Sports Science

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

Doping advocates are just as likely to do the brain kind if they do the body kind, according to survey results of about 3,000 hobby triathletes at sporting events in Frankfurt, Regensburg, and Wiesbaden.

The work by Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and Eberhard Karls University in Tubingen was carried out using the randomized response technique, which allows for better estimates of unknown cases in response to sensitive questions. It suggested that 13.0 percent of the athletes surveyed had used illegal and banned substances in the twelve months prior to the survey; 15.1 percent were believed to have engaged in brain doping. revealed that people who engage in physical doping often also take drugs for brain doping.

Everyone has seen what athletes do after a victory - footballers may take their shirts off and slide on their knees, baseball hitters may pump their fists. 

That instinctive reaction that occurs is a biological imperative to display dominance over opponents rather than a sense of personal satisfaction, according to a paper in Motivation and Emotion.

The XVIth international chess tournament "Citta' di Padova" ended last Sunday with the victory of GM Kiril Georgiev, who got 7 points out of 9 games. The tournament saw the participation of 63 players from 13 countries, with a total of 11 grandmasters and 13 international masters, plus nine other Fide titled players.

I participated in the event and scored a good 4.5/9, winning four games and losing four. Below I am showing some salient points from a few of my games.

Can you control noisemaking chaos? Brazilian planners hope so.

They'd rather not have the ear-splitting vuvuzela which took over the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Tens of thousands of those instruments blaring in packed stadiums became a major annoyance, disrupting players and even fans watching on TV. 

The argument for using different bats in high school and the major leagues is primarily cost: wooden bats break when a fastball is hit too low on the bat. 

But aside from skewing results for players - balls that would go nowhere due to a broken bat can be a hit using metal or composite bats - there is also a safety issue. For young players on defense, the ball can move much faster, because non-wood bats transfer energy to the ball better, a phenomenon called the "trampoline effect."

That makes the ball more dangerous. Such concerns have led to uniform bat regulations in college and high school baseball, but amid uncertainty about how non-wood bats perform in the hands of younger players, the rules are less consistent for that age group.