Sports Science

Despite the glitz and glory of Usain Bolt’s comeback victories and Jessica Ennis-Hill’s heptathlon triumph at the World Championships, 2015 is shaping up as quite the annus horribilis for athletics.

Quantitative analysis of the performance of men and women professional tennis players over the past five completed seasons shows for the first time that evidence of inconsistency in women's play is likely attributable to match format (e.g., best of three or five sets), not gender, Stephanie Kovalchik--an associate statistician with the RAND Corporation--today revealed at a session focused on analytics of women's sports at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM 2015) in Seattle.

During her topic-contributed session, titled "Are Women Professional Tennis Players Really Less Consistent Than Male Players?", Kovalchik said she carried out the research project to test the hypothesis that female tennis players are less consistent than their male counterparts.

New research has found talented adolescent female athletes are bullied for their successes by their school peers.

The research also revealed that being bullied at school about their sports achievements left young female athletes with lasting psychological and social problems they carried into adulthood.

In a self-professed sports-mad country, why is this happening?

Surgeries related to overuse elbow injuries, i.e. Tommy John Surgery, are more common among youth athletes than previously believed, according to research presented last week at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Orlando.

"Our results showed that 15-19 year-olds accounted for 56.7 percent of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (UCLR) or Tommy John surgeries performed in the U.S. between 2007-2011. This is a significant increase over time with an average increase of 9.12 percent per year," said lead author, Brandon Erickson, MD of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Athletes who've had lower extremity surgeries before going on to play in college, might be at a higher risk for another surgery independent of gender and sport, say researchers presenting their work today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.

"This is the first study to look at the relationship between precollegiate surgery and future injury requiring surgery in collegiate athletes. Our results suggest that athletes injured before college might be left with a functional deficit that puts them at risk for future injury," said lead author, Dean Wang, MD from the University of California at Los Angeles.

The Tour de France has been rolling for more than a week now and has finally made it to France in a brutal few days that has seen 220 kilometer stages, major crashes, cobbles, steep ramps and broken bones for two race leaders. But perhaps the biggest challenge lies just around the corner in an intriguing Stage 9, where the riders have to cover what looks like a trifling 28 km.

If you suffer from chronic low back pain and need spinal fusion surgery, there is good news for your golf game. A new study shows an overwhelming majority of spinal fusion patients returned to play golf as well, if not better, than before surgery.

During spinal fusion surgery, two vertebrae are joined together using a bone graft taken from another part of the body. In traditional open surgery, a large incision is made to cut through muscles surrounding the spine. Minimally invasive surgery allows for a smaller incision with less muscle damage, resulting in less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and a quicker return to activities.

Physical performance after periods of hypoxic training - in low-oxygen conditions - is a new fad but remains controversial scientifically.

By Peter Gwynne, Inside Science – "Drive for show and putt for dough."

In the world of professional golf, this catchphrase means that a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway has little value if the golfer can't complete the hole by sinking a sinuous 10-foot putt into the cup.

As they prepare for the U.S. Open championship, starting on June 18 in Chambers Bay, Washington, players will devote at least as much practice time to reading the greens, pacing their putts, and maintaining a steady hand with what they call their "flat sticks" as they do to those 300-yard drives.

A growing body of advice suggests doing small amounts of moderate exercise can make a significant difference to your health.