Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 16, 2020

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


Delle Donne hurt that request denied by panel of doctors

Associated Press, Doug Feinberg from

WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne was shocked and hurt when her request to be medically excused for the season was denied by an independent medical panel.

Having battled Lyme disease for more than a decade and now taking 64 pills a day, she thought she was definitely going to be considered high-risk to get severe illness if she contracted the coronavirus.

The panel of independent doctors the league and union agreed upon to make that decision thought otherwise, ruling Monday that she was not “high risk, and should be permitted to play in the bubble.”

An Open Letter About My Health | By Elena Delle Donne

The Player's Tribune, Elena Delle Donne from

… I take 64 pills a day, and I feel like it’s slowly killing me. Or if it’s not killing me, directly, then I at least know one thing for sure: It’s really bad for me. Longterm, taking that much medicine on that regular of a regimen is just straight-up bad for you. It’s literally an elaborate trick that you play on yourself — a lie that you tell your body so it keeps thinking everything is fine.

It’s a never-ending, exhausting, miserable cycle.

But I do it anyway.

I do it anyway because I have Lyme disease.

WNBA teams begin to get settled in the bubble, focused on practice and conditioning, Cheryl Coward from

As of Saturday, all WNBA teams have arrived at the “bubble” location, IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The Indiana Fever was the last team to arrive. Team press conferences began Friday and will continue throughout the weekend and next week.

During the pressers, coaches and players indicated that they are satisfied with their accommodations and are focused on the task at hand: daily practices and workouts to improve player conditioning in preparation for the start of the season.

“I think the WNBA has done a great job of putting us in a safe environment,” Phoenix head coach Sandy Brondello said, “so we can have a season even though it’s a little bit reduced.”

Students and faculty reflect on William Dement, father of sleep medicine, after his passing at 91

The Stanford Daily student newspaper, Mariam Guirgis from

William C. Dement, hailed by many as the “father of sleep medicine,” peacefully passed away at the age of 91 on June 17. He died in his sleep in his Stanford home from cardiovascular disease.

Dement, founder of the Sleep Research Center at Stanford and a professor of psychiatry, was well-regarded as a leading authority on diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Dement was a strong advocate for sleep education. He believed around 50,000 deaths occur per year due to sleep disorders or deprivation.

At Stanford, he taught the first class of PSYC 135: “Sleep and Dreams” in 1971, a course now often enrolled to its maximum capacity each year. Over 20,000 students have taken the class since.

“I was a student of Dr. Dement’s at Stanford in 2001 and still consider ‘Sleep and Dreams’ to be one of the most memorable and informative classes I took in college,” said Elizabeth Van Alstine ’04 M.S. ’05 in an article by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

UVA athletes, coaches work to be ready for a season that may never start

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Mike Barber from

As he ran back down the trail from the St. Mary’s Glacier, just over an hour northwest of his family’s Highland Ranch, Colo., home, Dillon Reinkensmeyer was running toward uncertainty, yet doing it with a sense of purpose.

Reinkensmeyer, a senior offensive lineman at Virginia, knew that when he returned to campus, he needed to be in shape, ready for whatever schedule college football players found themselves operating under as the spread of COVID-19 hovered over the potential of a 2020 season.

UVA’s strength and conditioning staff, led by coach Shawn Griswold, had made certain each athlete had been given workouts they could tackle at home — regardless of what kind of resources they had at their disposal.

Coronavirus: USWNT’s Vlatko Andonovski making most of NWSL tournament

Yahoo Sports, Caitlin Murray from

… most USWNT players are in Utah playing for the National Women’s Soccer League in a one-off, month-long bubble tournament. They have to get tested for COVID-19 every few days — an unpleasant experience — but it’s worth it because it may be the only soccer they play all year.

That’s where you can find Vlatko Andonovski, the head coach of the USWNT. Without any games or camps to prepare for, Andonovski’s focus is the NWSL Challenge Cup, where he can only observe games and training sessions from a distance. What he loves most about his job, working with the players on the pitch, is just out of reach.

“I was watching one of the training sessions with staff and I turned around and told them: ‘You know what? I miss this. I want to be down there on the field,’” he recalls to Yahoo Sports in a phone interview from Utah.

How Steve Kerr, Warriors are using long offseason to restart dynasty

Yahoo Sports, Josh Schrock from

… “I talk with (president of basketball operations and general manager) Bob Myers and (director of sports medicine and performance) Rick Celebrini and our training staff, the developmental coaches, we talk all the time about trying to build a plan,” Kerr told The Athletic’s David Aldridge on the “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “But without a time frame, it’s just so hard. Right now we’ve got our players coming in individually to work out at our facility one on with coaches. … Bob and I and (assistant coach) Mike Dunleavy, who joined our staff this past year, and Mike Brown, we’ve sort of all put our heads together to try and use the time to hash out — what are we doing that we could be doing better, and what are some things we need to look at to try and improve? Just try to use the time to our advantage to see where we can improve. We have not had much time at all the last five or six years. It just seems like the seasons have run together. This is a time to step back and analyze our program.”

With fate of season hanging in the balance, Husker football transitions into next step of modified offseason

Lincoln Journal Star (NE), Parker Gabriel from

… Monday marked the beginning of formal summer access to players based on the modified offseason that the NCAA outlined and approved last month. As a reminder, the current 11-day period essentially amounts to a substantially enhanced version of the voluntary workouts that have been ongoing in Lincoln since June 1.

From Monday until July 24, Nebraska and other college football programs can have up to eight hours per week of supervised strength and conditioning and film work, though no more than two of those hours can be used in the film room. That means that there’s more contact now between the Husker players and the strength and coaching staffs than was allowed during the voluntary workout period.

Then, beginning July 24, schools can host two weeks of what amounts to a minicamp before formal preseason camp would begin Aug. 7

Recommendations for return to sport during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal from

In this viewpoint we make specific recommendations that can assist and make the return to sport/exercise as safe as possible for all those impacted – from the recreational athlete to the elite athlete. We acknowledge that there are varying rules and regulations around the world, not to mention the varying philosophies and numerous schools of thought as it relates to return to sport/exercise and we have been cognisant of this in our recommendations. Despite the varying rules and circumstances around the world, we believe it is essential to provide some helpful and consistent guidance for return to training and sport for sport and exercise physicians around the world at this most difficult time. The present viewpoint provides practical and medical recommendations on the resumption to sport process. [full text]

‘Invaluable’ GPS trackers help keep players safe during football’s return

Yahoo Sports, PA, Jonathan Veal from

… Cases of the coronavirus have been in single figures in both the Premier League and Championship for the majority of the twice-weekly tests.

One of the reasons for that is technology used in training, with players using vests with GPS trackers on which allows clubs to record who has come in close contact with each other.

Head of sports science and medicine at Sheffield Wednesday Tony Strudwick says the technology, powered by Catapult Sports, has been pivotal to keeping the Owls squad safe, especially after a coach contracted the virus not long after the restart.

“It was really important that we had some kind of objective to see what players were doing and the proximity report just allows us to ensure players are not spending too much time within a two-metre distance of each other,” Strudwick told the PA news agency.

NHL May Allow Perforated Hockey Stick as Carbon Fiber Takes Over

Sportico, Jacob Feldman from

The NHL will review a new hockey stick provider for on-ice use, the league confirmed to Sportico. Only six companies currently outfit every NHLer according to, with three—Bauer, CCM and Warrior—owning nearly 98 percent of the market.

Penguins assistant coach Mark Recchi remembers the puzzling looks on his players’ faces when he first brought a TOVI stick onto the ice at the beginning of this season. With a pattern of diamond-cut holes in the blade, the stick looks more like floor hockey equipment than NHL gear, but Recchi says that you don’t notice the unique design while holding the stick yourself. He was, however, struck by the puck control the stick helped him achieve.

This Band-Aid-Like Patch Could Detect Early COVID-19 Symptoms

Smithsonian Magazine, Courtney Sexton from

… In April, the Journal of the American Medical Association identified fever, cough and shortness of breath as primary symptoms in both positive and false negative COVID-19 cases. Around the same time, medical thought leaders in the Chicago area approached John Rogers, the director of Northwestern University’s Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics. Rogers and his team are known for developing next-generation, flexible, wearable devices with clinical-grade monitoring capability that mount on relevant body areas. The patches look and feel much like a Band-Aid, but contain biosensors, onboard memory, data processing and wireless transmission features.

The quality of data the devices can capture is high enough that they can reliably be used in settings and on patients with limited hospital access to run specialty-care tests like electrocardiograms (EKGs). Others reduce the need for complicated machines used to monitor premature infants in intensive care units. For example, the Rogers Research Group works in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deploy devices in India, Pakistan and several areas throughout Africa that capture information about maternal and newborn health.

How Herd Immunity Happens

The Atlantic, James Hamblin from

Back in February, [Marc] Lipsitch gave a very rough estimate that, absent intervention, herd immunity might happen after 40 to 70 percent of the population had been infected. The idea of hitting this level of infection implied grim forecasts about disease and death. The case-fatality rate for COVID-19 is now very roughly 1 percent overall. In the absolute simplest, linear model, if 70 percent of the world were to get infected, that would mean more than 54 million deaths.

But the effects of the coronavirus are not linear. The virus affects individuals and populations in very different ways. The case-fatality rate varies drastically between adults under 40 and the elderly. This same characteristic variability of the virus—what makes it so dangerous in early stages of outbreaks—also gives a clue as to why those outbreaks could burn out earlier than initially expected. In countries with uncontained spread of the virus, such as the U.S., exactly what the herd-immunity threshold turns out to be could make a dramatic difference in how many people fall ill and die. Without a better plan, this threshold—the percentage of people who have been infected that would constitute herd immunity—seems to have become central to our fates.

Some mathematicians believe that it’s much lower than initially imagined. At least, it could be, if we choose the right future.

Study reveals long-term impact of rugby injuries

EurekAlert! Science News, Durham University from

Rugby players continue to suffer from their high ‘injury load’ after retirement from the sport, according to the first independent study looking at the health of retired rugby players.

The researchers, led by Durham University’s sport and exercise scientists, are calling for governing bodies to step up efforts to prevent, in particular, recurrent injuries and ensure players are supported post-retirement.

Both elite and amateur rugby union and league players report suffering back pain and severe and regular joint pain which they attribute to the long-term impacts of their cumulative injuries post-retirement.

U.S. Soccer releases complete return-to-play recommendations

SoccerWire from

U.S. Soccer has released the final phase of its five-phase PLAY ON campaign, providing coaches, players, parents, referees and administrators with the complete return-to-play guidelines during COVID-19 to help ensure the safety of all participants.

PLAY ON was created to inform and assist in the process of organized soccer returning to play nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is divided into five progressive phases, from Phase 0 (stay at home) to Phase IV (no COVID-19 related restrictions). With Phase I and II already released, Phase III has now been published at, providing the complete return-to-play recommendations as Phase IV is the return to normal soccer activity without restrictions.

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