Female Sports Science newsletter – June 24, 2018

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for June 24, 2018



Sophie Ingle: Captain determined to guide Wales to first World Cup

BBC Sport from

It has been a heady few months for women’s football in Wales.

A 0-0 draw against England in April and two convincing wins against Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina place Jayne Ludlow’s team at the the top of their 2019 World Cup qualifying group and sets up a winner-takes-all showdown against Phil Neville’s side on Friday, 31 August.

Only a victory will guarantee Wales qualification for their first major tournament. The 2019 event will be hosted by France.

BBC Sport Wales’ Lauren Jenkins sits down with captain Sophie Ingle to dissect the campaign.


The Real-Life Diet of Sue Bird, Basketball Legend

GQ, Christopher Cason from

At this point, there isn’t much left to accomplish in the basketball career of Sue Bird. Yet here she is in her 16th WNBA season, still lacing up Nikes and pointedly ignoring questions about when she plans to call it quits. Instead, the 37-year-old point guard will tell you that she’s never been in better shape, and with the way she orchestrates the attack for her Seattle Storm each night, it’s hard to argue otherwise. We recently caught up with the league’s all-time assists leader to learn how her diet and preparation have allowed her to play at such a high level for 15 professional seasons—and counting.


Diana Taurasi and the Path to Longevity and Legacy

SI.com, WNBA, Dania Haughton from

… “I always say there’s a couple things that I look at when I’m playing basketball,” Taurasi said. “Do I enjoy going to the gym? Do I enjoy being in the locker room? When I get on the court do I still have that competitive fire to hate the person I’m playing against? All those three things—today I checked the box so I’m as hungry as ever.”

She is just as locked in as she was in 2004 when the Mercury took her first overall. Though her attitude toward the game remains the same, the 35-year-old approaches her offseason training with an increased level of seriousness after a series of injuries ended her EuroLeague season prematurely.


How three Iowans formed an all-black volleyball team and won a national title, all with the hope of inspiring young girls

USA TODAY High School Sports, Des Moines Register , John Naughton, from

… Eckerman found a way to promote her philosophy in grand fashion last month. She put together an all-star team comprised of African American women — including Iowans Kaz Brown and Monique Harris — and won the USA Volleyball Open National Championships.

It was the first time that a team of all black women won the title in the 89 times it’s been contested.


Kelsey Plum is Finally Getting her Chance

VICE Sports, Howard Megdal from

… “I really still don’t know who she is, but I thought that it was important for her to get the time,” Laimbeer said, sitting on the sideline prior to last Wednesday’s game. “Just to see what she can do. Especially with the starting unit. Now, [Aces backup point guard] Lindsay Allen did a great job for us. I told [Allen] that, but at the same time it’s still a situation [where] we have to build a team and understand who we have and what we are about our future, not so much [play for] this year. I don’t see a 1 percent chance of us winning the championship this year. So, I need to do player development and understand what we have going forward.”

What’s remarkable in Plum’s case is that such a chance wasn’t a given. There’s no real recent comparison in WNBA history for a top overall pick failing to get regular playing time, and no wonder: teams with the top overall pick are usually awful, with that pick serving as the brightest hope for the future.


FEATURE: Kim Decesare – “The R Word”

Women's Soccer Zone, Kim Decesare from

… I’d come to the Netherlands to revive my love for the game, get good minutes in and get better. By game six, I was out with the unluckiest injury I’ve ever had. Although I knew that there was hope for a full recovery before the season ended, my mind drifted elsewhere. I came to the conclusion that I can no longer stay healthy on the field long enough to get better, and I need to feel that I can get better in order for me to be happy playing.

This leads me to today. As I sit here in the airport, I finally have the chance to catch my breath and collect my thoughts. The past three days have been a whirlwind of emotions that capped off an eventful season abroad and 20 years of playing. I knew what to expect but couldn’t emotionally prepare for it. My last game as a professional was a loss and I didn’t even sniff the grass.

I had completed five and a half months of rehab, pushing not only my body but also the opinions of my medical staff and coaches to the limit. At first, mostly everyone said I likely wouldn’t be healthy this season, but then month-by-month their opinions changed. I came back, played in the three games leading up to what I thought would be my “last” game and then was hit with pure devastation. The game was over, we lost and I didn’t get the opportunity to contribute on the field. It felt as if every hardship that I had encountered throughout the past ten years, had hit me like a ton of bricks.

From the 80th minute on, I was in tears on the bench.



USC track coach Caryl Smith Gilbert talks about the Trojans future, including her desire to be the first woman to win a men’s national championship

247 Sports, USC Football, Shotgun Spratling from

… Smith Gilbert will be tasked with replacing some vital pieces to next year’s men’s and women’s rosters. Norman already has turned pro. Benjamin could do the same. The men’s team also loses an elite high jumper in Randall Cunningham II. The women’s team loses championship closer Kendall Ellis and her 4×400 relaymate Deanna Hill. Long jumper Madisen Richards, who had the women’s only point heading into the final day of the NCAA championships, graduates as well.

Smith Gilbert talked to USCfootball.com about the USC program going forward and her recruiting philosophy, including her approach to international recruits, in the second part of our Q&A.


Study: Fathers strongly influence daughters’ activity levels

Active for Life, Coach Jim from

… A new study from the University of Newcastle in Australia demonstrates that my experience with my daughters isn’t a fluke. It shows that active fathers are very influential in boosting girls’ physical activity.

The study, published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, brought together 115 fathers aged 29 to 53 years and 153 daughters aged 4 to 12 years, and put half of them through a nine-month program called “Dads and Daughters Exercising and Empowered” (DADEE). The program included weekly activities and educational sessions attended by both fathers and daughters in rough and tumble play, fitness and physical activity, sports skills, challenge and adventure, and discussion of the challenges surrounding gender prejudice and female role models in physical activity.


Highlights from Sports Medicine Australia’s Women In Sport Event 2018

BMJ Blogs: BJSM blog, Charlie Bradshaw from

Those lucky enough to attend Sports Medicine Australia’s Women in Sport (WIS) event experienced a day jam-packed with learning, healthy debates and fun. Experts presented on hot topics impacting female athletes including Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome (RED-S), hypermobility, eating disorders and exercise during different stages of the female life cycle. We also heard from an all-female panel discussed their experiences in both sport and healthcare. Here are my take-aways from the day:


After High School, Young Women’s Exercise Rates Plunge

NPR, Shots blog, Sara Kiley Watson from

Young women, especially young women of color, tend to get less exercise than their male counterparts, and the disparities worsen after high school ends.

This is the finding of a study published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

As teens, 88 percent of boys report being physically active, compared to 78 percent of girls. Once the high school days of soccer games, track practices and physical education classes have ended, around 73 percent of young men stay active, but only 62 percent of women do.

For women of color, this drop in exercise is even more stark. Close to 70 percent of black women say they are physically active in their teens, but only around 45 percent are active when they reach their 20s.


Former England women’s hockey fitness coach leads Gareth Southgate’s troops

The Hockey Paper (UK) from

The man who gave Great Britain’s women team the physique to send them to Olympic gold will see the fruits of his labour with England’s football team tested at the Fifa World Cup in Russia.

Doctor Ben Rosenblatt was a strength and conditioning coach at the English Institute of Sport, with his lead role combined with initiating the training programme at Bisham Abbey for the women’s hockey team.

During the 2016 Olympic campaign he was a man in demand after being recruited by the Football Association as lead physical performance coach for the men’s team under coach Gareth Southgate.


Former England captain Casey Stoney appointed Manchester United head coach

The Telegraph (UK), Luke Edwards from

Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of former England captain Casey Stoney as the first head coach of their newly-formed women’s team.


sports medicine

ACL rehabilitation: When should athletes start running?! – Football Medicine

Football Medicine from

Running is an activity present in most of the sports we know (Tongen & Wunderlich, 1994). Every healthy person experienced running in life (Dugan & Bhat, 2005), even the most sedentary, meaning that people are extremely familiar with that activity – under the scope of the user – which leads to certain assumptions about it. Although complex, people tend to attain a feeling of understanding about its indications, contra-indications, as well, as benefits. This phenomenon is well present in nutrition as well – every person eats, so everybody has a feeling of understanding about nutrition – ultimately leading to dogmas.

Running foundations underpin several sports skills as acceleration or sprinting mechanics that highly impact performance, being also an activity that has evidence to be beneficial to weight management or cardiovascular and fitness improvements (Barnes & Kilding, 2014). Therefore, considering the injured player under rehabilitation, the start of running activities seems to be a psychological barrier, after which the return-to-training seems closer.

Considering the mentioned benefits, often people involved in sports assume the start of running as a way to improve athletes’ fitness levels and even to help achieving rehabilitation outcomes in a fastest way, which take us to a relevant question when considering the athlete in rehabilitation process: Should we use running to physically prepare the athlete or should we be more concerned in physically preparing the athlete to run?


Improving Outcomes for Serious Knee Injuries

University of Connecticut, UConn Today from

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are one of the most common knee injuries in the United States, affecting more than a quarter of a million people annually, many of them athletes.

Despite reconstructive surgery and months of rehabilitation, many individuals who rupture their ACL never fully regain the strength and flexibility they enjoyed prior to injury.

Those outcomes might improve, a new UConn study says, if clinicians take into account a patient’s emotional response to their injury, as well as their levels of pain and physical strength, as part of the rehabilitation process.

“Rehabilitation for ACL injuries has traditionally focused on improving muscle strength and getting people to come back stronger,” says Adam Lepley, the study’s principal investigator and an assistant professor-in-residence with UConn’s Department of Kinesiology. “Only, we’re starting to figure out that the strengthening exercises we’re doing now are not entirely effective.”



The Best Supplements For Female Runners

Women's Running, Bethany Mavis from

In a world where doping is all too prevalent in the sports industry, the term “supplements” can have negative connotations. But there are plenty of supplements that can (legally) aid a runner’s performance. “Runners should use supplements wisely for any number of reasons, including boosting performance, aiding recovery, supporting joint health and staying healthy,” says Chris Newport, R.D.N., a certified sports nutritionist and triathlete. “High-quality supplements in the proper amounts can improve a runner’s performance and support their health and longevity as an athlete.”

Key supplements that can help women runners specifically, Newport says, are things such as caffeine, fish oil, tart cherry juice, citrulline and leucine (amino acids), probiotics and more, depending on your specific needs as an athlete. Omega-3 supplements are praised for their anti-inflammatory properties as well as their ability to improve blood vessel function, and glucosamine is widely used to support joint health. And vitamin C and immunity-boosting supplements are important for keeping your health on track.



The History of the United States According to the Women’s Steeplechase

LØPE MAGAZINE, Liam Boylan-Pett from

Less than thirty years ago, the steeplechase was a men’s-only event. But after years of false starts, ever-changing barriers, and water pits that simply were not there, American women have staked claim to the event. Today, Emma Coburn is a world champion and the steeple is gaining steam and popularity.


The WNBA is making more 3-pointers than ever

Medium, Her Hoop Stats, Melissa Hooke from

The WNBA is on pace to break the record for three-pointers made this season. The prior record of 6.24 makes per WNBA game was set in 2012. So far in 2018, teams are averaging 6.38 threes per game. How are they doing it?


Here are nine changes that would be good for women’s sports

The Boston Globe, Shira Springer from

Each year, when the anniversary of Title IX rolls around, tributes to the law’s passage typically fall into two categories. 1: Celebrate all the progress made by women’s sports. 2: Push forward for more change.

We’re going with No. 2 because there’s a lot of work left to do. So much work it’s hard to know where to start. But here’s a list of nine changes it’d be good to see in women’s sports, changes that primarily focus on smaller issues than pay equity or scarce coverage. Sometimes they’re changes in attitude, sometimes in approach, sometimes in status quo. But all are suggested in Title IX’s spirit of promoting more equality and more opportunities for female athletes.


Almost a third into the WNBA season, a check in on a few trends:Pace continues to quicken, although offensive efficiency has dipped.

Twitter, Mike Beuoy from



COC statement regarding government measures to eliminate harassment, abuse and discrimination in sport

Canadian Olympic Committee from

The Canadian Olympic Committee has issued the following statement in reaction to Minister Duncan’s announcement to implement stronger measures to eliminate harassment, abuse and discrimination in the Canadian sport system:

“The Canadian Olympic Committee fully supports and commends today’s announcement by Minister Duncan and the federal government. They are playing a leadership role in ensuring athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and everyone in Canadian sport can participate in a safe environment. The COC will continue to collaborate with Minister Duncan, the National Sports Federations (NSFs) and other stakeholders in Canadian sport to not only protect our athletes, but to help create an environment free from harassment, abuse or discrimination of any kind.”


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