Sports Science

In the world of American football, players have gotten big. Really big. It's one of the few sports where players actually lose a lot of weight after they retire. Wide receivers today are commonly the size of linebackers 30 years ago.

The perception is this obesity escalation filters down to college and high school as well, because of a size arms race, but new research suggests that being bigger doesn't mean being better -- and certainly not healthier.

Despite popular perceptions that cheerleading is dangerous, it is relatively safe - but it's not perfect and when injuries do happen they tend to be severe.

A new movie is out this month on NFL concussions, and the doctor who is the subject of the piece says football for anyone under age 18 should be banned - but an upcoming white paper from the American Council on Science and Health notes that a ban may be too heavy-handed. Cheerleading also has a lot of head injuries and concussions are not the top injury in youth football.

Researcher Christian Duval, PhD, and his team have developed a new, simple and non-invasive approach to create a biomechanical and cognitive profile of football players and more quickly and accurately detect concussions in these individuals. Christian Duval and his post-doctoral student Hung Nguyen, PhD, work at the Research Centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, which is affiliated with the University of Montreal. They presented their preliminary research findings at the International Congress on Sport Sciences Research and Technology Support, which was held in Lisbon from November 15 to 17.

Scientists have revealed that glucocorticoids, a class of steroid hormones that are commonly prescribed as drugs, enhance muscle endurance and alleviate muscular dystrophy through activation of the gene KLF15. Critically, this pathway is not involved in muscle wasting or the other major detrimental effects of prolonged steroid use.

The discovery could lead to the development of new medications that improve muscle function without the negative consequences caused by long-term steroid exposure, especially important for progressive muscle wasting diseases like Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Standing for at least one-quarter of the day has been linked to lower odds of obesity, finds a new survey in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. But don't tell all those waitresses with sore backs and varicose veins.

Achilles tendon disorders are both common and misdiagnosed, with about 25 percent of ruptures missed during initial examination.

When you think of cheerleaders, and skimpy outfits, you probably do not consider them as being on the front lines of challenging stereotypes. But they are. No one is a professional cheerleader, instead they are scientists, engineers and just about any other occupation who compete to be on squads for the same reason anyone competes in anything.

And it has become an inclusive activity for both boys and girls, which means it can do a lot more to challenge traditional ideas about gender roles than forcing mixed-sex sports on kids. 

A new systematic review and meta-analysis finds the overall rate of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries among high school athletes is significantly higher among females than males - and soccer is the most injury-causing for women.  

The use of prescription-only painkillers by athletes is hardly new, but debate about their (ab)use in Australia has recently been brought into focus by the emergency hospitalization of South Sydney NRL players Aaron Gray and Dylan Walker, both of whom suffered a life-threatening reaction to a combination of controlled drugs. These athletes were recovering from post-season surgery to address injuries, with painkillers prescribed by their surgeons to assist with post-operative discomfort.

Using endurance training or strength and resistance training not only prepares an athlete for different types of sports, they can also change the way the brain and muscles communicate with each other.

A University of Kansas study shows that the communication between the brain and quadriceps muscles of people who take part in endurance training, such as running long distances, is different than those who regularly took part in resistance training and those who were sedentary. The findings may offer clues to the type of physical activity humans are most naturally suited to.