Sports Science

If you want to be sure you, or your child, is optimizing the chances for safety while playing hockey, one helmet stands alone.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech bought 32 helmets and tested each helmet in four directions at three energy levels twice -- a total 48 tests per model. The entire evaluation process included more than 2,000 impact tests done both on an ice rink and inside a laboratory at the Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.

It's not always about burning calories after the fact, sometimes it is better for overall health to plan before that high fat meal.

With the season newly underway, Formula 1’s struggles are already clear to see. The exorbitant costs of competing, combined with uneven profits is especially hurting the chances of survival for smaller teams. In fact, with only ten teams on the grid – down from 20 in 1989 – 2015 risks being remembered as one of the least contented F1 championships of history.

Ulnar collateral ligament (UCLR) reconstruction surgery, called "Tommy John Surgery" after the New York Yankees pitcher who made it famous in 1974, is now a common procedure for Major League Baseball pitchers after they get a damaged or torn ulnar collateral ligament.

It has been a boon for athletes. It had once been a career-ending injury but John pitched for 14 more years and racked up 164 more victories. But it has limits, according to a new study, namely in athletes who have it twice.


By Chris Gorski Inside Science Currents Blog -- It's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament time and fans have lots of questions. Will Kentucky win it all and finish the season undefeated? Will one of the "First Four" – the teams that begin tournament play on Tuesday night – become a Cinderella story during this year's March Madness games? What's the best selection method for a pool-winning bracket?


An Australian study found certain elite athletes were more at risk of taking drugs than others. Credit: Lee Morley, CC BY-NC-ND

There’s a widespread public perception that substance use is rife among Australian athletes. Whenever I tell people I research substance use among athletes, the most common response is: “They’re all on it.”

Amateur athletes are competitive and they are always looking for an advantage even if it isn't their careers, so it is no surprise that supplement stores are filled with promises of gains.

Nitrate supplements, claiming to  improve the efficiency at which muscles use oxygen, have been popular for years, but do they work? 

A new study says they may increase performance--they decrease the viscosity of blood, aiding in blood flow, while at the same time ensuring that tissue oxygen requirements are not compromised. 
Like sports, want to play into old age without the injury risk? Walking football - or basketball, or lots of other things - might be the answer.

Football - soccer in the United States - is running and kicking. If you change the running to walking, the skill is the same but the injury risk is reduced. Although coaches have long forced players to walk, the same way guitar teachers force players to play a fast piece slowly, as a popular movement Walking Football began in 2011, as a way  to help keep older players involved in football for longer. Players can walk, they can even walk fast, just not run. 

The health benefits of walking are well-established and Walking Football just makes it more fun. 

There's science going on here, no test tubes or lab coats necessary. USA Today Sports / Reuters

By Chad Orzel, Associate Professor of Physics at Union College.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gets called a lot of things. He calls himself the greatest cornerback in the NFL (and Seattle fans tend to agree). Sportswriters and some other players call him a loudmouth and a showboater. Fans of other teams call him a lot of things that shouldn’t see print (even on the Internet). One thing you’re not likely to hear anyone on ESPN call Sherman, though, is “scientist.”


The Patriots ran away with the AFC Championship. What did deflated footballs have to do with it? USA Today Sports / Reuters

By Chad Orzel, Union College