Female Sports Science newsletter – August 5, 2018

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 5, 2018



The Break – Female big-wave surfers prepare to compete on Mavericks’s 50-foot waves for the first time.

California Sunday magazine, Bonnie Tsui from

… I’m constantly doing maintenance — keeping the foundation I built in the gym happy. I train for eight weeks with a camp for elite athletes. We’ll run at high elevation at the top of Haleakalā — a mile down into the crater of the volcano and then back up, trying to keep an even pace. Running at 10,000 feet is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Your legs and lungs are wrecked. And we’ll do rock running with breath holds — an hour of running sprints 15 to 20 feet underwater while carrying a really heavy rock. Mine is probably 50, 60 pounds. You’re trying to hold your breath under strenuous conditions because that’s what happens when you’re surfing. It’s as close to being held down after a wipeout as you can get.


Tennis: Second-ranked Wozniacki stresses fitness ahead of US Open

Channel NewsAsia from

Hard work and peak fitness are the major concerns for world number two Caroline Wozniacki as she starts her first run to the US Open as a Grand Slam champion.

The 28-year-old Dane captured her first major title in January at the Australian Open, downing current world number one Simona Halep in the final, and the 2009 and 2014 US Open runner-up approaches the hardcourt campaign ahead of New York with new confidence.

“It feels great to have won my first Grand Slam. It was a great two weeks,” Wozniacki said Monday. “At this point, you have to keep on working hard and try to be in the best shape possible heading into the US Open. That’s all you can do.”


Megan Rapinoe Is Still Pulling All The Right Strings

Deadspin, Lauren Theisen from

… The fact that Rapinoe is continuing to create goal after goal at age 33, back from an ACL injury that severely limited her in the 2016 Olympics, is extremely good news for the USWNT. Improbably, Rapinoe might actually be playing her best soccer since 2012, and for a national team that has recently been light on technically gifted players and has at times shown a startling lack of offense, her resurgence less than a year before the World Cup is an answered prayer.

A healthy Rapinoe is still so good at the age when most athletes start declining, because her best moments typically aren’t all-out runs or mesmerizing dribbles. In fact, if you didn’t know better, you’d think she’s barely trying sometimes.


With An Olympic Berth On The Line, U.S. Women’s Softball Team Is Geared Up For Worlds

Team USA, Karen Price from

Every time the U.S. women’s softball team takes the field, the players do so with the intention of winning.

That desire only intensifies when it’s the world championships, and now that there’s an Olympic qualifying spot on the line this year’s tournament becomes even more important for the defending champs.

“Obviously the stakes are a little higher,” infielder Valerie Arioto said. “Our motto is to win gold every time, but this is important because it will qualify us for the Olympics. We don’t ignore that fact, but we do want to stay within our process.”


The Azmi Sisters Go Hard in Ball Hockey. Don’t Act So Surprised.

The New York Times, Curtis Rush from

The six Azmi sisters are a starting lineup unto themselves.

They could be seen as ball hockey’s answer to the Sutter family, which sent six brothers to the N.H.L. But these hijab-wearing Muslim players in the summer league of the Toronto Women’s Ball Hockey Association — Asiyah, 25; Nuha, 23; Husnah, 21; Sajidah, 18; Haleemah, 17; and Mubeenah, 14 — are much more than that.

Like Nazem Kadri, the first Muslim player to be drafted by the N.H.L.’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the sisters are forcing many sports fans to expand their view of who can go hard to the net.


The day Jackie Joyner-Kersee was called ‘the greatest athlete who ever lived’

The Undefeated, Rhiannon Walker from

… In order for Joyner-Kersee to defend her title in Barcelona, she needed to overcome several hurdles, including the event that had left her with a torn hamstring at December’s World Championships in Tokyo — the 200 meters.

To add to her anxiety, the 200 was the final event of the first day. She took first place in 23.12 seconds.

“My fear of the 200 started back in December,” she said. “I would flash back to it.”

Joyner-Kersee’s performance in the long jump gave her a 239-point lead over Belova.



Serum androgen levels are positively correlated with athletic performance and competition results in elite female athletes | British Journal of Sports Medicine

British Journal of Sports Medicine from

… Bermon and Garnier study

The main criticisms expressed about the data used and our statistical analysis were (1) our ‘concentration’ on free testosterone (fT) rather than total testosterone (T)3 (presumably because the T results were only presented in the Internet version of the paper), (2) the fact that 17.3% of the athletes were sampled at both World Championships (Daegu and Moscow),3 (3) the fact that no correlation analysis was performed other than comparison of fT or T tertiles,3 (4) the absence of statistical comparison between a group with high T levels and a group with normal T levels4 and (5) the lack of adjustment for multiple comparisons (suggesting that the significant differences observed in our study could have happened by chance).5

Taking this last criticism first, we note that we presented an exploratory study, without no attempt to claim confirmatory results. In fact, the exploratory evidence presented in the study is strong, and correction for multiplicity may be too conservative. But we agree that the results should be put into context. At the type 1 error level of 0.05, we could expect 1 of 20 hypotheses tested to be significant merely by chance, that is, p <0.05. In this study, we have observed significant correlations at the 0.05 level in five events, out of 21 events in total. Therefore, it is very unlikely that all these findings are caused by chance. Moreover, the five flagged events were showing similar findings in both fT and T, which indicates that the evidence and findings are robust. [full text]


Program designed to prevent ACL injuries

KSAT ABC 12 (Birmingham, AL), Ivanhoe Newswire from

… Trent Nessler, PT, MPT, DPT, National Director Sports Innovation, Select Medical, said, “When an athlete is fatigued, they are more likely to get injured.”

That’s why Nessler designed the ACL “Play It Safe” program. It takes several approaches, including pre- and post-exercise routines, resistance bands and a rubber stability trainer. It also forces you to train when you’re already tired.

Nate Bower, PT, DPT, SCS, Champion Sports Medicine shared, “They perform stability and dynamic control exercises, which just continue to stress the body in a fatigue state.”

An Australian Study confirmed that soccer players who trained in a fatigued state suffered fewer hamstring injuries than the players who were non-fatigued.

Nessler continued, “What we found is that if we trained them in that fatigued state, they actually carry that over better to their actual performance on the field.”



How Technology Is Helping Close the Gender Gap and Empower Women

SingularityHub, Raya Bidshahri from

Gender inequality is not an issue that only affects women. When half of the human population is denied their full potential, the world as a whole is at an enormous disadvantage. Despite an increase in awareness about issues affecting women, progress on this front continues to stall.

The Global Gender Gap Index measures differences between men and women in four key areas: health, education, economics, and politics. According to the World Economic Forum’s analysis of 144 countries, women around the world experience a gap in pay, and with the current rate of progress, the United Nations estimates it will take another 100 years to close the gap. This data is just a small snapshot of a much bigger picture that includes everything from sexual harassment to cultural stereotypes with regards to gender norms.

Yet there is an optimistic case to be made for the future of gender equality. Technology is providing us with tools to tackle gender inequality and empower women.


sports medicine

Female gymnasts use narcotic pain meds at a higher rate than other college athletes

NCAA, Champion Magazine, Kayci Woodley from

In gymnastics, every detail and line is highlighted. Those recovering from injury use flesh-colored athletic tape to be less distinguishable. Competing to achieve flawless execution — the Perfect 10 — is part of the environment of the sport. But that pursuit might come with a price: According to the recently released NCAA National Study on Substance Use Habits of College Student-Athletes, the proportion of women’s gymnasts who reported using narcotic pain medications — nearly 18 percent — is the highest among student-athletes in any sport.

Overall, the use of pain medication, both prescribed and nonprescribed, has decreased among student-athletes since the release of the last NCAA substance use study in 2014, but health care professionals still are examining how best to manage pain among college athletes. The NCAA Sport Science Institute will host the Summit on Pain Management in the Collegiate Athlete this July in Indianapolis. NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline hopes the summit leads to pain management recommendations for member schools.

In the meantime, gymnasts continue to have a unique relationship with pain.


Optimum Performance: Female soccer players have higher ACL risk

NOLA.com, Mackie Shilstone from

In 2016, the number of children 6 and older participating in soccer rose to about 11.93 million in the United States, according to Statista.com. The number of U.S. high school female soccer players between 2009-10 and 2016-17 jumped from 356,116 to 388,339.

Youthsoccer.com said, “Research indicates that females are indeed more susceptible to ACL injuries; studies report that females are 4-8 times more likely to tear this ligament. Many in the medical community have tried to determine the specific reasons why females suffer from this injury more than males.”

The ACL works in conjunction with other knee ligaments to prevent the tibia from moving too far forward in relation to the femur, while also controlling the amount the tibia rotates. ACL injury, both contact and noncontact, occurs during landing and cutting maneuvers or physical contact that abnormally bends and rotates the knee.

Current research points out that, although patients generally do well following ACL reconstruction, numerous studies demonstrate that only about 60 percent of athletes return to pre-injury levels and 44 percent return to a high level of competitive play.


Heading Soccer Balls Could Harm Women’s Brains

NPR, Shots blog, Sara Kiley Watson from

The first rule of soccer is pretty obvious: don’t use your hands. But soccer’s signature move, heading the ball, can cause a detectable impact on players’ brains. And according to a study published Tuesday in Radiology, female players are more sensitive to the impact than males.

The study authors found that female amateur soccer players who frequently head balls showed more white matter brain alterations than their male counterparts. The study included 49 women and 49 men, ages 18 to 50, and examined MRI imaging of players’ brains. Each female player was compared to a male player of a similar age and with other similar characteristics including frequency of heading exposure.



What happened to the 200-meter rule?

Tallahassee Democrat, David Yon from

Some recent track and field triumphs by women took me back to Amby Burfoot’s book “First Ladies of Running.” The book was an excellent reminder of the road blocks put in front of women, historically, when they tried to participate in distance running events. The recent performances on the professional track and field circuit show what can happen when those road blocks are removed.

The past two weeks confirmed again what a crazy thought it was that women should not be allowed to run more than 200 meters in competition as the record book for American distance running was rewritten.


For these underprivileged young women in France, rugby provides strength, resilience and empowerment

The Washington Post, Kenneth Dickerman and Camilo Leon-Quijano from

Camilo Leon-Quijano is a Colombian-born photographer based in Paris. He is also a PhD Fellow in Sociology and a lecturer at the Gender Studies department of the EHESS of Paris (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences). Leon-Quijano uses photography as a way to understand urban spaces. In Sight is sharing a project he did on the women rugby players in a suburb north of Paris. He told In Sight the following about the project:

In January 2017, I started following a group of rugby players from the Chantereine High School of Sarcelles, a stigmatized “banlieue” in the north of Paris. Banlieue is a French word to designate a suburb. The banlieues are often socially and politically dismissed by the state. Sarcelles is one of the most impoverished and stigmatized cities in the country, and a significant part of its population has an immigrant background.

Last year the Chantereine club was one of the best newcomer teams of the country. This was in part due to a collective effort between a young group of women rugby players and their coach, Florian Clement. In 2015, Clement started a project called “20 Rugby Women Sarcelloises.” The main objective of this project was to use rugby as a way to limit school dropouts and to promote citizenship values.


NCAA women most likely to report competing in multiple sports throughout high school: Lacrosse (47%) and field hockey (42%). Least likely: Gymnastics (3%), swimming/diving (9%), tennis (12%), soccer (16%)

Twitter, NCAA Research from



Today @ausport hosted the #AIS High Performance Women Coaches Forum, working towards shifting the number and profile of women coaches in the Australian system. #WomenInSport

Twitter, Sport Australia from


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