Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 31, 2020

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 31, 2020


Injured in spring, now healthy NHL stars embrace 2nd chances

Associated Press, Stephen Whyno from

Seth Jones stood on his surgically repaired right ankle as his Blue Jackets teammates practiced and played without him. That took its toll.

“It gets mentally draining,” Jones said.

Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos and Pittsburgh All-Star Jake Guentzel know the feeling.

Like Jones, they were injured late in the NHL season and would have missed part or all of the playoffs had they started in April. Instead, the four-month pandemic shutdown has given them a second chance for them to heal up in time for the rescheduled battle for the Stanley Cup.

“I probably wouldn’t have had that opportunity,” said Stamkos, who underwent core muscle surgery in early March.

How Chris Paul ran point during the pandemic

The Undefeated, Marc J. Spears from

When Chris Paul first walked through the doors of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in early July, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard paused to reflect on the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season: the planning, the health concerns, the social justice issues.

As the moment sunk in, Paul, who played a significant role in the restart as president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), got teary-eyed.

“Just think about it. A lot of things we were seeing at one point were renderings, and just conversations,” Paul told The Undefeated. “What will they need as far as a weight room? What will I need here? What will they need there?

Cameron Brate, recovered from coronavirus, says Buccaneers workouts were ‘calculated risk’

ESPN NFL, Jenna Laine from

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate, who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus this offseason and has since recovered, called attending Tom Brady’s organized workouts a “calculated risk” and believes it won’t be much different than electing to play this season.

Brate contracted the virus as the player-organized workouts were going on a few months ago, but his fiancée, Brooke, whom he lives with, started exhibiting symptoms first, so he put himself into quarantine before his diagnosis.

“I initially tested negative, but at some point, I contracted it from her and later became infected,” Brate said. “For me personally, the only thing I experienced was a loss of taste for two days. So I’m extremely grateful that I wasn’t one of the people who got some of the more severe symptoms.”

Two metrics we observe for speed: max ratio of force (RFmax) & decrease in ratio of force (DRF). Paired w/ video analysis, they help paint a picture of how force is applied at different speeds

Twitter, Cameron Josse from

How Much Recovery Should You Take Between Speed Intervals?

Podium Runner, Richard A. Lovett from

… this may be one of those things runners too easily overthink.

Yes, it’s good to have a basic idea of what you want to do in a workout. But there is scientific evidence that your body is perfectly capable of telling you what to do if you learn to pay at least as much attention it as you do to the clock. At a deep internal level, the body knows when it’s ready to go, and once you reach that point, delay is counterproductive, no matter what your watch may be saying.

The WNBA and NBA announce digital health partnerships for upcoming seasons

MobiHealthNews, Mallory Hackett from

The WNBA is teaming up with the Oura smart ring for the upcoming season as part of the initiative to prioritize the players’ and league staff’s health, safety and privacy.

This comes just a month after the NBA announced it too would provide Oura rings to all teams and league staff members.

Today the NBA announced another partnership, this time with Masimo, to supply players, coaches and staff with the MightySat fingertip pulse oximeter.

The Story of Robby Sikka, Doctor and Leader in the NBA

SLAM Magazine, Alex Squadron from

Every day looks different for Robby Sikka, the vice president of basketball performance and technology for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He probably interacts with somewhere between 25 and 50 people, whether it’s via phone or video conference. His tasks range from deciding the food on the team’s menu to understanding and strategizing how they should address the COVID-19 crisis. He’ll arrange medical care, talk to players about their physical and mental health, drop constant updates on the pandemic in the organization’s communications platform (which he helped build), study new sports science data and connect with business CEOs, social justice activists, wellness experts and more.

“Really, it’s anything and everything that the organization needs,” Sikka says. “I’m committed because I just want to win so badly. I want the organization to be successful and I want the people here to be successful. I’ve never been around a front office or a group of coaches that care more about one another. It’s a family.”

Systematic video analysis of ACL injuries in professional male football (soccer): injury mechanisms, situational patterns and biomechanics study on 134 consecutive cases Free

British Journal of Sports Medicine from

Background A few small studies have reported on the mechanisms of ACL injury in professional male football.

Aim To describe the mechanisms, situational patterns and biomechanics (kinematics) of ACL injuries in professional male football matches.

Methods We identified 148 consecutive ACL injuries across 10 seasons of professional Italian football. 134 (90%) injury videos were analysed for mechanism and situational pattern, while biomechanical analysis was possible in 107 cases. Three independent reviewers evaluated each video. ACL injury epidemiology (month), timing within the match and pitch location at the time of injury were also reported.

Results 59 (44%) injuries were non-contact, 59 (44%) were indirect contact and 16 (12%) were direct contact. Players were frequently perturbed immediately prior to injury. We identified four main situational patterns for players who suffered a non-contact or an indirect contact injury: (1) pressing and tackling (n=55); (2) tackled (n=24); (3) regaining balance after kicking (n=19); and (4) landing from a jump (n=8). Knee valgus loading (n=83, 81%) was the dominant injury pattern across all four of these situational patterns (86%, 86%, 67% and 50%, respectively). 62% of the injuries occurred in the first half of the matches (p<0.01). Injuries peaked at the beginning of the season (September–October) and were also higher at the end of the season (March–May). Conclusions 88% of ACL injuries occurred without direct knee contact, but indirect contact injuries were as frequent as non-contact injuries, underlying the importance of mechanical perturbation. The most common situational patterns were pressing, being tackled and kicking. [full text]

UK sports minister says rugby union outside elite may have to scrap scrums

The Guardian, Sean Ingle from

The sports minister Nigel Huddleston has indicated that there will have to be changes to the way recreational rugby union is played before it is allowed to return, including potentially no scrummages until after Christmas.

Community rugby remains on the second stage of a six-part roadmap for a phased return, with players allowed to exercise within a small group of six players provided they maintain social distancing. However, no face-to-face contact is permitted and equipment sharing must be kept to a minimum.

The RFU, which has submitted detailed proposals for community rugby to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said earlier this month that it was hoping “to have some positive news soon about the potential move to the next stage”. The game’s governing body in England has also been targeting a return to full-contact rugby for grassroots clubs by the end of the year.

Tom Thibodeau dishes on how current NBA trends will affect his coaching style

New York Daily News, Stefan Bondy from

Tom Thibodeau is bringing to the Knicks a reputation of overworking his players, a knock that was ignited and perpetuated at his previous stops in Chicago and Minnesota.

On his first official day with the Knicks on Thursday, Thibodeau explained why his starters were given heavy minutes. His logic was simple: Since the opposing team’s best players most frequently play a wing position and are almost always on the court, Thibodeau used his best options at those positions (Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins) to counter.

“When you look at the league and see the load management that’s going on, it’s more positional based. You look back five years you see Lebron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, the late Kobe Bryant, those guys were all playing 35 minutes,” Thibodeau said. “They’d be matched up with Jimmy butler, Luol Deng, they’d be guarding them.

“So if their stars go out, our guys would go out. If they go back in, they go back in.”

World Rugby virus calendar faces club opposition, legal action

Yahoo Sports, AFP from

World Rugby doubled its international window for the autumn tests on Thursday, despite the opposition of the English and French Leagues.

The decision by the World Rugby Council on Thursday to approve a temporary 2020 calendar following the coronavirus shutdown means that international teams can play six autumn Tests instead of the normal three.

That allows international tournaments postponed because of the pandemic to catch up, but potentially at the expense of club fixtures.

The LNR, which runs French club rugby, said it has taken a first step towards legal proceedings by issuing a formal notice to World Rugby, accusing it of modifying the international calendar “without any real consultation with the professional leagues and in particular the LNR.”

Are MLB catchers more likely to test positive for COVID-19?

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Wells Dusenbury from

On its surface, it seems like an ideal incubator for COVID-19 — three people in close proximity continuously breathing hard and yelling throughout a three-hour game.

As Major League Baseball and professional sports return after their pandemic breaks, social distancing is a key element for the leagues to safely operate, since coronavirus cases are still surging across the country. But what happens when some positions can’t allow for social distance?


Barca Innovation Hub from

Advances in technology and the application of science are increasingly making it possible to decipher everything that happens on the pitch during games and whole seasons. In this case, applying network theory to football is simply one more method to obtain additional information about a football match.

Javier Martín, at a talk in La Masía, explained the conclusions of the research Defining a historic football team: Using Network Science to analyze Guardiola’s F.C. Barcelona by Xavier Busquets, I. Irigoyen, Paco Seirul·lo and him. This use of network theory enables a new tool to assess how a team plays, and therefore can be used to establish strategies: “It is going to give you one more point of view and then the coach decides. Maybe you are right with less information, but to make good decisions you always need the most information available and take into account the greatest number of factors that have influenced the final result”.

Football’s five substitutes rule doesn’t benefit the big clubs – and here’s why

The Guardian, Ignacio Palacios-Huerta from

The academic and former Athletic Bilbao head of talent ID explains why the issue is not as simple as it appears

Footballers may take legal action over personal data usage, says Russell Slade

Sky Sports, Geraint Hughes from

Over 400 football players have signed a potential major lawsuit potentially worth hundreds of millions which could change how personal data is handled

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