Sports Science

By Chris Gorski, Inside Science -- Hard-shelled football helmets first emerged nearly 80 years ago to protect against catastrophic head injuries like skull fractures and brain hemorrhages, and they have evolved over the decades to offer better protection. Recently, public attention has increasingly focused on other consequences of hits to the head, including concussions and long-term degenerative diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Traumatic brain injuries in baseball and softball are down, but they were not really all that high to begin with, and that may be why there is poor compliance overall with helmet use and return-to-play guidelines following concerns about a concussion.

Exercise of all kinds is known to be beneficial to bone health but there is reluctance to use high intensity programs in older women with low bone mass because of concerns about increased risk of fracture or other injury. 

Yet high intensity doesn't need to be prolonged, according to a new study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research which found that even 30 minutes twice a week of high intensity resistance and impact training improved functional performance and bone density, structure, and strength in postmenopausal women with low bone mass (T-score < –1.0), without adverse effects.
Use of performance enhancing drugs is a major problem in many competitive sports and the 2017 prohibited list includes over 300 substances. However, the scientific evidence around these substances is scarce, partly because it is impossible to do trials with professional cyclists who are subject to anti-doping regulation.

Meanwhile, media attention given to performance enhancing drugs may encourage amateurs to try them. But it is unlikely to help, according to a new paper published in The Lancet Haematology journal.
To the outside world, muscles look like they contract or do work but at the very small scale it is
myosin molecules pulling actin filaments and myosin and actin are essentially nanomachines that convert the chemical energy of ATP hydrolysis - how cells in our muscles create energy - into mechanical work.

New electron cryomicroscopy images reveal unexpectedly large conformational changes in the myosin molecule during the pull and that may show how myosin generates force and create a paradigm for the construction of true nanomachines.

The number of Australians who run for exercise has doubled since the mid-2000s. Preventing and managing injuries are common concerns, and can present an ongoing health burden and high cost if not addressed appropriately.

But what if listening to the sound of running could help prevent injuries?

We recently conducted the first study to relate running technique with the sound of feet hitting the ground. Listening could prove a simple and effective feedback mechanism for runners, coaches and clinicians to understand how runners land their feet and the potential for certain injuries.

A study led by Loyola Medicine researchers found that female triathletes are at higher risk for pelvic floor disorders, among other health issues.

The study, published in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, found that female triathletes suffered from a high rate of stress urinary and anal incontinence.

"We expected the high rates of urinary incontinence, but did not expect to find such high rates of anal incontinence," said senior author, Colleen Fitzgerald, MD, MS. Dr. Fitzgerald is the medical director of the Chronic Pelvic Pain program and an associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

A first-of-its-kind survey has confirmed what some water polo players - especially goalies - have long suspected: Concussions seem to be prevalent in the sport. At least in surveys.

More than a third of water polo participants reported sustaining a concussion either during games or in practice, according to a poll conducted by University of California, Irvine.

While women's tennis is arguably far more interesting than the men's game, there are some who want to make it more like the male version, or at least more competitive between women.

In a Journal of Sports Economics paper, the authors examined the differences between men's and women's tournament scores from the 24 top men's and 23 top women's singles tournaments of the 2010 season. They evaluated the "tightness," or competitiveness of a match according to how close the set scores were. Men's sets were consistently closer (6-4, 7-5), while women's sets tended to be more lopsided, with scores of 6-2, 6-1.

Most people who enjoy running or cycling know that if you drink a sports drink you can perform for longer. But for people taking part in sports such as football or tennis, where skill and accuracy are important, it’s unclear whether sports drinks can improve performance.