Applied Sports Science newsletter – February 16, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for February 16, 2021


The NHL’s best and worst this week: The secrets to Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith’s longevity

ESPN NHL, Emily Kaplan from

… A few years ago, Keith said he planned to play until he’s 45. The defenseman admits he spoke a little capriciously. “I kind of just said that because I was sick of the media asking,” he said. “It started a few years ago when I was 34 or 35. For me, I felt like I was young, I didn’t know why I was being asked these questions. At 37 now, I look around and I’m the oldest guy on the team and there’s not a whole lot of guys my age [in the league] anymore.”

Asked if he could play to 50, Keith laughed. “I don’t know if I’ll go that far,” he said. “But I feel really good right now.”

Ask anyone who has played with Keith and they’ll tell you he’s obsessive about his off-ice regimen. Many young players try to absorb the lessons, while others are just in awe.

“My first year, I was really impressed to learn how much work [Keith] does off the ice, especially when it comes to recovery,” Kirby Dach told me last year. “He puts so much work in you don’t see behind closed doors.”

Retiring Lamoureux twins reflect on growth of game in US and abroad

The Ice Garden blog, Mike Murphy from

… It’s fitting that there are two Lamoureuxs because for so many years they were Team USA’s engine. They were the lungs driving forward an apex predator eager to prove its superiority against an eternal rival in Team Canada. Jocelyne, a perpetually underrated forward with peerless hands and vision; Monique, somehow equally brilliant as both a forward and a defender. Both beautiful skaters. Both with work ethics that would put a combustion engine to shame.

They’ve also both had front-row seats watching the game develop at home and abroad since they made their national team debuts in their teens. The sport changed with them and around them over the past 15 years. They’ve watched Finland begin close the gap on Team USA and Canada and watched the next generation of talent rise to elevate the game as they went from kids to leaders to icons wearing red, white, and blue. In their media availability on Feb. 8, they talked about how the game has changed and where it is going.

“We didn’t have an opportunity to play on girls’ teams growing up,” Jocelyne said during the twins’ retirement media conference. “In 2010, everyone but one player on our team had to play on boys’ teams growing up. Then, in 2018, you take that same poll and I’d say it was about half and half — so half the team played on girls’ teams all the way growing up. I would say that speaks to the opportunities that girls have today and the competitiveness.

Buffalo Sabres Face Significant Challenges Upon Return to Play

The Hockey Writers, Mike Carter from

The Buffalo Sabres’ season is about to rise from the ashes. After a two-week hibernation, the team gets back to playing games on Feb. 15 against the New York Islanders. But there are a number of significant challenges that they will continue to face as the season goes on.

Number one: they are in the bottom of the division after having a number of days off. But also, with the team’s schedule now condensed even further, keeping the focus and the energy high will be of the utmost importance. To do that, head coach Ralph Krueger will rely on his staff, specifically the Sabres’ sports science personnel, to monitor the players. How the coaching staff is able to manage the space between games is going to be as critical for the team’s success as what the players do against their opponents.

Rested and recharged after pause, New Jersey Devils return to practice, will play on Tuesday


The New Jersey Devils are back at work after 19 players landed on the NHL’s COVID-19 list and forced the postponement of seven games since the end of January.

The Devils, who play the Rangers on Tuesday, practiced Monday for the first time since beating the Sabres in Buffalo on Jan. 31.

Over the next three days after that game, 11 players were added to the NHL’s list of players unavailable because of COVID-19, pushing the Devils’ total to 17. The list reached 19 on Feb. 9.

“It’s kind of unfortunate and it’s kind of crazy how fast it spreads,” forward Miles Wood said Monday. “I think that’s the scariest part. You know, it took down a team within a matter of three days, so it’s very serious.”

Fitbit adds blood glucose tracking to its connected app

MobiHealthNews, Mallory Hackett from

Fitbit users can now track their blood glucose levels within the device’s connected app, the company announced Monday in a blog post.

Users can import their blood sugar data automatically by connecting with their LifeScan OneTouch Reveal app or by manually logging their levels. Fitbit will be adding other glucose meters and apps in the future, it said in the announcement.

‘There are just no mistakes happening’: Hawk-Eye Live gains more support at Australian Open

ESPN Tennis, Jake Michaels from

From warming up with your opponent before a match to the mandatory all-white Wimbledon outfits and strawberries and cream at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, tennis purists are proud of the sport’s rich history of tradition, and have always grappled with the idea of having it altered too much.

But recent technological advancements have changed sports. Plays can now be reviewed to the nth degree and challenge just about any call by an umpire or referee. It has allowed for greater accuracy with decision-making while removing those controversial “bad calls,” which can haunt players, teams and fans for decades.

NHL, Amazon’s AWS Announce Data Deal

Sportico, Jacob Feldman from

Amazon Web Services and the NHL announced a deal Wednesday that will give the league access to AWS’ cloud hosting and data analysis tools.

“AWS’ state-of-the-art technology and services will provide us with capabilities to deliver analytics and insights that highlight the speed and skill of our game to drive deeper fan engagement,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “We intend to … provide advanced analysis to our teams, officials, and media partners faster than ever before.”

AWS powers the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, such as completion probability and top speed, thanks to a partnership dating back to 2017; the company has similar roles with leagues around the world. The NFL is even looking at using AWS’ computer vision technology to predict and prevent injuries.

Signs of burnout can be detected in sweat

EPFL, News from

EPFL engineers, working in association with startup Xsensio, have developed a wearable sensing chip that can measure the concentration of cortisol – the stress hormone – in human sweat. Enabling future quasi-continuous monitoring, their device can eventually help doctors better understand and treat stress-related conditions like burnout and obesity.

Army looking at ways to ‘account for biological differences’ with new fitness test

Army Times, Kyle Rempfer from

Army officials are evaluating a version of the stalled Army Combat Fitness Test that would account for biological differences between men and women, according to Training and Doctrine Command.

The ACFT officially became the Army’s test of record in October, but Congress mandated a pause on further implementation pending an independent study to determine how it will impact deployed soldiers, recruiting and retention.

Changing elements of the test might also satisfy lawmakers who worried late last year about the disproportionately high failure rates among women. One proposal is that the ACFT could score soldiers on a servicewide percentile, separated by gender, Task and Purpose first reported Thursday.

TRADOC spokeswoman Lt. Col. Margaret Kageleiry said that so far the ACFT is remaining gender-neutral, but the Army “is looking at means to apply those scores based on gender to account for biological differences.”

Injury Profile in Women’s Football: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – PubMed

Sports Medicine journal from

Background: Football is the most popular sport among women; however, little is known about the injury profile in this population. This information would help design tailored injury risk mitigation strategies that may make football safer for women.

Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological data of injuries in women´s football.

Methods: A systematic review following PRISMA guidelines was performed up to January 2020 in PubMed, Web of Science, Sportdiscus and the Cochrane Library databases. Twenty-two studies reporting the incidence of injuries in women football were analysed. Two reviewers independently extracted data (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] for inter-reviewer reliability = 0.87) and assessed study quality using the STROBE statement, GRADE approach, Newcastle Ottawa Scale and Downs and Black assessment tools. Studies were combined in pooled analyses (injury incidence and injury proportion) using a Poisson random effects regression model.

Results: The overall incidence of injuries in female football players was 6.1 injuries/1000 h of exposure. Match injury incidence (19.2 injuries/1000 h of exposure) was almost six times higher than training injury incidence rate (3.5 injuries/1000 h of exposure). Lower extremity injuries had the highest incidence rates (4.8 injuries/1000 h of exposure). The most common types of injuries were muscle/tendon (1.8 injuries/1000 h of exposure) and joint (non-bone) and ligament (1.5 injuries/1000 h of exposure), which were frequently associated with traumatic incidents. Slight/minimal injuries (1-3 days of time loss) were the most common. The incidence rate of injuries during matches in the top five world ranking leagues was higher than the rest of the leagues (19.3 vs 10.7 injuries/1000 h of exposure, respectively). The weighted injury proportion was 1.1 (95% confidence interval = 0.6-1.7) whereby on average players sustained more than one injury per season.

Conclusions: Female football players are exposed to a substantial risk of sustaining injuries, especially during matches that require the highest level of performance. To markedly reduce overall injury burden, efforts should focus on introducing and evaluating preventative measures that target match specific dynamics to make football players more capable of responding to the challenges that they have to deal with during match play.

AI can help you eat good food that also fights obesity and diabetes

World Economic Forum, Formative Content, Johnny Wood from

Low-fat. High-fibre. Calorie-loaded. Sugar-free. Maintaining a healthy diet that’s right for your individual body and lifestyle isn’t easy – unless you add some AI into the recipe.

A machine-learning algorithm that monitors food preferences and makes nutritious recipe suggestions tailored to each individual’s needs has been devised by scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and IBM Research, both in New York. The programme notes personal likes and dislikes, allergies and other factors to guide healthy eating.

The system’s name is rather a mouthful – pFoodReQ – but it could help inform daily food choices and provide eating prompts for diabetics, people with heart conditions or those pursuing a healthier diet.

OU athletics: Sooners promote Rachel Suba to director of sports nutrition

University of Oklahoma, from

Suba has served as the interim director of sports nutrition since February 2020, replacing Tiffany Byrd, who announced her departure from the program on Feb. 19 of last year. Previously, Suba was a sports nutrition graduate assistant at OU from January 2016-July 2017 and then assistant director of sports nutrition from August 2017 until taking the interim head position.

What is Data Culture and Why Do You Want One?

Alation, Aaron Kalb from

Data culture is top of mind for nearly every data leader. According to a recent Gartner survey, data culture was the #1 priority for chief data officers (CDOs). McKinsey, the management consulting firm known for its deep knowledge of the C-suite, is writing about data culture and why it matters. According to a recent survey by Alation, 78% of organizations have a strategic initiative to become more data-driven, and Alation customers routinely report that fostering a data culture is their core objective.

Since everyone seems to want a data culture, we decided to write a multi-part blog series defining data culture, reviewing its benefits, and explaining how your organization can go about getting one.

Whitecaps FC welcomes Nikos Overheul as director of recruitment

Vancouver Whitecaps from

Vancouver Whitecaps FC confirmed on Friday that Nikos Overheul, who first joined the club as a consultant last October, will become the director of recruitment overseeing a revamped department.

“We have a lot of talented people working on our scouting and recruitment,” said Overheul. “I’m excited for this opportunity and look forward to working with Axel Schuster, Marc Dos Santos and everyone at the club as we continue to grow both on and off the pitch.”

Overheul arrives in Vancouver having most recently worked at StatsBomb as the head of technical scouting for the leading football analytics company. A native of the Netherlands, Overheul previously spent time as a team analyst and first team scout with English Championship side Brentford FC and Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland before working as a consultant for clubs all over the world.

MLB unveils new 120-team minor league structure

Sports Pro Media, Sam Carp from

Baseball league completes historic overhaul as more than 40 clubs lose major league affiliations.

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