Latest research in football - week 28 - 2021

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 Preseason Training Program With the Nordic Hamstring Exercise Increases Eccentric Knee Flexor Strength and Fascicle Length in Professional Female Soccer Players

Reference: Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2021 Apr 1;16(2):459-467.  doi: 10.26603/001c.19452.

Authors: Karoline Baptista Vianna, Lívia Gonçalves Rodrigues, Nathalia Trevisol Oliveira, João Breno Ribeiro-Alvares, Bruno Manfredini Baroni

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Summary: Training programs that include the Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) have been shown to increase eccentric knee flexor strength and biceps femoris fascicle length in male athletes. However, the effect of NHE on female athletes remains unknown. The aim was to investigate the collective and individual responses of professional female soccer players engaged in a preseason training program with the NHE regarding eccentric knee flexor strength and biceps femoris long head fascicle length. Sixteen amateur female soccer players (without a NHE training routine) were evaluated 8-weeks apart to: (1) assess reliability of eccentric knee flexor strength and biceps femoris fascicle length measures; and (2) determine the typical error of measures that would be used to discriminate training responders and non-responders. The NHE training group had 17 professional female soccer players who performed an 8-week training program with the NHE during preseason. Within-group analysis was performed with paired sample t-tests (pre- vs. post-training), and individual responses were determined using the typical error criteria. The non-trained group's data demonstrated that measures of strength (ICC=0.82-0.87, typical error = 12-13 N) and fascicle length (ICC=0.92-0.97; typical error = 0.19-0.38 cm) were reliable. In the NHE training group, both limbs increased the eccentric knee flexor strength (~13%; ES=0.74-0.82) and the biceps femoris fascicle length (~6%; ES=0.44-0.65). Twelve players (~71%) were considered responders to the NHE training program for the eccentric knee flexor strength, while eight athletes (~47%) were responders for the biceps femoris fascicle length. The 8-week preseason training program with the NHE increased both eccentric knee flexor strength and biceps femoris fascicle length in professional female soccer players. More than two-thirds of players demonstrated a meaningful increase in eccentric strength, while nearly half achieved consistent fascicle length increases with the NHE training.



#2 Screening to Detect Hip and Groin Problems in Elite Adolescent Football (Soccer) Players - Friend or Foe?

Reference: Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2021 Apr 2;16(2):591-593.  doi: 10.26603/001c.21525.

Authors: Matthew D DeLang, J Craig Garrison, Kristian Thorborg

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Summary: Injury prevention strategies in team settings should not overlook early detection and secondary prevention. Monitoring systems may be an effective approach to detect common and troublesome injuries, such as hip and groin pain in football (soccer) players. The purpose of this International Perspective is to share our experiences with monitoring hip and groin pain in youth academy football and discuss challenges that surfaced. We consider why players may not accurately report pain, their perceptions of groin pain, and whether all groin pain is clinically meaningful.



#3 How Soccer Scouts Identify Talented Players

Reference: Eur J Sport Sci. 2021 Apr 16;1-39.  doi: 10.1080/17461391.2021.1916081. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Tom L G Bergkamp, Wouter G P Frencken, A Susan M Niessen, Rob R Meijer, Ruud J R den Hartigh

Summary: Scouts of soccer clubs are often the first to identify talented players. However, there is a lack of research on how these scouts assess and predict overall soccer performance. Therefore, we conducted a large-scaled study to examine the process of talent identification among 125 soccer scouts. Through an online self-report questionnaire, scouts were asked about 1) the players' age at which they can predict players' soccer performance, 2) the attributes they consider relevant, and 3) the extent to which they predict performance in a structured manner. The most important results are as follows. First, scouts who observed 12-year-old and younger players perceived they could predict at older ages (13.6 years old, on average) whether a player has the potential to become a professional soccer player. This suggests that scouts are aware of the idea that early indicators of later performance are often lacking, yet do advise on selection of players at younger ages. Second, when identifying talented players, scouts considered more easily observable attributes, such as technical attributes. However, scouts described these often in a broad sense rather than in terms of specific predictors of future performance. Finally, scouts reported that they assess attributes of players in a structured manner. Yet, they ultimately based their prediction (i.e., final score) on an intuitive integration of different performance attributes, which is a suboptimal strategy according to existing literature. Taken together, these outcomes provide specific clues to improve the reliability and validity of the scouting process.



#4 Biceps Femoris Compensates for Semitendinosus After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction With a Hamstring Autograft: A Muscle Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study in Male Soccer Players

Reference: Am J Sports Med. 2021 Apr 16;3635465211003309.  doi: 10.1177/03635465211003309. 

Authors: Thomas Tampere, Jan Victor, Thomas Luyckx, Hannes Vermue, Nele Arnout, Erik Witvrouw, Joke Schuermans

Summary: Rates of reinjury, return to play (RTP) at the preinjury level, and hamstring strain injuries in male soccer players after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) remain unsatisfactory, due to multifactorial causes. Recent insights on intramuscular hamstring coordination revealed the semitendinosus (ST) to be of crucial importance for hamstring functioning, especially during heavy eccentric hamstring loading. Scientific evidence on the consequences of ST tendon harvest for ACLR is scarce and inconsistent. This study intended to investigate the repercussions of ST harvest for ACLR on hamstring muscle function. The hypothesis is that harvesting of the ST tendon for ACLR was expected to have a significant influence on hamstring muscle activation patterns during eccentric exercises, evaluated at RTP in a population of male soccer athletes. A total of 30 male soccer players with a history of ACLR who were cleared for RTP and 30 healthy controls were allocated to this study during the 2018-2019 soccer season. The influence of ACLR on hamstring muscle activation patterns was assessed by comparing the change in T2 relaxation times [ΔT2 (%) = post−exercise−T2pre−exerciseT2pre−exercisepost-exercise-T2pre-exerciseT2pre-exercise] of the hamstring muscle tissue before and after an eccentric hamstring loading task between athletes with and without a recent history of ACLR through use of muscle functional magnetic resonance imaging, induced by an eccentric hamstring loading task between scans. Significantly higher exercise-related activity was observed in the biceps femoris (BF) of athletes after ACLR compared with uninjured control athletes (13.92% vs 8.48%; P = .003), whereas the ST had significantly lower activity (19.97% vs 25.32%; P = .049). Significant differences were also established in a within-group comparison of the operated versus the contralateral leg in the ACLR group (operated vs nonoperated leg: 14.54% vs 11.63% for BF [P = .000], 17.31% vs 22.37% for ST [P = .000], and 15.64% vs 13.54% for semimembranosus [SM] [P = .014]). Neither the muscle activity of SM and gracilis muscles nor total posterior thigh muscle activity (sum of exercise-related ΔT2 of the BF, ST, and SM muscles) presented any differences in individuals who had undergone ACLR with an ST tendon autograft compared with healthy controls. These findings indicate that ACLR with a ST tendon autograft might notably influence the function of the hamstring muscles and, in particular, their hierarchic dimensions under fatiguing loading circumstances, with increases in relative BF activity contribution and decreases in relative ST activity after ACLR. This between-group difference in hamstring muscle activation pattern suggests that the BF partly compensates for deficient ST function in eccentric loading. These alterations might have implications for athletic performance and injury risk and should probably be considered in rehabilitation and hamstring injury prevention after ACLR with a ST tendon autograft.



#5 Evaluation of stoppage time due to field injuries in professional football games: do players really need medical help so often?

Reference: Res Sports Med. 2021 Apr 16;1-10.  doi: 10.1080/15438627.2021.1917409. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Gürhan Dönmez, Şerife Şeyma Torgutalp, Ömer Özkan, Ömer Faruk İlicepınar, Feza Korkusuz, Savaş Kudaş

Summary: This study aimed to identify the incidence of stoppage time due to field injuries in professional football (soccer) games and to evaluate if the players involved really need medical care and whether team physicians deal with fake injuries. A total of 893 injury time-outs occurred leading to 956 treatments during 266 matches included in the study. The mean stoppage time was 88.7 ± 34.4 seconds. Less than one fifth of the injuries (17.4%) resulted in an impossibility to complete the game. The overall time-loss injury incidence which led players to miss the next game was 9.1/1000 match-hours (n = 80, 8.4% of all injuries). The players on teams in the lead at the time of the incident had significantly higher injury time-out incidence than players on teams who were losing (p < 0.05). Increasing the knowledge of team physicians, coaches, referees, and rule-makers about the medical needs of players during the game will help to identify the behaviour pattern of players.



#6 Acceleration and High-Speed Running Profiles of Women's International and Domestic Football Matches

Reference: Front Sports Act Living. 2021 Mar 25;3:604605.  doi: 10.3389/fspor.2021.604605. eCollection 2021.

Authors: Jesse Griffin, Timothy Newans, Sean Horan, Justin Keogh, Melissa Andreatta, Clare Minahan

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Summary: Acceleration and deceleration are important given football is an intermittent sport with constant changes in velocity and direction. It is unclear, however, if the accelerations and decelerations performed by players differ between competition levels. The aim of the present study was to compare the acceleration, deceleration, and high-speed running profiles of players during international and domestic matches and to determine if differences were apparent across playing positions (defenders, midfielders, and attackers). GPS data from 21 Australian women's domestic football league matches over 2 seasons (2016-2018) and 15 Australian women's international matches (2017-2018) were collected and analyzed. Movement pattern data was collected using VX Sport and GPSports 10 Hz GPS receivers. Variables analyzed included: total distance, distance covered high-speed running (16-20 km·h-1) distance covered sprinting (> 20 km·h-1) and time spent accelerating and decelerating in four predetermined bands (1-2 m·s-2, 2-3 m·s-2, 3-4 m·s-2, and > 4 m·s-2). Results revealed that players competing in international matches covered significantly greater total distances, greater high-speed running distances and greater sprinting distances as well as spending a greater duration accelerating in band 4 compared to players in domestic competitions (p < 0.05). Players competing in international matches spent significantly less duration decelerating in bands 2 and 3, compared to players in domestic competitions. International defenders and midfielders recorded significantly higher total distances and high-speed running distance compared to players in domestic matches. Our findings suggest that preparing players for international-level competition should include progressive exposure to high-speed running and sprinting distances, as well as high magnitude accelerations. Furthermore, the higher running speeds experienced by players during international matches appears to be a result of less time spent decelerating. The optimal deceleration necessary for specific situations appears important and emphasizes the need for specific deceleration training. The increased effort of high-intensity activity that is required for players competing in international matches affects defenders and midfielders to the greatest degree. Gradual exposure to the increased running demands for midfielders and defenders competing in international matches is needed to improve performance and reduce the potential risk of injury.



#7 Does the chronotype distribution vary between different level football leagues? Insights gained from Czech elite football players

Reference: Chronobiol Int. 2021 Apr 11;1-8. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2021.1912075. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Pavol Pivovarnicek, Dominika Kondratova, Efrem Kentiba, Ludmila Jancokova, Tomas Maly

Summary: Chronotype refer to individuals' time-of-day preferences for activities, which can be classified as "morning types = (M-types)", "evening types = (E-types)", and "neither types (N-types)". The primary aim of this study was to compare the chronotype distribution of Czech First League (1L) and Czech National Football League (2L) male elite football players, which was divided into two secondary aims: (i) statistically identify and compare the number (presence) of particular chronotypes in 1L, and (ii) statistically identify and compare the number (presence) of particular chronotypes in 2L. The present cross-sectional study employed a self-reported standardized questionnaire, the Composite Scale of Morningness, to study the chronotype distribution among the male elite football players. The chronotype distribution of 139 (85 from 1L with mean age ± S.D. = 25.5 ± 3.7 years and 54 from 2L age = 24.4 ± 4.5 years) players was assessed. Overall, 61 (71.8%) of the participants from 1L were mainly N-types, followed by M- and E-types. Similarly, 40 (74.1%) participants from 2L were mainly N-types, followed by M- and E-types. The statistical analysis of the 1L players showed a significantly higher presence of N-types compared to M- and E-types (χ2(2) = 57.62, p < .05, V = .58). The same results were detected in 2L, where the N-type was identified in the majority of football players (χ2(2) = 57.62, p < .05, V = .58). The statistical comparison of the number of presented chronotypes did not show a significant difference (F = 3.29, p > .05, V = .16) between players of the 1L and 2L. Thus, N-types are dominant among Czech elite football players, and the chronotype distribution of male elite football players from the Czech First League and the Czech National Football League does not vary.



#8 Drill design using the 'control-chaos continuum': Blending science and art during return to sport following knee injury in elite football

Reference: Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Feb 24;50:22-35.  doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2021.02.011. Online ahead of print.

Authors: T Allen, S Wilson, D D Cohen, M Taberner

Summary: Establishing the level of risk, planning and adapting the return to sport (RTS) process following a complex knee injury involves drawing on a combination of relevant high-quality evidence and practitioner experience. On-pitch rehabilitation is a critical element of this process, providing an effective transition from rehabilitation to team training. The 'control-chaos continuum' (CCC) is an adaptable framework for on-pitch rehabilitation moving from high control to high chaos, progressively increasing running load demands and incorporating greater perceptual and neurocognitive challenges within sport-specific drills. Drills are a key element of the CCC, and are designed to ensure specificity, ecological validity and maintaining player interest. We showcase drill progression through the phases of the CCC, highlighting the use of constraints to create drills that incorporate the physical, technical, tactical and injury-specific needs of the player. We also provide recommendations to help practitioners create training session content using the CCC to help replicate the demands of team training within their own environment.



#9 Analysis of the worst-case scenarios in an elite football team: Towards a better understanding and application

Reference: J Sports Sci. 2021 Apr 10;1-10.  doi: 10.1080/02640414.2021.1902138. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Andrew R Novak, Franco M Impellizzeri, Arjav Trivedi, Aaron J Coutts, Alan McCall

Summary: This study investigated the variability in the worst-case scenario (WCS) and suggested a framework to improve the definition and guide further investigation. Optical tracking data from 26 male players across 38 matches were analysed to determine the WCS for total distance, high-speed running (>5.5 m.s-1) and sprinting (>7.0 m.s-1) using a 3-minute rolling window. Position, total output, previous epoch, match half, time of occurrence, classification of starter vs substitute, and minutes played were modelled as selected contextual factors hypothesized to have associations with the WCS. Linear mixed effects models were used to account for cross-sectional observations and repeated measures. Unexplained variance remained high (total distance R2 = 0.53, high-speed running R2 = 0.53 and sprinting R2 = 0.40). Intra-individual variability was also high (total distance CV = 4.6-8.2%; high-speed CV = 15.6-37.8% and Sprinting CV = 21.1-76.4%). The WCS defined as the maximal physical load in a given time-window, produces unstable metrics lacking context, with high variability. Furthermore, training drills targetting this metric concurrently across players may not have representative designs and may underprepare athletes for complete match demands and multifaceted WCS scenarios. Using WCS as benchmarks (reproducing similar physical activity for training purposes) is conceptually questionable.



#10 The trunk is exploited for energy transfers of maximal instep soccer kick: A power flow study

Reference: J Biomech. 2021 Apr 9;121:110425.  doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2021.110425. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Diego da Silva Carvalho, Juliana Melo Ocarino, Aline de Castro Cruz, Leonardo Drumond Barsante, Breno Gonçalves Teixeira, Renan Alves Resende, Sérgio Teixeira Fonseca, Thales Rezende Souza

Summary: The purpose of this study was to investigate the angular kinetic energy transfers and expenditure among the trunk (bisegmented), the pelvis and the kick limb during maximal soccer instep kicking, and to characterize kicking kinetics and kinematics. Eighteen adult male amateur soccer players (24.0 ± 4.1 years old) were assessed. Three-dimensional kinematics and ground reaction force were measured. A 6-degrees-of-freedom model was assumed, comprising the upper trunk, lower trunk, pelvis, thigh, shank and foot, and the thoraco-lumbar, lumbo-pelvic, hip, knee, and ankle joints. Angular kinematics and joint moments were computed. Power flow analysis was done by calculating the joint powers (to describe joint-to-segments energy transfers) and the proximal and distal segment powers (to describe segment-to-segment transfers). Power, kinematic and kinetic time series were presented to describe the energy flows' directions. The total mechanical energy expenditure (TMEE) at each joint was also calculated. The TMEEs pointed to substantial energy expenditure at the trunk (27% of the summed work produced by the analyzed joints). In the initial phases of kicking, the trunk generates downward energy flows from the upper to the lower trunk and from the lower trunk to the pelvis, and then to the lower limb, sequentially, which favors angular motions for ball contact. There is a formation and release of a tension arc only at the hip joint, and deceleration of the segments slightly sooner than ball contact, differently from theoretical accounts. There are energy flows, hitherto unknown, among the trunk, pelvis and kick limb, revealing mechanical strategies of kicking.



#11 The effects of free weights and iso-inertial resistance during semi-squatting exercise on amateur soccer players' physical performance indicators: a randomized controlled study

Reference: J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2021 Apr 19.  doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12281-9. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Andreas Fousekis, Konstantinos Fousekis, Georgios Fousekis, Vasiliki Manou, Yiannis Michailidis, Charalambos Zelenitsas, Thomas Metaxas

Summary: The aim was to compare the effects of two lower extremity strengthening programs using iso-inertial resistance or free weights on amateur soccer players' physical performance indicators. Thirty-five amateur soccer players (average age 22.6±5.1 years) were randomly assigned to iso-inertial group (n=11) or free-weight group (n=11), or control group (n=13). The groups performed two training sessions per week for six weeks. Before and after the strengthening implementation, physical performance indicators were evaluated, including the isokinetic knee extensors and flexors' strength, power, speed, and agility. The significance level was set at p<0.05. The iso-inertial training resistance led to an increase in the hamstrings' eccentric strength at 60°/s and 150°/s (p<0.05) compared to the free-weight resistance (p>0.05) and the controls (p>0.05). No other significant adaptations were observed in the other isokinetic strength, power, speed (10-m, p=0.052) and agility measurements (Illinois agility test, p=0.059). In ratio (knee flexors/knee extensors) the only differences observed was at 150 o/s for iso-inertial group (p<0.05). Iso-inertial resistance training during semi squatting can enhance the hamstrings' eccentric performance andthe soccer players' speed and agility compared to the classic free-weight training program, which should considered when designing strength and injury prevention programs.



#12 Progression from youth to professional soccer: A longitudinal study of successful and unsuccessful academy graduates

Reference: Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2021 Apr;31 Suppl 1:73-84. doi: 10.1111/sms.13701.

Authors: James H Dugdale, Dajo Sanders, Tony Myers, A Mark Williams, Angus M Hunter

Summary: The aim was to optimize use of available resources, professional academies develop strategies to assess, monitor, and evaluate players as they progress through adolescence toward adulthood. However, few published reports exist using longitudinal study designs to examine performance throughout adolescence and the transition from youth to professional soccer. We examined differences in the age of player recruitment alongside longitudinal performance differences on field-based fitness tests of successful vs. unsuccessful graduates across the entire age spectrum recruited by a professional soccer academy. Altogether, 537 youth soccer players volunteered to participate. We recorded the age of recruitment, biannual fitness test performance, and subsequent success in attaining a senior professional contract at the club across a period of 12 years. Only 53 (10%) of players were successful in obtaining a professional contract, with 68% of players who became professional being recruited at 12 years of age or older. Individuals recruited at an earlier age did not display a higher probability of success in attaining a professional contract. Bayesian regression models reported a consistent interaction between age and group for data on all performance measures. Moreover, "successful" academy graduates only physically outperformed their "unsuccessful" counterparts from age ~13-14 years onward, with either no differences in performance, or performance on physical fitness tests favoring "unsuccessful" players prior to this age. Findings suggest that high achievers during childhood and early adolescence may not develop into successful senior professionals, raising concerns about the predictive utility of talent identification models.



#13 Confusion Reigns: An Analysis of Responses to U.S. Soccer Age Cut-Off Date Policy Change

Reference: Front Sports Act Living. 2021 Mar 25;3:635195.  doi: 10.3389/fspor.2021.635195. eCollection 2021.

Authors: Kristy L Smith, Sara Scarfone, Laura Chittle, Sean Horton, Jess C Dixon

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Summary: Relative age effects (RAEs) have been associated with the common practice of grouping athletes by chronological age. Development and selection advantages are often awarded to those who are born closer to, but following, the cut-off date employed by sport systems. In 2015, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced that it would be changing its birth-year registration cut-off date from August 1st to January 1st. This change was introduced to align the U.S. youth soccer calendar with international standards, and simultaneously provide clearer information on player birthdates to "lessen" RAEs. The magnitude of this policy change has led to considerable controversy, with members of the soccer community taking to social media and website blogs, as well as the U.S. Youth Soccer's website, to voice their opinions and general unhappiness with this decision. Thus, the purpose of this study was to provide a summary of online reactions to the policy change, with attention to the manner in which the U.S. Soccer Federation framed (i.e., the underlying rationale for the decision) and publicly communicated its decision to change the annual cut-off date. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze data collected from 63 social media sites (websites, n = 43; forums, n = 16; blogs, n = 4). From the 3,851 pages of text derived from these sources, a total of 404 unique passages of text were identified within 262 stakeholder posts. Four categories emerged from the data: stakeholder discussion, outcomes identified by stakeholders, recommended courses of action, and communication regarding the policy change. In general, the actions of the U.S. Soccer Federation and related outcomes were negatively perceived by stakeholders at various levels of the sport. Resistance to the change may have been reduced through enhanced communication from the national level and opportunities for stakeholder input. While one objective of this policy change was to combat RAEs, previous research suggests this organizational change will only shift which group of athletes experience relative age (dis)advantages. There appears to be a disconnect between the academic literature and sport policy with respect to solutions for RAEs, which can lead to unintended consequences for various sport stakeholders.



#14 Association of Skeletal Maturity and Injury Risk in Elite Youth Soccer Players: A 4-Season Prospective Study With Survival Analysis

Reference: Orthop J Sports Med. 2021 Mar 31;9(3):2325967121999113.  doi: 10.1177/2325967121999113. eCollection 2021 Mar.

Authors: Olivier Materne, Karim Chamari, Abdulaziz Farooq, Adam Weir, Per Hölmich, Roald Bahr, Matt Greig, Lars R McNaughton

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Summary: The association between injury risk and skeletal maturity in youth soccer has received little attention. The aim was to prospectively investigate injury patterns and incidence in relation to skeletal maturity in elite youth academy soccer players and to determine the injury risks associated with the skeletal maturity status, both overall and to the lower limb apophysis. Descriptive epidemiology study. All injuries that required medical attention and led to time loss were recorded prospectively during 4 consecutive seasons in 283 unique soccer players from U-13 (12 years of age) to U-19 (18 years). The skeletal age (SA) was assessed in 454 player-seasons using the Fels method, and skeletal maturity status (SA minus chronological age) was classified as follows: late, SA >1 year behind chronological age; normal, SA ±1 year of chronological age; early, SA >1 year ahead of chronological age; and mature, SA = 18 years. An adjusted Cox regression model was used to analyze the injury risk.

A total of 1565 injuries were recorded; 60% were time-loss injuries, resulting in 17,772 days lost. Adjusted injury-free survival analysis showed a significantly greater hazard ratio (HR) for different status of skeletal maturity: early vs normal (HR = 1.26 [95% CI, 1.11-1.42]; P < .001) and early vs mature (HR = 1.35 [95% CI, 1.17-1.56]; P < .001). Players who were skeletally mature at the wrist had a substantially decreased risk of lower extremity apophyseal injuries (by 45%-61%) compared with late (P < .05), normal (P < .05), and early (P < .001) maturers. Musculoskeletal injury patterns and injury risks varied depending on the players' skeletal maturity status. Early maturers had the greatest overall adjusted injury risk. Players who were already skeletally mature at the wrist had the lowest risk of lower extremity apophyseal injuries but were still vulnerable for hip and pelvis apophyseal injuries.



#15 Quantitative EEG in sports: performance level estimation of professional female soccer players

Reference: Health Inf Sci Syst. 2021 Mar 26;9(1):14.  doi: 10.1007/s13755-021-00144-w. eCollection 2021 Dec.

Authors: Kittichai Tharawadeepimuk, Yodchanan Wongsawat

Summary: Measuring the peak performance of athletes remains a challenge in movement science and sports psychology. Non-invasive quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) recordings can be used to analyze various factors in sports psychology. In this context, sports-related psychological factors were used to estimate the performance of Thai professional female soccer players before a competition. The QEEG recordings of thirty-two players were recorded three times: twice before a competition (once a week) and a week after a competition. Four factors of sports psychology were estimated and observed: anxiety, perceptual response to an acute bout of brain activity, assertiveness, and brain central fatigue. A brain topographic map (absolute power) and brain connectivity (coherence and amplitude asymmetry) data were used to analyze sports-related psychological factors. These factors were measurable based on the brain activity of the athletes and could be used to evaluate their performance during competitions by using QEEG values. Sports-related psychological performance was estimated by Pearson's correlation coefficients, which revealed that a quick perceptual response to an acute bout of brain activity could predict an athlete's performance during competition (r = .584, p = .000). Additionally, Spearman's correlation coefficients were used to estimate athletes performance. The results revealed a strong relationship ( rsrs =.634, p = .000), which was derived from the summation of anxiety and perceptual response to an acute bout of brain activity. Consequently, the results of the present study can provide information to help staff coaches to choose the best performing players, representing an alternative method for accurately selecting key players in the competitive sports community.


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