Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 30, 2020

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


‘Boring’ Sam Darnold not taking any health risks as Jets’ camp begins

ESPN NFL, Rich Cimini from

… If a friend invites him out to nearby New York City, he will decline. Perhaps more than any player in the league, he understands how illness can derail a season. A year ago, he became the first NFL quarterback in recent memory to be diagnosed with mononucleosis, causing him to miss three games. By the time he returned, the team was 0-4 and the Jets’ season was pretty much shot.

This is a critical year for Darnold, who, despite two mediocre statistical seasons, still is viewed by the Jets as their Golden Child. They just endured a turbulent divorce with star safety Jamal Adams, and they need someone to galvanize the team, create an identity for the franchise and take the heat off coach Adam Gase. Darnold can do all that by reaching the lofty expectations that arrived with him in 2018.

US youth international Ian Hoffmann details why he swapped Germany for the Houston Dynamo, Tom Bogert from

… So, why did a young prospect swap Germany for the Dynamo? Well, that’s the Tab Ramos effect.

“I felt it was something I couldn’t refuse due to the coaching staff, this is the best place for me to develop,” Hoffmann told on Tuesday.

Hoffmann also played under Houston assistant Omid Namazi at the youth national team. The 18-year-old said that he had kept in touch with Ramos and Namazi even after both went to Houston. Then, with Hoffmann’s contract with Karlsruher set to expire soon, they reached out.

How to Find Mindfulness in Running

GamePlan A newsletter, William Pullen from

50% or more of the runners I meet run in order to address their mental health. That’s why it seems fitting to tell you about my story of becoming a runner. I’m a psychotherapist who uses running as part of their therapeutic approach. It’s unusual but there are more and more of us. Like with many psychotherapists, my career began at a point of crisis. In my case a midlife crisis.

Because I believe sharing our stories unites and heals us, I’m going to share the chronology of some moving and not so moving parts of my journey in achieving mindfulness through running and becoming a psychotherapist and the founder of my own approach, Dynamic Running Therapy.

Brain thickness and connectivity, not just location, correlates with behavior

Penn State University, Penn State News from

Most people think of the brain as divided into regions that are each responsible for different functions, such as language and fine motor skills. A new study by Penn State researchers suggests that there’s more to the story: The thickness of the brain’s tissue and a brain region’s connectivity may play an equally important role in linking brain and behavior.

Complementary Game Speed & Hamstring Injury Prevention with Joel Reinhardt

Simplifaster blog, Joel Reinhardt from

Joel Reinhardt is the Assistant Director of Sports Performance at the University of Massachusetts, working with football and women’s lacrosse. He has previously served as an assistant at Nicholls State University, and as a GA at Springfield College.

Freelap USA: What are some key facets of how you manage data to assist coaches in practice planning?

Joel Reinhardt: The #1 factor is whether or not the ultimate decision-maker for physical loading in the program actually cares about conclusions drawn from the data. You have to have your head coach on board. That doesn’t mean every single recommendation you make gets implemented, but there has to be an understanding and relationship of collaboration in that realm.

For young female athletes, losing weight may not improve performance

Science, Lucy Hicks from

Coaches often encourage young female athletes to lose weight, expecting the dropped pounds to improve their performance in athletic events. Indeed, several female runners came forward last year saying they were bullied about their weight by a Nike coach. Now, research suggests the strategy may do more harm than good.

“People equate fitness with thinness,” says Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist at New York University’s Langone Health who was not involved with the work. “This study shows that we really need to rethink that.”

The belief that lighter is better may have come from small studies of athletic performance and body mass index (BMI), says James Guseh, a cardiovascular physician-scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. BMI is a measure of height and weight, and some studies have shown that endurance athletes, such as long-distance runners or rowers, with low BMI outperform their heavier colleagues. But Guseh says most of this work has focused on male athletes.

How anger can be put to good use

BBC Future, David Robson from

… the experts argue putting our angry feelings to good use may be far more effective than simply suppressing them. “Suppression just leaves you feeling exhausted,” explains R David Lebel, an organisational scientist at the University of Pittsburgh. “So for me, it’s all about where we’re going to direct that energy.”

So what are those benefits? And how can we harness them?

NRL is assessing the bunker’s future, and looking at ‘skeletal tracking’ technology for forward passes

ABC News (Australia), AAP/ABC from

The NRL is considering the use of “skeletal tracking” to pick up forward passes as debate continues to rage about the merits of keeping the controversial, multi-million-dollar bunker.

The NRL’s head of football elite competitions, Graham Annesley, has revealed the league is researching the viability of such extreme motion technology following another round blighted by video refereeing howlers.

Annesley said skeletal tracking was essentially “measuring the movement of every limb and the bones within the limb” to determine whether the hands of a pass actually released the ball forwards or backwards.

A validation study of the WHOOP strap against polysomnography to assess sleep – PubMed

Journal of Sports Sciences from

The aim of the study was to compare the WHOOP strap – a wearable device that estimates sleep based on measures of movement and heart rate derived from actigraphy and photoplethysmography, respectively. Twelve healthy adults (6 females, 6 males, aged 22.9 ± 3.4 years) participated in a 10-day, laboratory-based protocol. A total of 86 sleeps were independently assessed in 30-s epochs using polysomnography and WHOOP. For WHOOP, bed times were entered by researchers and sleeps were scored by the company based on proprietary algorithms. WHOOP overestimated total sleep time by 8.2 ± 32.9 minutes compared to polysomnography, but this difference was non-significant. WHOOP was compared to polysomnography for 2-stage (i.e., wake, sleep) and 4-stage categorisation (i.e., wake, light sleep [N1 or N2], slow-wave sleep [N3], REM) of sleep periods. For 2-stage categorisation, the agreement, sensitivity to sleep, specificity for wake, and Cohen’s kappa were 89%, 95%, 51%, and 0.49, respectively. For 4-stage categorisation, the agreement, sensitivity to light sleep, SWS, REM, and wake, and Cohen’s kappa were 64%, 62%, 68%, 70%, 51%, and 0.47, respectively. In situations where polysomnography is impractical (e.g., field settings), WHOOP is a reasonable method for estimating sleep, particularly for 2-stage categorisation, if accurate bedtimes are manually entered.


Barca Innovation Hub from

“We were suspicious as we observed certain cases”, explained Ricard Pruna and Gil Rodas, doctors at F.C. Barcelona. “When we worked with football players who had suffered injuries to the long head of the biceps femoris, it seemed as though the players with shorter proximal free tendons, had a faster recovery. But as this was only our subjective impression, we decided to use the data available in order to study and thoroughly test our theory”.

The biceps femoris is one of the muscles that make up the hamstrings, which is one of the most injured muscle groups in sports such as football. Dr Xavier Yanguas, who is also a doctor at the club, has established that this type of injury accounts for 12% of all injuries suffered by football players, and 37% of muscle injuries. More specifically, 84% of hamstring injuries occur to the biceps femoris, hence its importance.

How NFL contact tracing will work

Chicago Tribune, Colleen Kane from

… The system, called SafeZone, will assist NFL teams with physical distancing and contact tracing initiatives as they try to prevent the coronavirus from spreading through their facilities.

All team personnel will wear the lightweight SafeTag sensors on a wristband or lanyard within the facility and during team travel, and players will also have them in their jerseys during practices.

How sports, coronavirus and hygiene mix – Spit, snot rockets and licking during return to play

ESPN NHL, Greg Wyshynski from

The coronavirus pandemic has been a referendum on societal cleanliness. Not just regarding the time spent washing one’s hands or wiping down household surfaces but also going right to the source: bodily fluids.

That includes the kinds found all over the sports world — the spitting, the licking, the spewing, the sweating and, perhaps most disgustingly, the snot rockets, where an athlete takes their hand, closes off one nostril and launches a stream of mucus through the open one.

“I call it ‘clearing the runway,'” NHL defenseman Jordie Benn of the Vancouver Canucks said.

Why were the Arizona Coyotes so angry that GM John Chayka quit?

ESPN NHL, Greg Wyshynski from

… Chayka released a statement to AZ Coyotes Insider and writer Craig Morgan later that day:

“The past four years have been the most enjoyable of my life. In Arizona, I became a husband and a father, while working as hard as possible to make the Coyotes a Stanley Cup contender. I love our players, coaches, staff and fans and I very much wish I could be with the team in Edmonton. Sadly, the situation created by ownership made that an impossibility. That’s all I intend to say on this matter for now. A fuller, more detailed explanation may be necessary in the near future. Until then, I wish the Coyotes good luck in Edmonton, and thank every member of Our Pack for the support shown to Kathryn, our daughter and myself over the years. Also, I want to congratulate Steve Sullivan as he steps into a new role. We’ve worked side-by-side for years. He is a great person and a terrific hockey mind.”

What compelled a GM to leave his team before the playoffs? And what caused that team to publicly besmirch him on the way out?

Penguins’ Return to Play Roster Has Heavy WBS Influence, Michelle Crechiolo from

The Penguins were permitted to bring a maximum of 31 players to Toronto (click here for the full roster). And in a tribute to the organization’s development process, 19 of those players have all spent time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. … For Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, it’s a top-to-bottom effort that all starts with Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, who provide the necessary resources to make Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the development opportunity that it is.

NHL’s top teams face dilemma on what round-robin play means

Associated Press, Stephen Whyno from

Long before Peter DeBoer coached two teams to the Stanley Cup Final, he got some experience at Canadian junior hockey’s Memorial Cup that could serve him well right about now.

That tournament starts with round-robin play before the knockout round.

“You definitely have to change your mindset,” DeBoer said.

His Vegas Golden Knights and other top teams in the East and West face a similar challenge in this most unusual expanded NHL playoffs, which begin Saturday. While 16 teams battle it out in best-of-five elimination series to advance, the top four in each conference play each other in separate mini- tournaments to decide seeding.

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