Applied Sports Science newsletter – July 20, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for July 20, 2021


With Walsh Jennings out, new generation hits the beach

Associated Press, Jimmy Golen from

… [Kelly] Claes, 25, and [Sarah] Sponcil, 24, are the youngest U.S. beach volleyball team ever to qualify for the Olympics and the first NCAA beach volleyball products to reach the Summer Games. (Tina Graudina, who will compete for Latvia in Tokyo, also played at USC.)

Claes resisted the title of “Giant Killer” that has been bestowed on her and Sponcil. “The passing of the baton, or however you want to say that, feels more right.”

“It’s Kerri. She’s an amazing athlete,” Claes said. “I looked up to her and Misty so much. They’ve done so many things for the sport, really paved the way and inspired so many people, me included.

One of the great writers of our sport telling the story of one of its most compelling characters. @Cathal_Dennehy writing on @scullion262 .

Twitter, Geoff Burns from

This is one of the best pieces of sports journalism you’ll read in a long while.

Women’s soccer in Minnesota gets grassroots boost

MPR News (MN), Laurel Poole from

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup generated record-viewership within the U.S., and this summer’s Tokyo Olympics soccer contests promise another huge audience. Minnesota hopes to heighten the excitement in the state, with a new women’s “pre-professional” soccer team.

The United Soccer League formed the women’s league aiming to begin play in May 2022. A month ago, Minnesota’s team was approved to join as a founding member.

Leader of the franchise, Andrea Yoch, sees the team as a training ground to help showcase the Midwest as a soccer hub. Yoch believes the league will be a good place for Minnesota’s up-and-coming women players.

Can Proprioception Be Improved?

Lower Extremity Review Magazine, Janice T. Radak from

… Although there is no definitive definition of proprioceptive training, a systematic review by Joshua Aman et al from the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota proposed the following:2

Proprioceptive training is an intervention that targets the improvement of proprioceptive function. It focuses on the use of somatosensory signals such as proprioceptive or tactile afferents in the absence of information from other modalities such as vision. Its ultimate goal is to improve or restore sensorimotor function.

In the review, Aman et al looked at 51 studies that used 5 training approaches: active movement/balance training, passive movement training, somatosensory stimulation training, somatosensory discrimination training, and combined/multiple system training. Study participants had an array of conditions and some of the included studies were for injury prevention in healthy individuals.

Overall, proprioceptive training resulted in an average improvement of 52% across all outcome measures. Applying muscle vibration above 30Hz for longer durations (i.e., min vs. s) induced outcome improvements of up to 60%. Joint position and target reaching training consistently enhanced joint position sense (up to 109%) showing an average improvement of 48%.

Post-match Recovery Practices in Professional Football: Design, Validity, and Reliability of a New Questionnaire

Frontiers in Sports & Active Living journal from

Introduction: Although several approaches have been proposed to mitigate post-match fatigue, few studies have been conducted in team sports to understand the types of recovery methods and the underlying reasons for the choices of medical and technical staff. This study aimed to develop a valid and reliable online questionnaire to assess the recovery practices implemented by football clubs within 72 h post-match.

Methods: Two research members developed the original questionnaire proposal, and two experts in sports science and sports medicine confirmed the content and face validities. Then, 20 football coaches (age: 39.4 ± 6.8 years) with a minimum of 5 years of experience in professional football (9.1 ± 4.9 years) and with an academic background participated in determining the ecological validity and reliability of the questionnaire. The acceptability and relevance of the questionnaire were determined using descriptive statistics.

Results: After confirming the content and face validities, one questionnaire section with two questions was excluded due to lack of relevance, seven open-ended questions were removed due to the adherence of small participants (i.e., 45.4%), and one section was divided into three to facilitate clearness in reading. The remaining sections were considered acceptable and relevant (>94.1%). About 91.8% of nominal and ordinal items derived from the questionnaire questions showed good to very good reliability outcomes (average k classification: 0.73 ± 0.13; min–max: 0.22–1.00, p < 0.05; average wk classification: 0.82 ± 0.15; min–max: 0.22–1.00, p < 0.05). Conclusions: This study provided a novel, valid, reliable, and easy-to-use tool to examine the post-match recovery practices in professional football contexts.

Travel Like an Athlete

Phizz, News from

For most of us, it’s been quite a long time since we’ve had the chance to travel. As you begin to plan your first new adventures, it’s more important than ever to also be conscious your health when you’re on the road (or in the air). Seeking some tips on wellbeing while in transit, we turned to Damian Roden, Senior Director of Sports Science at Minnesota United in the MLS.

Damian is one of the most experienced and well-respected performance coaches to emerge from the English Premier League and is an expert on keeping players fighting fit despite busy travel schedules and intensive training. His strategies for athlete recovery can also be applied to travel as disrupted sleep, meals and activity levels can wreak havoc on your health and vacation plans.

Just released! “Bridging The Gap — How to make a safe & effective transition into professional bb”

Twitter, Jaeger Sports from

But the essence of this article is for ALL players to make a smooth transition to their next landing spot via communication/collaboration re your routine!

Never tired: BYU women’s soccer team pushes through offseason conditioning

Daily Herald (Provo, UT), Darnell Dickson from

Which is the best conditioned athletic program on the BYU campus?

The Cougar women’s soccer team makes a strong case.

Coach Jennifer Rockwood estimates her players run 7 to 9 miles during a typical match. BYU is known for its high pressure defense, quick-strike offense and end-to-end style. The team works hard during the offseason with strength and conditioning coach Turreal Moore, culminating in a stunningly difficult fitness evaluation the players call, “Repeats.”

Jennings becomes Head of Football Development in Fulham restructure

Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin from

Fulham have announced a restructure of their Category One Academy, with Huw Jennings stepping down as Academy Director after 12 years to take on a new Head of Football Development role.

Mick Cave, the current Academy Manager, will replace Jennings as Academy Director, with Colin Omogbehin, who has led the Under-23s along with Mark Pembridge, taking on a new first-team development coach role.

Fulham were bottom of the Premier League for minutes for homegrown players last season. According to the CIES Football Observatory, just 1.2% of their minutes went to club-trained players – ie those who had been with the club for at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21.

Telehealth and privacy: Why medical apps struggle to keep user data safe

Vox, Recode, Sara Morrison from

“Smartphone users are simply not aware of the extent that they can be identified in a crowd,” [Sean] O’Brien said. “If a user of a leaky app becomes a patient and is prescribed medication, the sharing of that info could create rippling effects far into the future.”

Adding to the problem is the rise of telehealth during the pandemic, which also came with a few loosened privacy restrictions to enable health care providers to see patients remotely after abruptly being cut off from in-person visits. Getting people the health care they need is, of course, a good thing. But the sudden move to telehealth, medical apps, and other online health services for everything from therapy to vaccine registrations also made more apparent some of the shortcomings of health privacy laws when it comes to protecting patient data.

There are a lot of gray areas surrounding what those laws are supposed to cover. And in general, apps are built to constantly (and, often, furtively) exchange user data with several other parties and services, some of which use that data for their own purposes.

Olympics innovation from Ralph Lauren

Innovation in Textiles blog from

Ralph Lauren has unveiled Team USA’s parade uniform for the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23rd, and the Paralympic Games on July 24th. The brand is also introducing a new wearable self-regulating temperature cooling device called RL Cooling which is seamlessly integrated into the jacket to be worn by the team’s flag bearer during the ceremonies.

The RL Cooling system disperses heat from the wearer’s skin through a device that monitors and optimises temperature. The brand says it uses the same technology that is employed to cool the world’s most advanced computer systems and that the cooling sensation can be immediately felt and is long-lasting, even in the most oppressive heat.

This Device Could Tune Your Heart—Then Dissolve Away

WIRED, Science, Max G. Levy from

The heart—that paragon of natural rhythm—sometimes needs help to stay on beat. Permanent pacemakers, which supply jolts of muscle-contracting current to regulate each thump, can correct chronically irregular hearts, and temporary ones can resolve fleeting dysfunctions that follow open heart surgery. Doctors wire up the heart with electrical leads that pass through the skin, and the muscle tissue envelopes the intruding electrodes like quicksand.

But if the pacemaker is just a temporary precaution, it’s all got to come out. And that’s where it gets tricky.

Dislodging the wires might scar the heart permanently. And the surgery to pull them out could result in bleeding or infection. “Anytime we put sutured wires on the surface of the heart, there’s a risk,” says Rishi Arora, a cardiologist and researcher at Northwestern University.

Writing in June in Nature Biotechnology, Arora’s team debuted a “transient” pacemaker that gets the job done, then dissolves away.

UW School of Medicine and Public Health receives grant from NFL for hamstring study

WMTV (Madison, WI), Hailey Koller from

The NFL has awarded the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public health a $4 million grant to study prevention and treatment of hamstring injuries for elite football players.

The research is part of an NFL effort to better understand and prevent strains to lower extremities including soft tissues such as hamstrings.

“The persistent symptoms, slow healing, and high rate of re-injury make hamstring strains a frustrating and disabling injury for athletes and a challenge for sports medicine clinicians to treat,” said Bryan Heiderscheit, PhD, professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “To truly understand and reduce hamstring injury risk requires a study of an unprecedented size and scope, and we’re able to do that now thanks to support from the NFL.”

Why is marijuana prohibited in sports?

Canadian Running Magazine, Brittany Hambleton from

… Why is marijuana not allowed in sports?

Before we answer this question, there is one important distinction to make: athletes are not prohibited from using marijuana at all times. They can still use the drug if they so choose, it just cannot be during their competitive season. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the time it takes for marijuana and other cannabinoids to be completely eliminated from an athlete’s body depends on the specific cannabinoid they used, how much and how frequently they used it, their weight, overall metabolism, liver function, general health and whether or not they’re on any other medications. If an athlete uses it chronically, it could take weeks to months to fully clear from their system, which is why WADA suggests any athletes who wish to use the drug should talk with their doctor about their clearance time.

8 Micronutrients essential for metabolic health

Levels, Kaitlin Sullivan and Casey Means from

Micronutrients are like tools that help our cellular machinery function better. Here’s how they work, and how to ensure you’re getting enough

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