ers, a lot of questions are centered around the team’s superstar big man in Joel Embiid. He has had injuries and conditioning questions dog him in the past and that has always been the concern when it comes to this team moving forward.

As the season gets set to resume and finish up in Orlando on July 30, the Sixers need to make sure that their guy is ready to go before the league resumes. According to coach Brett Brown, the big man is more than ready to get back at it.

Yes, It’s Okay to Take a Month Off from Running

Runner's World, Ashley Mateo from

Convincing us runners to take time off is always a struggle. But given the state of the world right now—non-stop stress and no races for the foreseeable future—you’d be forgiven for wanting to hang up your sneakers for a little while.

Even the elites are doing it. Last week, Des Linden—former Boston Marathon champion! Olympian!—posted on Twitter that she hadn’t run a step for a full month. When a well-intentioned commenter asked what she’d been doing in the meantime, she responded (with the typical Des wittiness): “Growing a sofa on my ass.”

Zooming in to start unprecedented MLB summer camp amid virus

Associated Press, Stephen Hawkins from

Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward was going to address his entire team before the start of MLB’s unprecedented summer training camp, just like he did when spring training opened about 4 1/2 months ago. It was on a Zoom call instead of in person this time.

When the New York Mets resume practice, 60-year-old hitting coach Chili Davis will be working with hitters remotely and not initially at Citi Field with players and other staff members. The Seattle Mariners have three assistant coaches who fall into the high-risk category for the coronavirus and will work remotely all season.

At Fenway Park, weights and other exercise equipment were set up Thursday in the concourse under the seats that Red Sox fans won’t be allowed to occupy when the season finally starts.

Steven M. Sipple: If college football is to be played, Frost believes change of mindset needed

Lincoln Journal Star (NE), Steven M. Sipple from

Scott Frost ponders the question often these days. Many of us do. It’s a frightening question with all sorts of enormous ramifications.

Will there be a college football season in 2020?

“I bet our opinion on whether or not there’s going to be football has changed two dozen times,” said Frost, the third-year Nebraska head coach, who was basically relaying the mindset of university leaders. “I would say recently we feel like there’s going to be football. We’re just not sure what that’s going to look like, what schedules are going to look like, what stadiums are going to look like.

Why Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s compassionate leadership approach could be more important than ever | The Seattle Times

Seattle Times, Larry Stone from

Michael Gervais, the Seahawks’ high-performance psychologist, had just finished a long, passionate explanation of how the program Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has put together can, in a “loving, compassionate, empathetic way,’’ help people realize their full potential.

Carroll, who was also participating in the Zoom call, chimed in with a slight chuckle.

“We just want to do that so we can kick ass,’’ he said. “This is the way we think we can do it best.”

By now, Carroll’s relationship-based approach to team building has become his calling card. He partnered with Gervais about 10 years ago to help crystallize the science behind it, and now the two are putting their philosophy out in an Audible Original entitled, “Compete to Create: An Approach to Living and Leading Authentically.”

The Rise of Biometrics in Sports

IEEE Pulse, Mary Bates from

Athletes—and the cadre of professionals who surround them—are always looking for an edge over their opponents. Advances in technology have now made a whole new class of information readily available to athletes, coaches, trainers, and even fans. It’s called biometrics, the science of measuring and analyzing data collected from the body, such as heart rate or hormone levels.

A clearer understanding of what’s happening within one’s body can help athletes in a number of ways, says Mark Gorski (Figure 1), co-founder and chief executive of Sports Data Labs, a biometrics technology provider. “It can help you train more efficiently or change the way you do things in a match. From a consumer standpoint, it can allow fans to engage more and provide them with new storylines,” he says.

As the technical tools to track human performance become more sophisticated and widespread, biometric data have the potential to change the way we play and enjoy sports. But how can biometrics optimize player performance? And where might the unintended consequences lead?

Robotic textiles with novel actuation could enable mechanotherapies

The Robot Report, Wyss Institute from

… a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology has developed Smart Thermally Actuating Textiles (STATs). The robotic textiles induce pressure changes by electrically controlling liquid-vapor phase changes in robotic textiles, eliminating the need for pneumatic tethers and opening up new applications. The findings are published in Advanced Materials Technologies.

The team was led by Wyss Institute Associate Faculty member Conor Walsh, who is also the Paul A. Maeder Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS, and the founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab. Walsh and his group, with their fundamental work, have developed a number of soft, textile-based wearable robots for biomedical and other applications.

Risk of Injuries Associated With Sport Specialization and Intense Training Patterns in Young Athletes: A Longitudinal Clinical Case-Control Study

Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine from


There are no clinical longitudinal studies exploring the associations between sport specialization and intense training patterns and injuries in young athletes.

To prospectively determine the relationship between young athletes’ degree of sport specialization and their risk of injuries and reinjuries.
Study Design:

Case-control study; Level of evidence, 2.

Young athletes aged between 7 and 18 years presenting for sports-related injuries or sports physical examinations were recruited from either sports medicine clinics or pediatric/family medicine offices. Each participant completed a baseline survey at enrollment and an identical follow-up survey every 6 months for 3 years. Surveys assessed training patterns and injuries. Injury type (acute, overuse, or serious overuse) and clinical diagnosis were also recorded from electronic medical records.

Of the 1208 participants who provided consent, 579 (48%) completed the baseline survey and first follow-up survey at 6 months (mean age, 14.1 ± 2.3 years; 53% female). Of this sample, 27% (158/579) of participants were uninjured, and 73% (421/579) were injured, with 29% (121/421) of injuries classified as reinjuries. Consistent with previous studies, over the 3-year study period, the degree of sport specialization had an effect such that more specialized athletes were significantly more likely to be injured (P = .03) or have an overuse injury (P = .02) compared with less specialized athletes after adjusting for potential confounders. Additionally, female athletes were more at risk for all injuries (P = .01) and overuse injuries (P = .02) after adjusting for covariates. Finally, young athletes who trained in weekly hours in excess of their age or who trained twice as many hours as their free play were significantly more likely to be injured on univariate analysis (both P < .001). Conclusion:

Our study confirms that over time, young athletes, and in particular young female athletes, were more likely to be injured and sustain an overuse injury if they had a higher degree of sport specialization. Similarly, those athletes whose training hours exceeded thair age or whose sports hours exceeded their free play by a factor of greater than 2 were also more likely to develop injuries and overuse injuries.

Is it really possible to resume playing Major League Baseball safely right now?

The Boston Globe, Alex Speier from

… “Of course [professional athletes] are getting infected,” said Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician at Toronto General Hospital who consults with players associations in the NHL and MLS. “It’s a pandemic. What did you think was going to happen? [Athletes] are not immune to this. It comes as zero surprise that some professional athletes have this infection.”

How college football is trying to answer its biggest return-to-play questions

ESPN College Football from

“The kids saw the numbers and saw 90-for-90, and I know they relaxed,” Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said. “I think we probably all relaxed and said, ‘Good, we’re over a big hurdle,’ but that hurdle became a lot bigger because what kids do on a Friday night and a Saturday and being around their friends and going to the lake and wherever else kids go is something we can’t control.

“We’re not the NBA and NHL and keeping them in a bubble.”

Within a week, 14 players tested positive for COVID-19 and the school halted all football activities.

NBA tells coaches age alone won’t prevent trip to Orando for restart

ESPN NBA, Tim MacMahon from

The NBA office has assured the league’s coaches’ association that “age alone” will not be enough to prevent a coach from going to the Walt Disney World Resort for the restart of the season.

Individuals at high risk for serious coronavirus complications will not go, but simply being older, without other risks, won’t put someone in that category.

“Everybody goes through a screening process, but we’ve been assured by the league that no one will be red-flagged from going to Orlando based on age alone,” said Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association.

SDA Coaches Toolkit

Sports Dietitians Australia from

Welcome to the Coaches Toolkit developed for you by Australia’s leading Sports Dietitians.

Australia’s coaches have asked and we have responded with a one stop platform for nutrition advice that our members have found works well with athletes and support staff.

Food Cues After the COVID Pandemic

ConscienHealth from

Tamar Haspel tells a positively appealing story in the Washington Post this week. We don’t have a problem with obesity because of carbs, she writes. Nor fats, nor processed foods. The problem is the food environment. Cheap, convenient food surrounds us, with endless prompts to eat it. All these food cues, coaxing us to eat anywhere and everywhere, have been wiped away by the COVID pandemic.

The old normal is gone. Does this mean we have a unique opportunity to create a new food environment that will be better for us?

Some NBA staffs struggle with going to Florida

ESPN NBA, Baxter Holmes from

As teams finalize their traveling parties for the Orlando restart, several NBA general managers say that they’ve tried to quell concerns among staff members who might not feel comfortable attending during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the concerned are at an age with higher risk and/or have underlying health issues.

These GMs, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have separately said they’ve tried to tell such staffers — and relayed to virtually their entire staff — that they shouldn’t feel any pressure to attend if they don’t feel comfortable for any reason and that they shouldn’t feel insecure about their jobs if they’re unable to attend.

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