Sports Science

It used to be that you might see someone walking with some difficulty and they might say 'old football injury'. 

That happens less and less, as long as they didn't have a long career as an offensive lineman. The anterior cruciate ligament is one of four that connect the thigh bone to the shin bone. Over-stretching or tearing of this ACL, partially or completely, used to be quite common - and career-ending.


Ulnar collateral ligament (UCLR) reconstruction, a common injury for pitchers in Major League Baseball, is often called "Tommy John Surgery" after the New York Yankees pitcher who made it famous, In 1974, Dr. Frank Jobe made medical history when he replaced the pitcher's torn medial collateral ligament with a tendon from John's forearm and he went on to pitch for 14 more years and added 164 more victories - after an injury that had been career-ending in the past.

Results out today show that pitchers win more games following Tommy John Surgery but another paper disagrees. The scholars at Henry Ford Hospital say the performance decline is notabled and that they the largest cohort of professional pitchers to date to examine the issue.


Ulnar collateral ligament (UCLR) reconstruction, commonly called "Tommy John Surgery" after the New York Yankees pitcher who made it famous, is a procedure performed on Major League Baseball pitchers after they get a damaged or torn ulnar collateral ligament, a common elbow injury.  In 1974, Dr. Frank Jobe made medical history when he replaced the pitcher's torn medial collateral ligament with a tendon from John's forearm.

John then pitched for 14 more years and added 164 more victories - after an injury that had been career-ending in the past.


When women enter menopause, estrogen levels drop and that is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but research from  University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Team Sport and Health finds that interval-based team sport can make up for this estrogen loss.

Estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, is an important guardian of the female vascular system. Thus, s oestrogen levels fall during menopause, the risks of increased blood pressure and development of cardiovascular disease increases.  Team sports improve the condition of women, reduces blood pressure and thus protects the cardiovascular system.  


In soccer, a team is most vulnerable to being scored on right after they score. Pundits and psychologists attribute that to overconfidence. Yet in the 2014 Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks dominated early and the Denver Broncos looked increasingly disorganized. Pundits and psychologists attribute that to momentum.

Momentum or overconfidence are often applied in hindsight to individual games but what about during winning streaks? Is what analysts term momentum a kind of competitive inertia, where a team in a state of winning tends to keep winning? 

No, say economists writing in Economics Letters, after examining varsity college hockey teams winning and losing records. Momentum advantages don't exist.


Older football veterans contend that modern equipment, and its ability to protect players from injury, ironically lead to more of it. Rugby players agree. 

They may be right. A new study finds that modern football helmets do little to protect against hits to the side of the head and the rotational force that is often a dangerous source of brain injury and encephalopathy. 


Does home field advantage matter? In baseball outfielders, the tricks and corners of a new baseball park might be meaningful but that effect should diminish over time. The Seattle Seahawks have a famously loud stadium and the team calls the audience "the twelfth man" but they didn't need it to rout the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

There are no athletes in the Olympics who are from Sochi, yet psychologists believe that Russian athletes will have a psychological edge, even though Russia covers 6,600,000 million square miles, because they have a home field advantage.


In every sport, an athlete who has enjoyed long-term success has the opportunity for free agency, when they can join the highest bidder.


A new paper finds that concussions are common among middle-school girls who play soccer, and most continue to play with symptoms.

Using a small sample of email survey and interviews, the authors evaluated the frequency and duration of concussions in young female soccer players, as well as whether the injuries resulted in stopping play and seeking medical attention.  There are no injury-tracking systems for younger players but the background information says that sports-related concussions account for 1.6 to 3.8 million injuries in the United States annually, including about 50,000 soccer-related concussions among high school players.


Managers of fantasy sports teams - where people draft rosters filled with players of their own choosing - spend countless hours and sometimes thousands of dollars on analysis to develop a sophisticated method of getting the best roster.

And sometimes, just like real sports, some superstition is involved.

But most fantasy sport players overestimate the role of skill and knowledge in building a winning team, and underestimate the role of luck, according to a paper in the Journal of Sports Management