Applied Sports Science newsletter – January 8, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for January 8, 2021


How 3 former Penn State women’s volleyball players were guided by Russ Rose before turning pro

Penn State University, The Daily Collegian student newspaper, Madison Ridge from

Penn State’s women’s volleyball program has sported some of the top volleyball players in the nation, including three who have continued their professional careers overseas.

These former Nittany Lions — Simone Lee, Haleigh Washington and Kendall White — credit the program and one person in particular for aiding their success.

Lee, Washington and White played their Penn State careers under Russ Rose, the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history with 1,299 wins.

How Titans’ Derrick Henry can withstand a heavy workload to keep delivering

ESPN NFL, Turron Davenport from

… One of Henry’s strengths is his conditioning. Just one look at his social media accounts will show you how much work he puts in during the offseason. Henry won’t share many secrets about his workout regimen other than the fact that he keeps it the same.

“I just do what’s been working for me and continue to do those things to have my body ready each and every week to help the team. I always stick to my routine that works for me and has my body ready,” Henry said.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel: “It goes back to his overall approach, his conditioning level. I do think that there’s a certain level of durability that he’s exhibited since our time together that allows him to function late in the season.”

Our body clock is largely kept working by “junk DNA”

ZME Science, Alexandru Micu from

… Until now, research into the origins of our circadian rhythm (body clock) focused on what are known as clock genes — these contain the data for proteins that keep the clock ticking. Judging by this rhythm, our body knows when it’s time to wake up or go to bed, when it’s time to eat, when it falls dark. It then prepares for each of these times, generally by releasing different hormones to prep your body up. Needless to say, this rhythm is a very important adaptation that allows organisms to sync in with their environment.

We’ve been studying its origins in the hope of developing new treatment options for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes, but progress has been slow. It may have been that we were looking in the wrong place all along, new research reports.

What is exercise-induced muscle damage?

Barca Innovation Hub, Pedro L. Valenzuela from

Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) can have important consequences for the performance of athletes as it is associated with muscle pain and a decrease of the neuromuscular function. Also, its effects can remain for up to two weeks after exercising. In fact, one of the most popular effects of EIMD is delayed-onset muscular soreness (DOMS).

Training Load and Injury: Causal Pathways and Future Directions

Sports Medicine journal from

Causal pathways between training loads and the mechanisms of tissue damage and athletic injury are poorly understood. Here, the relation between specific training load measures and metrics, and causal pathways of gradual onset and traumatic injury are examined. Currently, a wide variety of internal and external training load measures and metrics exist, with many of these being commonly utilized to evaluate injury risk. These measures and metrics can conceptually be related to athletic injury through the mechanical load-response pathway, the psycho-physiological load-response pathway, or both. However, the contributions of these pathways to injury vary. Importantly, tissue fatigue damage and trauma through the mechanical load-response pathway is poorly understood. Furthermore, considerable challenges in quantifying this pathway exist within applied settings, evidenced by a notable absence of validation between current training load measures and tissue-level mechanical loads. Within this context, the accurate quantification of mechanical loads holds considerable importance for the estimation of tissue damage and the development of more thorough understandings of injury risk. Despite internal load measures of psycho-physiological load speculatively being conceptually linked to athletic injury through training intensity and the effects of psycho-physiological fatigue, these measures are likely too far removed from injury causation to provide meaningful, reliable relationships with injury. Finally, we used a common training load metric as a case study to show how the absence of a sound conceptual rationale and spurious links to causal mechanisms can disclose the weaknesses of candidate measures as tools for altering the likelihood of injuries, aiding the future development of more refined injury risk assessment methods.

From Philadelphia to Europe, Brenden Aaronson’s Journey Is a Model for U.S. Soccer

The Ringer, Greg Groggel from

The 20-year-old midfielder, a product of the Philadelphia Union’s youth academy, recently joined Red Bull Salzburg in a multimillion-dollar deal. His trajectory is an example of how investing in youth development can spur MLS growth and benefit the U.S. men’s national team.

Wareable Hotlist: 21 wearable tech predictions for 2021

Wareable (UK), Michael Sawh from

… The madness of the pandemic has put more focus on wearables helping us monitor our health, fitness and keeping us better connected.

And companies like Apple, Samsung and Fitbit – as well as emerging players like Huami and Huawei – are pushing smartwatches further into their roles as health and fitness devices.

We’ve come up with 21 big predictions of what we think is going to go down in the wearable industry – and grab the headlines – over the next 12 months.

Digitized health records, safety apps could be game-changer for athletes at every level

Arizona PBS, Cronkite News, Rob Kleifield from

Most of 2020 has been marred by uncertainty.

The fickleness of daily routines. The indecision of divided leadership. The precariousness of an American lifeline, sports, as society once knew them.

What lies beyond the scope of doubt, however, is that formerly marginalized voices are headed to the podium to ignite tangible, national growth. College athletes want a seat at the table. Professionals have weighed the risks of competition in a COVID-19 climate versus the rewards. And adolescents dream on, despite some losing out on Friday nights under the lights and school dances. All in the face of a global pandemic.

Enter digitized health care databases. Leading the way is PRIVIT, which doubles as a medical eligibility forms platform that caters to K-12 school districts, college and university athletic departments and professional and developmental sports organizations. Its clients include Clemson University, the USA Hockey National Team, the University of Southern California and close to a dozen state high school athletic associations. Its work supplements the shift to telehealth and data-gathering smartphone apps afoot in the health care industry.

CAPE speak to Dr Ian McKeown Head of High-Performance from Port Adelaide on custom compression

CAPE Bionics blog from

2020 has been a year like no other, particularly for elite sport. The 2020 AFL season has posed significant challenges for players and coaches, due to the change in match fixtures and the reduced recovery time between games. Enhancing player recovery has become more important than ever. Cape were able to assist Port Adelaide in 2020 by proving customised compression garments for the players. Our Sports Physiologist Dr Annette Eastwood caught up with Dr Ian McKeown, Head of High Performance at Port Adelaide Football Club, to discuss how Cape compression garments assisted Port Adelaide players during the 2020 AFL season.

NBA updates mental health policies amid ongoing pandemic

Associated Press, Tim Reynolds from

The NBA is urging teams to make increased commitments toward providing mental health resources to players and staff, releasing updated guidelines Wednesday to reflect the challenge of playing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The league told teams they should establish “education and awareness materials focused on managing mental health during times of uncertainty and coping strategies for addressing the emotional toll of the pandemic.”

“Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, taking care of one’s mental health and having access to resources are important aspects of managing the feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and stress that have characterized much of 2020 and will in all likelihood be present during the 2020-21 season,” the league wrote in a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

Abuse of young sportspeople is frequent, says survey

SWI from

One in five young sportsmen and women in the western French-speaking part of Switzerland has suffered some form of violence, according to a survey by the University of Lausanne.

NCAA men’s basketball tournament health protocols include 7 negative COVID-19 tests, contact tracing devices

ESPN Men's College Basketball, Jeff Borzello from

The NCAA on Wednesday announced its health and safety protocols for the 2020 men’s basketball tournament, set to take place entirely in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas in March and April.

The most significant protocol involves testing. All Tier 1 travel party participants — which includes student-athletes, coaches, trainers, physical therapists, medical and equipment staff, and officials — will have to show seven consecutive negative COVID-19 tests before arriving in Indianapolis. Tier 1 individuals will then undergo daily PCR testing upon arrival and throughout the tournament.

$10 million federal grant expands research to protect against concussions

Brown University, News from Brown from

Despite mounting concerns about concussions affecting athletes, soldiers and others, these injuries remain frustratingly difficult to prevent or even diagnose.

A research collaboration including three Brown University professors has been working toward a comprehensive understanding of traumatic brain injury — linking the damage occurring at the cellular level in the brain with the forces and motions involved in blows to the head. The collaboration, called PANTHER, ultimately aims to develop new ways of detecting when a concussion has occurred, and new helmet technologies that better protect against them.

Now, that work is set to expand thanks to a new $10 million grant from the Office of Naval Research within the U.S. Department of the Navy.

Detecting CRISPR/Cas gene doping

American Chemical Society, ACS News Service Weekly PressPac from

All athletes want to be at the top of their game when they compete, but some resort to nefarious approaches to achieve peak muscle growth, speed and agility. Recent developments in gene editing technology could tempt athletes to change their DNA to get an edge. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Analytical Chemistry demonstrate first steps toward detecting this type of doping both in human plasma and in live mice.

Spin, not velocity, makes this ace elite, Mike Petriello from

Cleveland starter Shane Bieber is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, and we probably don’t need to go much beyond “he just won the American League Cy Young unanimously” to back that up. We will anyway, though; he allowed only 14 earned runs in 12 starts in 2020; in 77 1/3 innings, he struck out 122. Over the past two years, he’s got a 2.84 ERA and more than six times as many strikeouts as walks. He’s in a rare class of elite ace.

OK, but: Why? What does he do so well? Let’s try to get into something new.

Making Sense Of: Health and Learning and Sports

Basic learning depends on providing fundamental health care. Getting more healthcare into schools will, experts believe, improve student outcomes considerably. Getting more healthcare into schools should also help sports.

Public education in the U.S. took a giant leap forward in the early 20th Century when hygiene took a giant leap forward, and it wasn’t long until school nurses became a real thing, delivering real health care — medications, immunizations, screenings, referrals — to lots of kids. That forward leap has unfortunately taken steps backward. Only 40 percent of public schools currently have a full-time nurse on the premises.

The pandemic has created the simultaneous opportunities to evolve youth education and youth sports. Aspen Institute is doing important work related to sports but seems reluctant to see health care integrated into education in the same way that it wants sports and recreation managed, with dedicated resources and oversight.
COVID has increased the attention on public health, and it goes beyond basic hygiene. Schools can realistically expect to regularly encounter widespread obesity and anxiety among students. Advances like telemedicine and wearable technology are useful and scaleable, but only if they are applied carefully and not seen as a magic bullet.

The State of Pennsylvania has a Sports Medicine Advisory Board that is guiding the state’s progress toward reactivating high school sports. This Board has no infectious disease experts and it seems to be struggling to come up with a road map for bringing back competitive sports safely. Athletes’ parents are not helpful either, it seems.

Personal health is a pillar of educational and athletic success, or at least it should be. You don’t get a chance to improve if you aren’t well, a truism for children of all ages. Last, gains in physical capacity can help to produce gains in mental capacity, and vice versa. It feels wrong to put education, health care and sports in their own boxes and to ignore the overlaps.

Thank you for reading, including my just-for-January appeal to support the newsletter. I appreciate your attention and hope that your new year is off to a good start.

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