Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 28, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 28, 2020


Jordan Hooper, Tiffany Hayes, and Mike Bibby on Their NBA vs. WNBA Game

Coveteur, Jennifer Hussein from

… Ever since they first stepped on the court, both Hayes and Hooper—and hundreds of female professional athletes—have been neglected the proper kudos they deserve for their triumphs. “[We] work as hard as the men, yet we have to play year-round because we don’t feel as though we get paid enough just in one league,” says Hayes. “For instance, we leave one league, and then maybe 10 days later we have to fly across the country to play in another league for another six months. So our bodies take more from being in this job. It’s hard for us, and so is missing out on family things while we’re across the water. So we miss out on a lot. I’ve been doing it for nine years, and you miss out on a lot, but it’s a sacrifice you have to make because you want to have a better life for you and your family.”

“In the WNBA, it’s so much more competitive, because there’s not as many teams,” adds Hooper. “So there’s just a few spots and it’s all you get. And if you don’t make it, you don’t make it. So I just feel like that’s another adversity, another challenge that we have to kind of go through. And it happens every year; there’s no more teams, so that’s kind of what it is.”

Renfrewshire’s university boffins team up with football giants for sports science project

The Gazette (Glasgow, Scotland), Jacob Nicol from

… The new partnership will see the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) use its sports and exercise science expertise to support the Glasgow club’s youth academy.

Led by Vish Unnithan, Professor of Paediatric Exercise Physiology at UWS, the partnership will also give three of its PhD students the chance to work alongside Celtic, supporting elite youth football development.

Undertaking research and providing expert insights, the PhD students will focus on strength and conditioning, sports nutrition and overall readiness to play in elite youth football.

Bill O’Brien talks about protocols with rookies in Texans’ facility

Sports Illustrated, Albert Breer from

… “You have to wear a mask,” O’Brien said from his office Sunday morning. “It is scientifically proven that if you wear a mask, the chances of you getting [COVID-19] go down significantly. So you have to wear a mask. But when you’re wearing a mask in front of your team and you’re trying to speak, and that mask covers your mouth and your nose, that’s not the easiest thing in the world. It’s a different deal. It’s a different norm, and you have to keep plowing through and getting used to it, because it is what it is.

“You look out at the crowd, you see everybody spread out, all around the bubble, we’re in a corner of the bubble, got our video setup there, we’re showing video, PowerPoints, and we all have masks on. And it’s just different.But it’s necessary. It’s what we all have to do. And we’re all doing it because we want to play football.”

Welcome to the NFL’s new season, different from any season before.

Improved Ankle Mobility After a 4-Week Training Program Affects Landing Mechanics: A Randomized Controlled Trial – PubMed

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

This study examined the effects of a 4-week ankle mobility intervention on landing mechanics. Twenty subjects with restricted ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (DF ROM) were allocated to either a strength training only (n = 9) or a strength training and ankle mobility program (n = 11). Subjects performed a weight-bearing lunge test and bilateral drop-landings before and after the intervention. Normalized peak vertical ground reaction force (vGRF), time to peak vGRF, and loading rate were calculated, alongside sagittal-plane initial contact angles, peak angles, and sagittal-plane joint displacement for the ankle, knee, and hip. Frontal-plane projection angles were also calculated. After the intervention, only the strength and mobility group improved ankle DF ROM (mean difference = 4.1°, effect size [ES] = 1.00, p = 0.002). A one-way analysis of covariance found group effects for ankle joint angle at initial contact (p = 0.045), ankle (p < 0.001) and hip joint angle at peak flexion (p = 0.041), and sagittal-plane ankle (p < 0.001) and hip joint displacement (p = 0.024) during bilateral drop-landings. Post hoc analysis revealed that the strength and mobility group landed with greater ankle plantarflexion at initial contact (mean difference = 1.4 ± 2.0°, ES = 0.46) and ankle dorsiflexion at peak flexion (mean difference = 6.3 ± 2.9°, ES = 0.74) after the intervention, resulting in a greater ankle joint displacement (mean difference = 7.7 ± 4.0°, ES = 1.00). However, the strength training only group landed with increased peak hip flexion (mean difference = 14.4 ± 11.0°, ES = 0.70) and hip joint displacement (mean difference = 8.0 ± 6.6°, ES = 0.44) during post-testing. The findings suggest that changes in landing strategies following the performance of a strength training program are specific to whether restrictions in ankle mobility are considered as part of the intervention.

Physiological characteristics and acute fatigue associated with position-specific speed endurance soccer drills: production vs maintenance training

Science and Medicine in Football journal from


The study aimed to compare the physiological characteristics and acute fatigue associated with position-specific speed endurance production (SEP) and maintenance (SEM) soccer drills.

Twenty male soccer players performed a position specific drill consisting of 8 exercise bouts each lasting ~30 s interspersed by 150 s (SEP) and 60 s (SEM) of passive recovery. A selection of players (n = 10) completed neuromuscular assessments pre and post drill.

Players covered greater high speed (12%), very high speed (49%) and sprint (218%) running distances in SEP (P < 0.05, ES: 0.51–0.80). SEP resulted in greater peak (7%) and average (10%) running speeds (P < 0.01, ES: 0.70–0.93). Mean and peak heart rate responses were greater in SEM (4–10%, P < 0.01, ES: 0.97–1.84) whilst blood lactate concentrations were higher following SEP (6%, P < 0.05, ES: 0.42). Reductions in vertical countermovement jump height were more pronounced immediately after SEP (2%, P < 0.05, ES: 0.36) but 24 h post SEM (4%, P < 0.05, ES: 0.52). Horizontal countermovement jump performance was reduced immediately post SEP and SEM (3–5%, P < 0.01, ES: 0.22–0.38) and 24 h post SEM (4%, ES: 0.32). Conclusion

The data demonstrate that position-specific SEP and SEM drills overload different physiological indices and induce small impairments in some neuromuscular measures.

Kitman Labs raises more funds as it moves into coronavirus monitoring

Irish Times, Charlie Taylor from

… The move sees the fast-growing company moving far beyond its origins to become what co-founder and chief executive Stephen Smith described as an “operating system for the world of sports”.

The Dublin-headquartered company was established with the goal of reducing the risk of injury in professional sports by using artificial intelligence and data science to improve athletes’ health, welfare and performance. Mr Smith is a former injury rehabilitation and conditioning coach for Leinster Rugby.

Kitman Labs is now rolling out a number of additional features dealing with areas such as talent development, player-value assessment, and advanced Covid-symptom monitoring and testing.

Michael Johnson Performance, Kinduct Form Data and Performance Partnership

Kinduct from

… “Data collection has always been seen as critical to understand human performance and our own systems effectiveness and efficiency in providing results for our clients,” stated Lance Walker, Global Director of Performance at MJP. “This exciting partnership with Kinduct, an industry-leader and disruptor in athlete management systems, enables MJP specialists, therapists, and athletes the ability to leverage performance data in new and innovative ways that will unlock hidden potential and change forever the way data is used to measure, monitor, and manage training for any athlete, any sport, any age, and at any level of competition.”


Barca Innovation Hub from

As we mentioned in the previous article, when the black vests worn by the first football team caught the attention of the press in 2017, Barça Innovation Hub was already in the process to further develop the EPTS WIMU PRO, from the Almeria-based company RealTrack Systems, on a joint development strategy between the company and the club.

After the first year working together, the device had become more precise, and all that remained to be polished was the software for collecting and processing the metrics. From the beginning, RealTrack was willing to share its RAW data with the club. Although this has started to become more common nowadays, these companies were quite reluctant to provide this information at the start of the EPTS revolution. This is always a problem for the technical staff because there is no universal way to correct the raw signal, to minimize errors. Each company uses its own method, and the coaches don’t know how the data has been processed before they receive it. RealTrack Systems was completely transparent in delivering its RAW data from the start.

The club also works with five different sports – football, basketball, handball, indoor football, and roller hockey. Although as team sports they need specific common information, there are also aspects that the EPTS has to measure in a specialised way for each one of them. All this was taken into account when developing the software that complements WIMU PRO itself, the SVIVO and SPRO applications.

Reggie Scott shares an inside look at safety procedures in Rams’ team facility from

Los Angeles Rams VP of Sports Medicine and Performance Reggie Scott gives NFL Network’s Steve Wyche a tour of the Rams’ facility as they prepare for the start of Training Camp and shares the new COVID-19 safety protocols for Rams players and staff.

Why MLB athletic trainers are the key to keeping the 60-game season afloat

ESPN MLB, Aidan Gonzalez from

The Cincinnati Reds hired Geoff Head last offseason to oversee their health-and-performance team, a group of roughly 50 men and women divided into seven departments. He got the job in December, two months later than normal for that type of role. Three months after that, the sport shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Three months after that, on June 29, with baseball scrambling to return amid an escalating public health crisis, Head’s wife, a nurse practitioner at an at-risk clinic in Mesa, Arizona, tested positive for COVID-19 and passed the virus to the couple’s 8-month-old son.

Head, 35, found a Courtyard Marriott nearby and remained there for several days until his wife’s symptoms — frequent chills, excessive vomiting — began to subside. From there, he flew to Cincinnati, quarantined in the small apartment where he will live in isolation for the rest of the season, and then, on July 12, a little less than two weeks after baseball resumed, he finally joined the rest of his staff — a staff that was already overworked, in over its head and stretched too thin.

Gary Bettman will make call on NHL players who test positive for coronavirus

ESPN NHL, Greg Wyshynski from

When the NHL restarts its season on Aug. 1 in Toronto and Edmonton, neither commissioner Gary Bettman nor deputy commissioner Bill Daly will be on-site.

“Bill and I have actually put ourselves on the back burner because we don’t have the requisite approvals to enter Canada or the bubble without a 14-day quarantine,” Bettman said Friday during a news conference. “We also have an open question as to whether or not an owner or a senior executive of a club can come in and watch the games from outside the bubble. Those are questions that are still evolving.”

There are many questions about the NHL’s restarted season, and some were answered during Bettman’s availability, including the fact that the commissioner will be the one to ultimately make the call on a player’s eligibility if he tests positive for COVID-19 or needs to be quarantined for any reason.

Study: High School Athletes Require Longer Recovery After Concussion

Henry Ford Health System from

Young athletes are sidelined for at least one month after suffering a concussion, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study that provides new perspective on concussions and brain injuries.

The study’s results were published ahead of the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s recent announcement that the fall high school sports season will begin as traditionally scheduled, with football practices starting on Aug. 10.

The findings published by Orthopedics, a nationally recognized, peer-reviewed journal for orthopedic surgeons, are from a study conducted between September 2013 and December 2016. The study focused on 357 high school adolescents who sustained one or more concussions by analyzing historical data and then comparing it to more recent findings tied to an increase in reported concussions among young athletes.

What’s next for college football? A cycle of delay and hope

Yahoo Sports, Pete Thamel from

… One high-ranking conference official summed up the Michigan State issue this way on Friday: “The barrier to all this [returning to play] is what happened at Michigan State today. The quarantine is the issue.”

The freeze at Michigan State marks at least a dozen programs that have halted workouts during this summer, and that’s all before the start of contact practices. The two biggest barriers to football in the fall – outside of the virus itself – are the quarantining restrictions and the return of students to campus.

The good news for FBS football’s future on Friday came with the NCAA punting the decision on fall sports, which really ends up a win for optics for college football and little else. The decision to postpone fall championships wouldn’t have directly impacted big-time college football. The College Football Playoff is really just a television contract that operates essentially outside of the NCAA’s financial purview.

‘It’s better than nothing’ says student-athlete on condensed high school sports decision

WSLS tv (Roanoke, VA), Lindsey Kennett from

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) has officially released its playbook for the 2020-21 school year.

All three sports seasons will be shorter and no one can start playing until mid-December.

NFL, NFLPA agreement includes specific prohibitions on player activities

ProFootballTalk, MIke Florio from

With the NFL and NFL Players Association striking a historic, on-the-fly CBA that covers 2020 and beyond, the two sides have come up with a way to ensure that players will practice personal responsibility in a pandemic.

Per multiple sources, the deal specifically prohibits players from engaging in certain behaviors this season. Players cannot attend indoor night clubs, indoor bars (except to pickup food), indoor house parties (with 15 or more people), indoor concerts, professional sporting events, or indoor church services that allow attendance above 25 percent of capacity.

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