Sports Science

You likely knew that professional boxing causes brain damage but a new study shows it is more than just an assumption, even about amateurs. Researchers analyzing 30 top-level Swedish boxers found changes in brain fluids after bouts, which indicates nerve cell damage. 

It has been debated for quite some time whether Olympic (amateur) boxing is hazardous to the brain. Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, joined with colleagues at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Linköping University and the Swedish Boxing Association in conducting a unique study of 30 top-level Swedish boxers and 25 reference persons. What they found was that boxers even in amateur bouts with headgear had brain injury similar to Alzheimers.
Both testosterone and cortisol levels increased for Spaniards who watched as Spain beat Holland during the 2010 World Cup. 

In this study, they analyzed the psychobiological response of men and women watching sports - when the competition’s outcome, victory or defeat, is basically out of their control. Fifty supporters of the Spanish team watched the final in a public space or at home, with their families or friends. The researchers asked for their expectations and feelings before the match, and they checked their testosterone and cortisol levels before, during and after the match.

As the London marathon gets underway, there are going to be lots of people getting high- 37,500 according to one recent BBC article. However, this is a different “high” than those individuals who partook, or attempted to, in massive marijuana festivities of April 20th, such as the 2011 University of Colorado demonstration to legalize marijuana that was 10,000 people strong.

It's baseball season.  That means some time this week you are sure to witness the following; a pitcher hits a player with the ball.  The opposing pitcher retaliates by hitting another player with a ball.  The benches look like they are about to clear, an umpire will issue a warning (or not) and things will escalate until, surely, a fight breaks out.

The Iron Dice of World War I and the many mysteries of how it actually came to fighting has nothing on the psychological machinations of America's national pastime.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2012 - The San Jose Earthquakes and Aurasma, the world's leading augmented reality platform, have partnered to transform the team's 2012 logo and promotional materials into cross-media experiences that will draw fans closer to their favorite Major League Soccer team. 

 Using the free Aurasma Lite app for iPhones, iPads and Android devices, fans can aim their device at the San Jose Earthquakes logo anywhere in the world and view a special video message from top scorer, Chris Wondolowski, followed by game highlights. 

As you know, 74 people were killed this Wednesday when Egyptian soccer fans stampeded into a bottleneck after a 3-1 hometown upset win. While certainly tragic, it’s far from irrational: it turns out the behavioral economics were stacked against them.

Take the link between football and domestic violence. In2011 economists Gordon Dahl and David Card showed that when a home team loses, domestic violence in the home city increases by 10- percent. On police reports, you can see reports start to rise in the final quarter as a loss looks likely. Then reports peak an hour after the game and return to normal a couple hours later.

The inaugural season of intercollegiate football took place in 1869. It consisted of two games: Rutgers played Princeton, and then a week later, they played again. Each team won once, so the “national championship” (awarded retroactively) was split. And despite the schools’ bitter rivalry, the Rutgers newspaper reported an “amicable feed together” after the contests. Since then, the business of selecting a national champion in college football has grown considerably more complex.

Research on muscle fatigue has largely been confined to the muscle itself. That makes sense, where there is burn, there is fire.  But motivation and will power turns out to have a greater impact on muscle fatigue than previously believed, according to a joint research project between the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich has shifted the focus to brain research.

The researchers discovered neuronal processes for the first time that are responsible for reducing muscle activity during muscle-fatiguing exercise. The third and final part of this series of experiments, which was conducted by Lea Hilty as part of her doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich, has now been published in the European Journal of Neuroscience.
Nearly anything can be rationalized if the value is subscribed to an intangible like 'good will.' The Olympic Games are big business and generate substantial amounts of revenue for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through lucrative television contracts and corporate sponsorship - yet they lose money for the hosts.

Old-fashioned 'leatherhead' football helmets from the early 1900s were as effective, and sometimes better, than modern football helmets - at least when it comes to injuries during routine, game-like collisions.

The study in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine compared head injury risks of two early 20th Century leatherhead helmets with 11 top-of–the-line 21st Century polycarbonate helmets.