Latest research in football - week 31 - 2017

As previous literature updates, I have performed a PubCrawler search looking for football articles in NCBI Medline (PubMed) and GenBank databases.

Following studies were retrieved for this week:


#1 A Comparison of GPS Workload Demands in Match Play and Small-Sided Games by the Positional Role in Youth Soccer
Reference: J Hum Kinet. 2017 Jun 22;57:129-137. doi: 10.1515/hukin-2017-0054. eCollection 2017 Jun.
Authors: Beenham M, Barron DJ, Fry J, Hurst HH, Figueirdo A, Atkins S
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Summary: The external demands of small-sided games (SSGs) according to the positional role are currently unknown. Using a Catapult Minimax X3 5 Hz GPS, with a 100 Hz tri-axial accelerometer, we compared the accumulated tri-axial player workload per min (PLacc·min-1) during friendly youth match play (MP) (11 vs. 11) and SSGs (2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, and 4 vs. 4). Significant differences existed between all SSGs and MP for PLacc·min-1 (F = 21.91, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.38), and individual X (F = 27.40, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.43), Y (F = 14.50, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.29) and Z (F = 19.28, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.35) axis loads. Across all conditions, mean PLacc·min-1 was greater for midfielders (p = 0.004, CI: 0.68, 4.56) and forwards (p = 0.037, CI: 0.08, 3.97) than central defenders. In all conditions, greater Y axis values existed for wide defenders (p = 0.024, CI: 0.67, 1.38), midfielders (p = 0.006, CI: 0.18, 1.50) and forwards (p = 0.007, CI: 0.17, 0.15) compared to central defenders. Midfielders reported greater Z axis values compared to central defenders (p = 0.002, CI: 0.40, 2.23). We concluded that SSGs elicited greater external loads than MP, and previous studies may have underestimated the demands of SSGs.

#2 Small-Sided Games in Elite Soccer: Does One Size Fits All?
Reference: Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017 Jul 17:1-24. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2017-0214. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Lacome M, Simpson BM, Cholley Y, Lambert P, Buchheit M
Summary: The purpose was to compare the peak intensity of typical Small Sided Games (SSGs) with those of official matches in terms of running demands and mechanical work over different rolling average durations and playing positions. Data were collected in 21 players (25±5 y, 181±7 cm, 77±7 kg) belonging to an elite French football team. SSG data were collected over two seasons during typical training sessions (249 files, 12±4 per player) and official matches (n=12). Players' locomotor activity was recorded using 15-Hz GPS. Total distance (TD, m), high-speed distance (HS, distance above 14.4 km.h-1, m) and mechanical work (MechW, a.u) were analysed during different rolling average periods (1 to 15 min). The SSGs examined were 4v4+Goal Keepers (GKs), 6v6+GKs, 8v8+GKs and 10v10+GKs. Peak TD and HS during 4v4, 6v6 and 8v8 were likely-to-most likely largely lower than during matches (ES: -0.59,±0.38 to -7.36,±1.20). MechW during 4v4 was likely-to-most likely higher than during matches (1-4-min; 0.61±,0.77 to 2.30±,0.64). Relative to their match demands, central defenders (CD) performed more HS than other positions (0.63±,0.81 to 1.61±,0.52) during 6v6. Similarly, central midfielders (CM) performed less MechW than the other positions during 6v6 (0.68,±0.72 to 1.34,±0.99) and 8v8 (0.73,±0.50 to 1.39,±0.32). Peak locomotor intensity can be modulated during SSGs of various formats and durations to either over- or underload match demands, with 4v4 placing the greatest and the least emphasis on MechW and HS, respectively. Additionally, CD and CM tend to be the most and least overloaded during SSGs, respectively.

#3 Importance of physical qualities for speed and change of direction ability in elite female soccer players
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Jul 17. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002114. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Emmonds S, Nicholson G, Beggs C, Jones B, Bissas A
Summary: The purpose of this study was to determine the importance of physical qualities for speed and change of direction (CoD) ability in female soccer players. Data were collected on 10 female soccer players who were part of a professional English Women's Super League team. Player assessments included anthropometric (stature and body mass), body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), speed (10m, 30m sprint), CoD ability (505 agility), aerobic (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test), lower-body strength (bilateral knee extensions) and power (countermovement jump [CMJ], squat jump [SJ], 30cm drop jump [DJ]) measures. The relationships between the variables were evaluated using eigenvector analysis and Pearson correlation analysis. Multiple linear regression revealed that the performance variables (10 and 20m speed, mean 505, and CoD deficit mean) can be predicted with almost 100% accuracy (i.e. adjusted R > 0.999) using various combinations of the predictor variables (DJ height, CMJ height, SJ height, lean body mass). An increase of one standard deviation (SD) in DJ height was associated with reductions of -5.636 and -9.082 SD in 10 m and 20 m sprint times. A one SD increase in CMJ also results in a reduction of -3.317 and -0.922 SD respectively in mean 505 and CoD deficit mean values. This study provides comparative data for professional English female soccer players that can be used by strength and conditioning coaches when monitoring player development and assessing the effectiveness of training programmes. Findings highlight the importance of developing reactive strength to improve speed and CoD ability in female soccer players.

#4 Effect of insulin therapy and dietary adjustments on safety and performance during simulated soccer tests in people with type 1 diabetes: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
Reference: Trials. 2017 Jul 20;18(1):338. doi: 10.1186/s13063-017-2078-1.
Authors: Calvo-Marin J, Torrealba-Acosta G, Campbell M, Gaboury J, Ali A, Chen-Ku CH
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Summary: Despite the reduction in glycemic derangement in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) through dietary and therapeutic adjustments implemented before, during and after continuous exercise, evidence for its effectiveness with intermittent forms of exercise, such as soccer, is still lacking. We designed a study protocol for a randomized, crossover, double-blinded, controlled trial, for the evaluation of the effect that a strategy of dietary and therapeutic modifications may have on safety and performance of persons with T1D in soccer training sessions and cognitive testing. Inclusion criteria comprise: age older than 18 years, more than 2 years since T1D diagnosis, low C-peptide level, a stable insulin regimen, HbA1c less than 9.0% and regular participation in soccer activities. Our primary outcome evaluates safety regarding hypoglycemia events in patients using dietary and therapeutic adjustments, compared with the performance under the implementation of current American Diabetes Association (ADA) usual recommendations for nutritional and pharmacological adjustments for exercise. Additionally, we will evaluate as secondary outcomes: soccer performance, indexed by performance in well-established soccer skill tests, cognitive functions (indexed by Stroop, digital vigilance test (DVT), Corsi block-tapping task (CBP), and rapid visual information processing (RVIP) tests), and glycemic control measured with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Dietary and insulin adjustments standardized under a 4-step method strategy have never been tested in a clinical trial setting with intermittent forms of exercise, such as soccer. We hypothesize that through this strategy we will observe better performance by persons with T1D in soccer and cognitive evaluations, and more stable control of glycemic parameters before, during and after exercise execution, indexed by CGM measurements.

#5 Nonoperative Management and Rehabilitation of Osteitis Pubis/Pubic Bone Stress in Professional Soccer Players: A Report of 5 Cases
Reference: J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2017 Aug 3:1-20. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2017.7314. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: McAleer SS, Lippie E, Norman D, Riepenhof H
Summary: Background Pubic bone stress (PBS) is a common acute or chronic response of the pelvis in sports where sprinting, kicking, twisting and cutting are the dominant movements. Little literature exists regarding non-operative rehabilitation strategies for the condition and the outcome of conservative treatment has not been documented. Case Description Five professional and aspiring professional soccer players complaining of pubic symphysis pain, confirmed as PBS on magnetic resonance imaging and objective assessment. All cases followed a non-operative rehabilitation program, featuring functional and clinical objective markers as progression criteria. Acute interventions included pharmacological and physical therapeutic modalities to reduce pain initially. Rehabilitation management focused on improving range of motion ant the hips and thorax, adductor strengthening, trunk and lumbopelvic stability, gym-based strength training and field-based rehabilitation and conditioning. Clinical follow-up was performed at least 8 months following return to play. Outcomes All players demonstrated reduced or resolved pain, increased adductor squeeze strength, and return to pain free training and match-play. Return to training time averaged 40.6 days (range, 30-60) and return to play averaged 49.4 days (range, 38-72) within the 5 players. At final follow up (mean = 29.6 months, range, 16-33) there had been no recurrences. Discussion This case series suggests a non-operative pathway, using clinical and functional progression criteria is a successful protocol in rehabilitating athletes with PBS in returning to sport within 11 weeks.

#6 Activity profiles in U17, U20 and senior women's Brazilian National soccer teams during international competitions: Are there meaningful differences?
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Jul 31. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002170. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Ramos GP, Nakamura FY, Penna EM, Wilke CF, Pereira LA, Loturco I, Capelli L, Mahseredjian F, Silami-Garcia E, Coimbra CC.
Summary: The aim of this study was to compare locomotor activity profiles of Brazilian top-class female soccer players competing at distinct age brackets (U17, U20, and Senior). External match load of 14 U17, 14 U20, and 17 Senior female soccer players competing in 6-7 full official international matches were assessed using global positioning systems (GPS). Total distance covered, distance covered in high intensity (HID:15.6-20 kmh), distance covered in sprints (sprint:>20 kmh), number of accelerations (Acc)>1 ms, decelerations (Dec) >-1 ms, and Player Load generally increased across the age brackets (U17<U20<Senior). For all playing positions, Senior athletes presented greater total distance, accelerations, and decelerations than U20 players. For high-intensity distance and sprints, only central defender and midfielder senior players presented greater values than U20 players. Senior players demonstrated higher values in all locomotor activities in comparison to U17 players, irrespective of playing positions. Except for central defenders that presented similar total distance, sprint distance, and number of accelerations between U20 and U17, the majority of match external loads evaluated in all playing positions were greater in U20 than in U17 players. These results provide useful information for player development and should be used to establish appropriate match-specific conditioning drills according to age categories.

#7 Response requirements affect offside judgments in football (soccer)
Reference: Psychol Res. 2017 Aug 1. doi: 10.1007/s00426-017-0902-6. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Fasold F, Wuhr P, Memmert D
Summary: Judging offside in football represents a typical go-nogo task (offside-raising the flag, no offside-no response). Nevertheless, several studies involved two-choice tasks (e.g. offside-press key A, no offside-press key B) to investigate potential sources of errors in offside situations. While go-nogo and choice-response tasks are commonly used in experimental psychology, response preferences may differ between the two tasks. Therefore, we investigated the impact of response requirements on offside judgments in a sample of male participants without experience in professional refereeing. Each participant judged displays of potential offside situations in a go-nogo condition and in a two-choice condition. The results show that response requirements affected the response bias of the participants and suggest that go-nogo requirements increase the preference for the positive response (i.e. the offside response) as compared to the two-choice task. We discuss both methodological and theoretical implications of this finding.

#8 Static stretching does not enhance recovery in elite youth soccer players
Reference: BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2017 Apr 22;3(1):e000202. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000202. eCollection 2017.
Authors: Pooley S, Spendiff O, Allen M, Moir HJ
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Summary: Static stretching (SS) is a recovery intervention used for the reduction of muscle soreness postexercise. The effects of SS on elite young footballers have received little attention, and therefore the aim of this study was to assess the effects of SS on muscle recovery following competitive soccer matches in elite young footballers. Ten male participants (16±1 years) were recruited from an English Premier League professional soccer academy. Using a controlled crossover design, participants followed one of two recovery interventions (SS or passive recovery (PR)) immediately following completion of competitive soccer matches. Muscle oedema, creatine kinase (CK), countermovement jump with arms (CMJA) performance and perceived muscle soreness were assessed before, immediately after and 48 hours postmatch. Competitive soccer matches significantly induced muscle damage, with time intervals of perceived soreness and CK showing significant increases (p<0.05), and CMJA showing significant decreases between prematch, postmatch and 48 hours postmatch for both SS and PR (p<0.05). Comparisons of the absolute effects of SS with PR only revealed significant decreases for CK 48 hours postmatch (p<0.05) as a result of SS intervention. The current study demonstrated competitive soccer matches induced muscle damage, which may have detrimental effects on future performance within 24-48 hours postmatch. Furthermore, there was limited evidence to suggest SS would assist in the reduction of muscle soreness postexercise. Therefore, it can be argued that SS is not a beneficial recovery option for elite youth soccer players.

#9 Maturity status influences the relative age effect in national top level youth alpine ski racing and soccer
Reference: PLoS One. 2017 Jul 31;12(7):e0181810. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181810. eCollection 2017.
Authors: Muller L, Gonaus C, Perner C, Muller E, Raschner C
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Summary: Since the relative age effect (RAE) characterizes a problem in all age categories of alpine ski racing and soccer and the fact that, yet, to date the underlying factors have not been well investigated, the aim of the present study was to assess the influence of the biological maturity status on the RAE among youth alpine ski racers (YSR) and soccer players (SP). In total, 183 male and female YSR selected for national final races and 423 male SP selected for Elite Youth Development Centres were investigated. Additionally, a comparison group of 413 non-athletes was evaluated. The birth months were split into four relative age quarters. The biological maturity status was assessed by the age at peak height velocity (APHV) method; according to the M±SD of the comparison group, the athletes were divided into normal, early and late maturing. Chi2-tests indicated a significant RAE among YSR (χ2(3,N = 183) = 18.0; p<0.001; ω = 0.31) and SP (χ2(3,N = 423) = 33.1; p<0.001; ω = 0.28). In total, only a small number of late maturing athletes were present (0.5-2.3%). Among relatively younger athletes, high percentages of early maturing athletes were found (43.1-43.3%). The findings indicate that relatively younger and less mature athletes are marginalized or totally excluded in alpine ski racing and soccer. Thus, selection criteria in both sports are effectively based on early biological development and relatively older age, both of which should be considered in future in the talent selection process. In this context, the easy feasible method of assessing the APHV can be used.

#10 The isokinetic strength profile of elite soccer players according to playing position
Reference: PLoS One. 2017 Jul 31;12(7):e0182177. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182177. eCollection 2017.
Authors: Sliwowski R, Grygorowicz M, Hojszyk R, Jadczak L
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Summary: The aim of this study was to compare isokinetic strength performance profiles in elite soccer players across different field positions. A total of 111 elite international players of Polish Ekstraklasa (the top division in Poland) were examined during the 2010-2015 seasons. The players were classified into six positional roles: central defenders (CD), external defenders (ED), central midfielders (CM), external midfielders (EM), forwards (F), and goalkeepers (G). The concentric isokinetic strength (peak torque [PT] of quadriceps and hamstrings, H/Q ratios) was calculated for the dominant leg and the non-dominant leg at angular velocity of 1.05 rad ·s-1, whereas to assess isokinetic muscle endurance, the total work [TW] at angular velocity of 4.19 rad ·s-1, was taken into consideration. The results showed that isokinetic strength performance varies significantly among players in different playing positions. The analysis of PT for quadriceps (PT-Q) and hamstrings (PT-H) generally showed that the goalkeepers and central midfielders had lower strength levels compared to other playing positions. In the case of PT-H and hamstring/quadricep (H/Q) peak torque ratios, statistically significant differences were also noted for the legs, where mean values noted for the dominant leg were higher than for the non-dominant leg. For TW for quadriceps (TW-Q) and hamstrings (TW-H), statistically significant differences were noted only between playing positions. TW-Q values for goalkeepers were lower than for central defenders and external midfielders. TW-H values for goalkeepers were lower than for central midfielders, central defenders and external midfielders. This study showed that specific functional activity of players in individual positions on the field influences the varied profile of isokinetic strength performance.

#11 Reliability characteristics and applicability of a repeated sprint ability test in male young soccer players
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Jul 28. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002031. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Castagna C, Francini L, Krustrup P, Fenarnandes-da-Silva J, Povoas SCA, Bernardini A, D'Ottavio S.
Summary: The aim of this study was to examine the usefulness and reliability characteristics of a repeated sprint ability test considering 5 line sprints of 30-m interspersed with 30-s of active recovery in non-elite outfield young male soccer players. Twenty-six (age 14.9±1.2 years, height 1.72±0.12 cm, body mass 62.2±5.1 kg) players were tested 48 hours and 7 days apart for 5x30-m performance over 5 trials (T1-T5). Short- (T1-T2) and long-term reliability (T1-T3-T4-T5) were assessed with Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) and with typical error for measurement (TEM). Short- and long-term reliability ICCs and TEMs for total sprint time and best sprint performance were nearly perfect and satisfactory, respectively. Usefulness (as smallest worthwhile change and TEM ratio) resulted acceptable (i.e =1) and good (i.e >1) for total sprint time and best sprint performance, respectively. The present study revealed that the 5x30-m sprint test is a reliable field test in the short and long-term when the sum of sprint times and the best sprint performance are considered as outcome variables. Sprint performance decrements variables showed large variability across trials.

#12 MRI detection of soleus muscle injuries in professional football players
Reference: Skeletal Radiol. 2017 Aug 2. doi: 10.1007/s00256-017-2729-z. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Pezzotta G, Querques G, Pecorelli A, Nani R, Sironi S
Summary: The purpose was to describe magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of soleus muscle injuries in symptomatic professional football players stratified according to both the Munich consensus statement and the British Athletics Muscle Injury Classification (BAMIC), and to investigate the association between specific MRI features and the "return to play" (RTP). Professional football players with an episode of acute posterior calf pain and impaired function, subsequent to sports activity, underwent ultrasound followed by MRI examination reviewed by two different radiologists with more than 10 years of experience in the musculoskeletal system. MRI features and RTP outcome were evaluated for all types of injuries. During a 36-month period, a total of 20 professional football players were evaluated. According to the Munich consensus, 11 were type 3A, 8 were type 3B, and 1 was type 4, whereas according to the BAMIC, 11 lesions were considered grade 1, 4 grade 2, 4 grade 3, and 1 grade 4. RTP data were available for all patients (mean 3.3 ± 1.6 weeks). Both the Munich consensus and the BAMIC correlated with RTP (Spearman correlation = 0.982 and p < 0.0001 and 0.886 and p < 0.0001 respectively). Extension of edema was an independent prognostic factor for RTP in two different models of multivariate regression analysis (p = 0.044 model A; p = 0.031 model B). The Munich consensus and BAMIC grading systems are useful tools for defining the patient's prognosis and proper rehabilitation time after injury. The MRI feature that we should carefully look for is the extension of edema, as it seems to significantly affect the RTP.

#13 Possession Zone as a Performance Indicator in Football. The Game of the Best Teams
Reference: Front Psychol. 2017 Jul 14;8:1176. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01176. eCollection 2017.
Authors: Casal CA, Maneiro R, Arda T, Mari FJ, Losada JL
Summary: Possession time in football has been widely discussed in research but few studies have analyzed the importance of the field area in which possession occurs. The objective of this study was to identify the existence of significant differences in the field zone of ball possession between successful and unsuccessful teams and to acknowledge if the match status modulates the possession model. To this end, 2,284 attacks were analyzed corresponding to the matches in the final phase of the UEFA Euro 2016 France, recording possession time and field zone in which possession occurred. Video recordings of matches were analyzed and coded post-event using notational analysis. We have found that successful offensive game patterns are different from unsuccessful ones. Specifically, field zone in which major possession occurs changes significantly between successful and unsuccessful teams (x2 = 15.72, p < 0.05) and through Welch's T significant differences were detected in possession time between successful and unsuccessful teams (H = 24.289, p < 0.001). The former are characterized by longer possession times, preferably in the middle offensive zone, on the other hand, unsuccessful teams have shorter possession times and preferably on the middle defensive zone. Logistic regression also allowed us to identify that greater possession in the middle offensive zone is a good indicator of success in the offensive game, allowing us to predict a greater chance of victory in the match. Specifically, every time the teams achieve possession in the middle offensive zone, the chance of winning the match will increase 1.72 times and, the probability of winning the match making longer possessions in the middle offensive zone is 44.25%. Applying the Kruskal-Wallis test we have also been able to verify how match status modulates the teams possession time, specifically, when teams are winning they have longer possessions x2 = 92.628, p = 0.011. Results obtained are expected to help gain more knowledge about successful offensive game models, as well as performance factors of the offensive phase, which will allow teams to optimize their training process and performance during the match.

American Football
#1 CPR performance in the presence of audiovisual feedback or football shoulder pads
Reference: BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2017 Jul 24;3(1):e000208. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000208. eCollection 2017.
Authors: Tanaka S, Rodrigues W, Sotir S, Sagisaka R, Tanaka H
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Summary: The initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be complicated by the use of protective equipment in contact sports, and the rate of success in resuscitating the patient depends on the time from incident to start of CPR. The aim of our study was to see if (1) previous training, (2) the presence of audiovisual feedback and (3) the presence of football shoulder pads (FSP) affected the quality of chest compressions. Six basic life support certified athletic training students (BLS-ATS), six basic life support certified emergency medical service personnel (BLS-EMS) and six advanced cardiac life support certified emergency medical service personnel (ACLS-EMS) participated in a crossover manikin study. A quasi-experimental repeated measures design was used to measure the chest compression depth (cm), rate (cpm), depth accuracy (%) and rate accuracy (%) on four different conditions by using feedback and/or FSP. Real CPR Help manufactured by ZOLL (Chelmsford, Massachusetts, USA) was used for the audiovisual feedback. Three participants from each group performed 2 min of chest compressions at baseline first, followed by compressions with FSP, with feedback and with both FSP and feedback (FSP+feedback). The other three participants from each group performed compressions at baseline first, followed by compressions with FSP+feedback, feedback and FSP. CPR performance did not differ between the groups at baseline (median (IQR), BLS-ATS: 5.0 (4.4-6.1) cm, 114(96-131) cpm; BLS-EMS: 5.4 (4.1-6.4) cm, 112(99-131) cpm; ACLS-EMS: 6.4 (5.7-6.7) cm, 138(113-140) cpm; depth p=0.10, rate p=0.37). A statistically significant difference in the percentage of depth accuracy was found with feedback (median (IQR), 13.8 (0.9-49.2)% vs 69.6 (32.3-85.8)%; p=0.0002). The rate accuracy was changed from 17.1 (0-80.7)% without feedback to 59.2 (17.3-74.3)% with feedback (p=0.50). The use of feedback was effective for depth accuracy, especially in the BLS-ATS group, regardless of the presence of FSP (median (IQR), 22.0 (7.3-36.2)% vs 71.3 (35.4-86.5)%; p=0.0002). The use of audiovisual feedback positively affects the quality of the depth of CPR. Both feedback and FSP do not alter the rate measurements. Medically trained personnel are able to deliver the desired depth regardless of the presence of FSP even though shallower chest compressions depth can be seen in CPR with FSP. A feedback device must be introduced into the athletic training settings.

#2 A comparison of the technique of the football quarterback pass between high school and university athletes
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Jul 28. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002068. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Toffan A, Alexander MJL, Peeler J
Summary: The purpose of the study was to compare the most effective joint movements, segment velocities and body positions to perform the fastest and most accurate pass of high school and university football quarterbacks. Secondary purposes were to develop a quarterback throwing test to assess skill level, to determine which kinematic variables were different between high school and university athletes as well as to determine which variables were significant predictors of quarterback throwing test performance. Ten high school and ten university athletes were filmed for the study, performing nine passes at a target and two passes for maximum distance. Thirty variables were measured using Dartfish Team Pro 4.5.2 video analysis system, and Microsoft Excel was used for statistical analysis. University athletes scored slightly higher than the high school athletes on the throwing test, however this result was not statistically significant. Correlation analysis and forward stepwise multiple regression analysis was performed on both the high school players and the university players in order to determine which variables were significant predictors of throwing test score. Ball velocity was determined to have the strongest predictive effect on throwing test score (r = 0.900) for the high school athletes, however, position of the back foot at release was also determined to be important (r = 0.661) for the university group. Several significant differences in throwing technique between groups were noted during the pass, however, body position at release showed the greatest differences between the two groups. High school players could benefit from more complete weight transfer and decreased throw time to increase throwing test score. University athletes could benefit from increased throw time and greater range of motion in external shoulder rotation and trunk rotation to increase their throwing test score. Coaches and practitioners will be able to use the findings of this research to help improve these and related throwing variables in their high school and university quarterbacks.

#3 A Comparison of Pre-Season and In-Season Practice and Game Loads in NCAA Division I Football Players
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Jul 31. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002173. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Wellman AD, Coad SC, Flynn PJ, Siam TK, McLellan CP
Summary: The aim of the present study was to quantify the individual practice and game loads throughout an NCAA division I football season to determine if significant differences exist between the practice loads associated with pre-season training camp and those undertaken during the in-season period. Thirty-one NCAA division I football players were monitored using GPS and IA (MinimaxX S5; Catapult Innovations, Melbourne, Australia) during 22 pre-season practices, 36 in-season practices, and 12 competitions. The season was divided into four distinct phases for data analysis: pre-season week 1 (pre-season1), pre-season week 2 (pre-season2), pre-season week 3 (pre-season3), and 12 in-season weeks. Individual IA datasets represented players from every offensive and defensive position group (WR: n=5), (OL: n=4), (RB: n=4), (QB: n=2), (TE: n=3), (DL: n=4), (LB: n=4), (DB: n=5). Data were set at the practice level, where an observation for each player's maximum player load (PLMax) or mean player load (PLMean) from each training camp phase was referenced against each player's respective PL from each game, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday practice session. Notable results included significantly (p<0.05) greater PLMax values attributed to pre-season1 compared to PL resulting from all in-season practices, and significantly (p<0.05) higher cumulative PL reported for pre-season1, 2, and 3 compared to every in-season week. Data from the present study augment our understanding of the practice demands experienced by NCAA division I college football players, and provide scope for the improvement of pre-season practice design and physical conditioning strategies for coaches seeking to optimize performance.

#4 Performance and Return to Sport After Nonoperative Treatment of Clavicle Fractures in National Football League Players
Reference: Orthopedics. 2017 Aug 3:1-8. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20170719-03. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Jack RA 2nd, Sochacki KR, Navarro SM, McCulloch PC, Lintner DM, Harris JD.
Summary: Clavicle fractures are often seen in contact sports. The purpose of this study was to determine (1) return-to-sport (RTS) rate of National Football League (NFL) players following nonoperative treatment of clavicle fractures, (2) posttreatment career length and games per season, (3) pre- and posttreatment performance, and (4) posttreatment performance compared with control players matched by position, age, years of experience, and performance. Public records were used to identify NFL players who underwent nonoperative treatment of clavicle fractures. Demographic and performance data were collected for each player. Matched controls (position, age, experience, and performance) were identified. Control and case performance scores were calculated using a standardized scoring system. Return to sport was defined as playing a minimum of 1 game after treatment. Comparisons between the 2 groups and pre- and posttreatment time points were made using paired-samples Student's t tests. Thirty players (32 fractures) were analyzed. Two players fractured their contralateral clavicle. Of the players analyzed, 96.9% were able to RTS at a mean of 244.6±119.6 days. Eight players (27.6%) returned within the same season as their injury. Overall 1-year survival rate posttreatment was 93.5%. Players with nonoperative treatment had career lengths similar to those of controls (P>.05). No significant (P>.05) differences existed in demographic, performance, or games per season data between position groups for cases and matched controls pretreatment and preindex and in posttreatment compared with pretreatment performance scores. Wide receivers played fewer games per season (P=.043) following treatment. No position group had significantly worse posttreatment performance scores when compared with postindex matched controls.

Australian Football
#1 Inter- and intra-rater reliability of the Athletic Ability Assessment in sub-elite Australian Rules football players
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Jul 31. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002175. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Rogers DK, McKeown I, Parfitt G, Burgess D, Eston RG.
Summary: The aim of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-rater rater reliability of the Athletic Ability Assessment (AAA) in sub-elite Australian Rules football (ARF) players. Eighteen male ARF players completed the AAA movement assessment (overhead squat, double lunge [left and right], single leg Romanian deadlift [left and right], chin-up and push-up), on two occasions separated by one week. During the first movement assessment players were filmed in the frontal and sagittal planes. Ten raters took part in the study (one experienced rater and nine novices) and were assigned in a quasi-random manner, to complete either (a) real-time assessment on two occasions, (b) real-time assessment on one occasion or (c) video-based assessment on two occasions. When assessed in real-time, of the 7 component movements of the AAA, raters registered moderate or greater intra-rater agreement on between 2 and 5 occasions. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) of between 0.50 and 0.61 for the AAA total score indicated poor real-time intra-rater reliability for this variable. When assessed by video-recording, raters registered moderate or greater intra-rater agreement on between 6 and 7 occasions. The ICC for total score ranged between 0.60 and 0.93. Overall poor inter-rater reliability was evident for AAA component movements regardless of whether it was assessed in real-time or from video. Findings suggest the AAA is most reliably employed when assessed via video. It is recommended that if comparison between multiple raters is desired, a stringent training process be applied so that the interpretation of AAA scoring criteria is standardised across raters.

#2 Concussion guideline implementation perceptions and experiences among parents of community-level Australian Football junior players
Reference: BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2017 Apr 22;3(1):e000215. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000215. eCollection 2017.
Authors: White PE, Register-Mihalik J, Donaldson A, Sullivan SJ, Finch CF
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Summary: Concussion guidelines exist for multiple community sports. Parents are key stakeholders in guideline implementation and in appropriate responses following concussive injury. The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to understand how parents of community-level Australian Football (AF) players experience and perceive concussion guidelines in order to inform the design and implementation of concussion guidelines in community sport. A cross-sectional qualitative approach was adopted to allow for an open and detailed exploration of the views of parents of junior community AF players (ie, those aged <16 years) regarding concussion guidelines of the AF League (AFL)-the national governing body for AF. Participants were 15 parents of junior community AF players from two clubs affiliated with a large regional community AF League. The key experiences and perceptions of the parents included appreciation that the guidelines outlined the postconcussion process that should be followed, desires for better understanding of the guidelines by general practitioners (ie, medical doctors) who care for children with concussion, having more readily available information for parents and receiving more formal policy guiding timing of return-to-participation following concussion. Difficulties with the guidelines not addressing delayed presentations of concussion were also frequently mentioned. Parents are key stakeholders in concussion prevention and care in community sport. As such, their input should be considered when developing guidelines and resources for community sport. Furthermore, concussion information should be made available to parents in an easily accessible and community-friendly form.

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