Sports Science


Phil Mickelson tees off at Gleneagles. Credit: EPA

By Tony Westbury, Edinburgh Napier University

Medinah Country Club, Chicago, Ryder Cup 2012. There were six short feet between Martin Kaymer and the 18th hole. This was the moment. No other player, no spectator, none of the many millions watching on television would have dared breathe. The seconds stretched as the German composed himself for his final shot.


Australian Football League. Credit: Deirdre/Flickr

By Steve Ellen, Monash University

It’s Grand Final season – it might seem that nothing else matters about now.

Writing about the psychology of football is like writing about the psychology of love. A fool’s business. Nothing (so far) has quite made sense of how 100,000 people turn up to shout and scream, cry and gasp, and pin their fortunes on a bunch of athletes running around crashing into each other at the limits of human endurance.

It’s just good honest fun. Well, mostly honest.

Fan passion

A new study by researchers found that the majority of players were able to return to play after having knee surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

But age matters. athletes who had ACL surgery when they were in high school or younger were much more likely to suffer repeat ACL reinjuries than athletes who experienced their first ACL injury during collegiate play.


The NFL is putting the final touches on a new drug policy.This new policy, which is the first major update since the last policy in 2010, is between the NFL Players Association and the NFL. The significant changes are with regard to HGH (Human Growth Hormone) testing and marijuana use.

Having treated a number of active and former NFL players and worked with the NFL Players Association as well as being the founder and CEO of one of the leading addiction treatment centers in the nation, I feel comfortable making a comment on the subject of substance abuse in the NFL. 

The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, recently published a review discussing drug abuse in athletes. Drug abuse occurs in almost all sports and at most levels of teen and adult competition.

In 2010, McGill Redmen receiver Charles-Antoine Sinotte suffered a concussion during his last home game. "It was like nothing I had experienced before," recalls Sinotte. "I felt like I was out of my body."

Although he received medical attention and missed the rest of the game, he admits he downplayed his symptoms in order to play in the next game – his last before leaving McGill. 



Kell Brook and two of the Sheffield Hallam University team. Credit: Sheffield Hallam University.

By Alan Ruddock, Sheffield Hallam University

Amid all the flashing lights, it was a moment of sheer exhilaration when the winner was finally announced: “By a majority decision, the new IBF welterweight champion on the world – Kell Brook.”

The world's fastest sprinters have unique gait features that account for some of their ability to achieve fast speeds, according to two new studies which indicate that the secret to elite sprinting speeds lies in the distinct limb dynamics sprinters use to elevate ground forces upon foot-ground impact.

The new findings address a major performance question that has remained unanswered for more than a decade.


Do women and men ride differently? If so, would a horse know in a blind human rider test?

For centuries, horses were a tool of wealthy elites during war and so riding was largely restricted to males. By contrast, today nearly 80 percent of riders are women. Modern-day equestrian sports is one of very few fields where men and women compete directly against one another at all levels, from beginners in gymkhanas to national champions in the Olympic Games.  Even chess insists women are different than men while equestrians do not.

A new study investigated the value of the Pre-Exhaustion (PreEx) training method and found that that the various arrangements of different exercise protocols is of less relevance than simply performing resistance training exercises with a high intensity of effort within any protocol.