Female Sports Science newsletter – August 26, 2018

Female Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for August 26, 2018



Simona Halep’s Match Points

Jeff Sackmann, Heavy Topspin blog from

In the second-set tiebreak of Sunday’s Cincinnati final, Simona Halep reached match point against Kiki Bertens. She failed to convert, then Bertens claimed the tiebreak, and the third set–and the championship–went the way of the Dutchwoman. It was a bit of painful deja vu for Halep fans, who watched the top-ranked player reach match point against Su Wei Hsieh at Wimbledon only to miss her chance and crash out in the third round.

Halep has a reputation as a bit of a weak closer–not just match points, but set points and, more generally, service games with the set or match on the line. Her overall ability to finish matches is beyond the scope of a single post, but we can start by biting off the smaller chunk of, specifically, her performance on match points, and how that compares to the rest of the WTA.

Let’s start with the basics. For everyone, reaching match point is (obviously!) a really good sign that she’ll go on to win the match.


J.J. Watt and Kealia Ohai: Couple’s Rehab and Recovery

SI.com, NFL, Jenny Vrentas from

Watt believes he’s going to come back from his second straight season-ending injury as the same player he always was. He can thank his soccer-star girlfriend, who knew exactly what he was experiencing—after all, she was going through the same thing


Simone Biles 2.0: She’s Back And Is Now The First Woman To Win 5 U.S. All-Around Titles

Team USA, Brandon Penny from

… “It’s incredible, and to actually look a little bit better than she did two years ago is just remarkable,” said Tom Forster, who earlier this year was named high-performance team coordinator. “You can’t be that lucky, so that is just hard work and training and dedication and determination.”

After committing to a return to training last fall, Biles trained for nine months leading up to the GK U.S. Classic in July, when she also beat out Hurd and McCusker. Her performances in Ohio last month, despite a fall on uneven bars and going out of bounds on floor exercise, were an indicator that she was better than the Biles who won three world all-around titles and nine world event medals leading up to Rio.


Dara Torres Writes About Memories From Beijing And Her Journey Since Becoming Oldest Olympic Swimming Medalist

Team USA, Dara Torres from

When I arrived in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games, I was overwhelmed with emotions. On the one hand, I was super excited that I was getting to compete again and at 41 was still holding my own with the greatest swimmers in the world. On the other hand, this is the Olympic Games! I was just as nervous for these competitions as I was the first time I stepped onto the Olympic starting blocks at 17. I couldn’t believe I was back 24 years later, but I was determined to prove that I still belonged on that stage.


The Journey: Lindsey Horan – U.S. Soccer

U.S. Soccer from

… In this episode of The Journey, Sponsored by Motrin, Portland, Oregon is the backdrop as we visit U.S. WNT midfielder Lindsey Horan, who at 18-years-old made one of the most difficult decisions of her life by turning professional and moving across the world to play for Paris Saint-Germain in France. Six years later, Horan reflects on the significance of the move, the payoff of that decision, and her perfect fit in Portland with the Thorns. She also looks to the future and a career that has many chapters left to be written.


The Curious Case of Diana Taurasi: Inside Diana’s Resurgence

WNBA from

We all know the standard professional basketball career arc. After entering the league as a rookie, the player will steadily improve as his or her game develops and adapt to the new level of competition; the player will reach his or her prime as physical abilities and mental acumen for the game reach their peak, before a steady decline begins as the player ages, loses some of their physical tools, deals with injuries and eventually retires.

When I say “we” all know about that career arc, that “we” does not include Diana Taurasi, who is defying the standard career trajectory in her 14th WNBA season at the age of 36.



Don’t tell me to smile at the gym

The Washington Post, Leah Prinzivalli from

I recently spent an hour attempting Warrior 1 on a floating yoga mat in front of a Mexican resort’s worth of pool loungers as part of an “aqua-fit” workout. The instructor didn’t remind me to protect my knee or to engage my core. Instead, she wanted me to smile.

We’re living in a world with T-shirts and buttons and mugs that warn, “Don’t tell me to smile.” Street harassment has long been documented and denounced. If catcalled, some women yell back. But off the streets and in the gym, fitness instructors seem uncomfortable with a woman who isn’t visibly joyful.


Mentor relationships can help female athletes deal with discrimination, bullying

University of Kansas, KU Today from

When female athletes have strong mentors, the relationship helps them combat issues of sexism and helps them navigate problematic behaviors, according to a study by two University of Kansas researchers.

“Mentorship and the feeling of mattering is really important to female athletes in dealing with issues of discrimination or bullying that can impede women’s full participation in sports, such as playing on a mostly male team or confronting sexual harassment,” said Kathryn Vaggalis, the study’s co-author and a KU doctoral candidate in American studies.

Overall, when mentors instill self-esteem and the idea that the students’ lives matter to others, it can boost athletic ability, provide opportunities for leadership and leave a positive effect on women’s continued involvement in sports.


Why are elite female footballers barred from playing with men?

Wired UK, Victoria Turk from

… The PDL is far from alone in its conviction that men and women shouldn’t play football together. Labbé is not even the first female player to be barred from joining a men’s team – in 2004, Fifa stopped Mexican club Atlético Celaya from signing female player Maribel Dominguez, stating that “there must be a clear separation between men’s and women’s football”. In England, the FA allows girls and boys to play together up to age 18, but segregates by gender after that.

Physical performance

A common argument against men and women playing together is that they simply have different physical characteristics and abilities. Paul Bradley, a sports scientist at Liverpool John Moores University, has led several studies looking at female football players’ performance, including a 2013 paper that compared aspects of match performance between male and female players competing in the UEFA Champions League. Here, Bradley and his co-authors noted some common trends. Male players covered a slightly higher total distance than female players during games, Bradley explains, but the difference was small.



Inside Hologic’s evolving definition of women’s healthcare

Mass Device, Sarah Faulkner from

Hologic (NSDQ:HOLX), known in the medtech industry for its mammography and diagnostics devices, is rethinking what it means to be a women’s healthcare company.

The 6,000-person company wants to expand its reach to include products that care for women’s well-being, as well as their health – a concept that Dr. Edward Evantash honed when he led the Ob/Gyn division at Tufts Medical Center.

“The beauty of being an Ob/Gyn is that you really take care of women throughout the continuum of their lifecycle,” Evantash, Hologic’s medical director & VP of global medical affairs, told MassDevice.com. “You get the full breadth of medical care for women. That’s essentially Hologic.”


Female athlete product patent and trademark trends

Natural Products INSIDER, Andreas Baltatzis and Gideon Eckhouse from

The lack of patent activity and the increasing interest in products tailored to the female athlete may be a great opportunity for innovation.


Before Using Birth Control Apps, Consider Your Privacy

WIRED, Science, Megan Molteni from

… Women’s health apps are big business, you see. Users pay Natural Cycles a $10 monthly or $80 annual subscription fee, which includes an oral thermometer. But all that industrious tracking of periods, and sex, and basal body temperature—Natural Cycles takes one to three cycles to “get to know you”—is also valuable as a database. Even in its anonymized, aggregated form, pharmaceutical firms, the insurance industry, and marketing agencies are interested.

Natural Cycles’ privacy policy states that in using the app each user grants the company and any of its partners broad rights to “use, reproduce, distribute, modify, adapt, prepare derivative works of, publicly display, publicly perform, communicate to the public, and otherwise utilize and exploit a user’s anonymized information.”

It’s not that different from the privacy policies of other consumer apps, says Christine Bannan, consumer privacy counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Other popular cycle-tracking apps like Clue and Glow also reserve the right to share pooled, anonymized data with third parties.


sports medicine

Comparison of the ‘11+ Kids’ injury prevention programme and a regular warmup in children’s football (soccer): a cost effectiveness analysis | British Journal of Sports Medicine

British Journal of Sports Medicine from

Objective To evaluate a potential reduction in injury related healthcare costs when using the ‘11+ Kids’ injury prevention programme compared with a usual warmup in children’s football.

Methods This cost effectiveness analysis was based on data collected in a cluster randomised controlled trial over one season from football teams (under-9 to under-13 age groups) in Switzerland. The intervention group (INT) replaced their usual warmup with ‘11+ Kids’, while the control group (CON) warmed up as usual. Injuries, healthcare resource use and football exposure (in hours) were collected prospectively. We calculated the mean injury related costs in Swiss Francs (CHF) per 1000 hours of football. We calculated the cost effectiveness (the direct net healthcare costs divided by the net health effects of the ‘11+ Kids’ intervention) based on the actual data in our study (trial based) and for a countrywide implementation scenario (model based).

Results Costs per 1000 hours of exposure were CHF228.34 (95% CI 137.45, 335.77) in the INT group and CHF469.00 (95% CI 273.30, 691.11) in the CON group. The cost difference per 1000 hours of exposure was CHF−240.66 (95%CI −406.89, −74.32). A countrywide implementation would reduce healthcare costs in Switzerland by CHF1.48 million per year. 1002 players with a mean age of 10.9 (SD 1.2) years participated. During 76 373 hours of football, 99 injuries occurred.

Conclusion The ‘11+ Kids’ programme reduced the healthcare costs by 51% and was dominant (ie, the INT group had lower costs and a lower injury risk) compared with a usual warmup. This provides a compelling case for widespread implementation. [full text]


Cross-education improves quadriceps strength recovery after ACL reconstruction: a randomized controlled trial. – PubMed – NCBI

Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy journal from


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of concentric and eccentric cross-education (CE) on quadriceps strength and knee function recoveries after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.

Forty-eight patients (age: 29.5 ± 6.8 years, body mass index: 26.1 ± 3.2 kg/m2) who had undergone ACL reconstruction with hamstring tendon autograft were included in the study. The patients were randomly divided into three groups when they reached four weeks post surgery: (1) concentric CE (n = 16); (2) eccentric CE (n = 16); and (3) control (n = 16). All groups followed the same post-surgical rehabilitation program for their reconstructed limb. Additionally, the two experimental groups followed eight weeks of isokinetic training for the uninjured knee at 60°/s for 3 days per week. Quadriceps maximum voluntary isometric strength (MVIC) was measured during the 4th week (pre-training), 12th week (post training), and 24th week post surgery. The single-leg hop distance and International Knee Documentary Committee (IKDC) scores were also evaluated during the 24th week post surgery. Analysis of variance was used for statistical analysis.

Group-by-time interaction was significant for quadriceps MVICs for reconstructed and healthy limbs (p = 0.02). Quadriceps strength of both knees was greater in concentric and eccentric CE groups compared to control group during the 12th- and 24th weeks post surgery (p < 0.05). Strength gain was 28% and 31% in concentric and eccentric CE groups, respectively, when compared with the control group. Concentric and eccentric CE had similar effects on quadriceps strength recovery (n.s.). IKDC score, and single-leg hop distances were not significantly different among groups (n.s.). CONCLUSIONS:

Concentric and eccentric quadricep strengthening of healthy limbs in early phases of ACL rehabilitation improved post-surgical quadriceps strength recovery of the reconstructed limb. CE should be integrated into ACL reconstruction rehabilitation, especially in the early rehabilitative phases to restore quadriceps strength.


Overcoming Fear May Not Help Your Post ACL Walk (Sports Med Res)

Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field, Nicole Cattano from

Take Home Message: Kinesiophobia was unrelated to gait characteristics during a walk among physically active individuals with an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.



The WNBA is evolving right before our eyes

Fansided, The Step Back, Howard Megdal from

… It is an article of faith among all longtime observers of the WNBA that the league has never been better or more fun to watch, with wide-open offense and more players capable of doing it all. More than that, the league seems to be approaching a point when a team cannot compete for a title without at least one such player — either a guaranteed mismatch like Parker or Charles or, as more and more players like Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart enter the league, a way to avoid such a mismatch nearly every game. The change is so dramatic, and happened so fast, that it’s been paradoxically easy to miss. The unprecedented is everywhere now.


The Summer So Far, an NWSL Review

Howler Magazine, Kevin Koczwara from

This National Women’s Soccer League season has been filled with controversy and heartbreak, as well as some of the best play the league has seen. But the league has been without a commissioner since March 2, 2017; it saw one team fold before the start of the season, and one relocate; a U.S. National Team player refused to report to the team she was traded to; and a Cleveland Browns-type season (with the bonus of off-field issues coming to light) has plagued one of its longest-standing franchises. On the plus side, the league has seen the emergence of the next generation of American soccer stars, ready to take up the mantle and become the future faces of the USWNT when Carli Lloyd calls it quits, if that ever happens.

Let’s start with the good, which means examining the juggernaut that is the Courage. North Carolina has a remarkable 53 points through 22 games this season. With two games left, the team has already claimed the Supporters’ Shield—second-place Seattle Reign are 16 points behind the Courage with one game in hand still. North Carolina has lost once this season.


Researchers request greater awareness of gender-based violence in sport

Play the Game, Luca Arfini from

A global study commissioned by IWG reveals a problematic scenario regarding gender-based violence in sport. While researchers find it a pressing issue, 37% of the participant organisations have not taken action to protect women from that type of violence. Close to one third do not even consider it a problem.



Why a Distance Runner is Tuning into the WNBA Playoffs

Oiselle Running Apparel for Women, Hannah Calvert from

The truth is… basketball was my first love far before running. I grew up spending every weekend at tournaments, summers at basketball camps, and evenings in the backyard doing ball handling drills between cones. It taught me to be gritty, tough, and it taught me to foster passion. All of which has helped me succeed as a runner.

A few months back, scrolling through twitter, I kept seeing tweets about the WNBA pay gap debate. Tweets from professionals taking a stand and saying they deserve higher pay.


Skylar Diggins-Smith Wants to Be Paid Like a Man and Isn’t Afraid to Say It

Wealthsimple from

The Dallas Wings Point Guard is out to get herself and her fellow WNBA players compensated like their counterparts in the NBA.


female-specific health

Myths and Methodologies: Reducing scientific design ambiguity in studies comparing sexes and/or menstrual cycle phases

Experimental Physiology journal from

In recent years, the increase in scientific literature exploring sex differences has been beneficial to both clinicians and allied health science professionals, although female athletes are still significantly under‐represented in sport and exercise science research. Women have faced exclusion throughout history though the complexities of sociocultural marginalization and biomedical disinterest in women’s health. These complexities have contributed to challenges of studying women and examining sex differences. One underlying complexity to methodological design may be hormonal perturbations of the menstrual cycle. The biphasic responses of oestrogen and progesterone across the menstrual cycle significantly influence physiological responses, which contribute to exercise capacity and adaptation in women. Moreover, oral contraceptives add complexity through the introduction of varying concentrations of circulating exogenous oestrogen and progesterone, which may moderate physiological adaptations to exercise in a different manner to endogenous ovarian hormones. Thus, applied sport and exercise science research focusing on women remains limited, in part, by poor methodological design that does not define reproductive status. By highlighting specific differences between phases with regard to hormone perturbations and the systems that are affected, methodological inconsistencies can be reduced, thereby improving scientific design that will enable focused research on female athletes in sports science and evaluation of sex differences in responses to exercise. The aims of this review are to highlight the differences between endogenous and exogenous hormone profiles across a standard 28–32 day menstrual cycle, with the goal to improve methodological design for studies exploring sex differences, menstrual cycle phase differences and/or endogenous versus exogenous female sex hormones.


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