Sports Science

In most sports, youth helps. The adage was that if an older person can do it better than a younger person, it isn't a sport.

But the lines of performance are lot more blurry today and youth is not a barometer. Lots of high school students can jump right to the NBA, and the first round draft pick in the NFL college draft is likely to be starting the next summer, but baseball drafts aren't big media events because no one drafted is likely to get called up for a few years. Baseball takes more practice.

And when it comes to marathons, old people really blow the sports curve. They even turn it into a U-shape; a 55- or 60-year-old runner will often finish in the same time as an 18-year-old.

A study of healthy senior men has found that endurance exercise confers benefits on the heart irrespective of the age at which they began training.

The report
by David Matelot, from the Inserm 1099 unit in Rennes
at the EuroPRevent congress 2014 in Amsterdam, said the benefits were evident and comparable in those who had started training before the age of 30 or after the age of 40. As a result, 40 is not too old to start endurance training.

A new study finds that anxiety about a competitive situation makes even the most physically active of us more likely to slip-up.

Utah youth with suspected sports-related head injuries visit emergency rooms far more often since the state's concussion law passed in 2011, and with that boost in defensive medicine came a rise in head CT scans -- leading to potentially unnecessary radiation exposure along with the high costs that defensive medicine brings for health care overall. 

The study examined Intermountain Healthcare's emergency department database for 19 hospitals in Utah between September 1, 2009 and September 1, 2012. Researchers wanted to know if the number of children and teenagers with suspected sports-related head injuries between ages 6 and 18 who came to hospital emergency departments changed, if the number of CT scans grew, and what those scans revealed.

A new study finds benefits to consuming a blend of soy and dairy proteins after resistance exercise for building muscle mass.

The researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch found that using a protein blend of soy, casein and whey post-workout prolongs the delivery of select amino acids to the muscle for an hour longer than using whey alone.

It also showed a prolonged increase in amino acid net balance across the leg muscle during early post-exercise recovery, suggesting prolonged muscle building.  

It's believed that cheats are always a step ahead of testing. But if blood samples were stored longer - 10 years - the 'biological' profiles of athletes would be around long enough for testing to catch up.

And much wider use should be made of  the athlete's biological passport - biological profiling - which will show up tiny changes made to the individual's unique genetic blueprint by doping substances and methods, without the need to identify the presence of the substance itself, when regularly monitored.

Nothing is more antithetical to baseball culture than apple slices and kale chips - fans want crackerjack and beer and hot dogs.

For events, that's okay, but it is also a recurring part of youth sports, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. An observational study (naturally) published in Childhood Obesity found that high-calorie snacks and sugar-sweetened drinks dominate the youth baseball scene. 

Basketball is a popular high school sport in the United States with 1 million participants annually. A recently published study by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital is the first to compare and describe the occurrence and distribution patterns of basketball-related injuries treated in emergency departments and the high school athletic training setting among adolescents and teens.

In high school and college, your coach told you to avoid alcohol. And for good reason; alcohol saps muscle strength and it's lingering lethargic effects aren't welcome either.

The lack of muscle strength really becomes evident when studying long-time alcoholics but it is also evidence in patients with mitochondrial disease.  A new study on mitochondria that are unable to self-repair may mean a new way to diagnose mitochondrial disease, and a new drug target. 

A systematic review in the Journal of Nutrition has associated iron supplements with improved exercise performance of women in child-bearing years.

Lead researcher, Dr Sant-Rayn Pasricha from the University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health and colleagues concluded that iron supplementation improved women’s exercise performance, in terms of both the highest level they could achieve at 100% exertion (maximal capacity) and their exercise efficiency at a submaximal exertion. Women who were given iron were able to perform a given exercise using a lower heart rate and at a higher efficiency.