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Sports Performance and Health (in Times of COVID-19)

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 13372
Related Special Issue: Sports Performance and Health

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Biomechanics, Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2. Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, 831 25 Östersund, Sweden
Interests: biomechanics of sports; sports measurements technology; sports performance; injury prevention
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Orthopedics, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: sports performance enhancement and sports injury prevention

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sports performance is predominantly associated with elite sport, where athletes strive for a place on the podium, the most prestigious award being, probably, an Olympic gold medal. On the other hand, recreational athletes more and more tend to mimic elite athletes by trying to push their own limits. Both elite and recreational athletes, therefore, attempt to optimize their performance, but such optimization is associated with increased risk of injury and, in the current situation, with major coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related challenges. Therefore, despite the well-known positive health effects of physical activity, the prevention and management of sports-related injuries and issues in connection with COVID-19 remain major challenges to be addressed. Treating sports injuries and taking measures to ensure a safe sports participation in times of COVID-19 are often difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, and thus, preventive strategies and activities are justified on the basis of both medical and economic grounds. We are interested in manuscripts that examine sports performance- and health-related issues, also in the context of the current restrictions due to COVID-19. Potential topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Benefits of sport to physical or mental health
  • Tradeoffs between sports performance and health
  • Optimization of sports performance by training, technique, and/or tactics enhancement
  • Impacts of COVID-19-related restrictions on sports performance and health
  • Prevention and management of sport injuries
  • Prevention and management of COVID-19 infections in sports
  • Optimization of sports equipment to increase performance and/or decrease the risk of injury and COVID-19
  • Innovations for sports performance, health, load monitoring, and digital coaching (in times of COVID-19)

Prof. Dr. Matej Supej
PD Dr. Jörg Spörri
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Sports Biomechanics
  • Sports Physiology
  • Musculoskeletal Imaging
  • Sports Psychology
  • Sports Psychiatry
  • Sports Engineering
  • Sports science
  • Sports Medicine
  • Performance Diagnostics
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Injury Prevention
  • Injury Risk
  • COVID-19
  • Olympic Sport
  • Competitive Sport
  • Recreational Sport

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 2054 KiB  
Article
Application of Experimental Measurements in a Wind Tunnel to the Development of a Model for Aerodynamic Drag on Elite Slalom and Giant Slalom Alpine Skiers
by Matej Majerič, Nina Verdel, Jan Ogrin, Hans-Christer Holmberg and Matej Supej
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(2), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12020902 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1662
Abstract
Aerodynamic drag is a major cause of energy losses during alpine ski racing. Here we developed two models for monitoring the aerodynamic drag on elite alpine skiers in the technical disciplines. While 10 skiers assumed standard positions (high, middle, tuck) with exposure to [...] Read more.
Aerodynamic drag is a major cause of energy losses during alpine ski racing. Here we developed two models for monitoring the aerodynamic drag on elite alpine skiers in the technical disciplines. While 10 skiers assumed standard positions (high, middle, tuck) with exposure to different wind speeds (40, 60, and 80 km/h) in a wind tunnel, aerodynamic drag was assessed with a force plate, shoulder height with video-based kinematics, and cross-sectional area with interactive image segmentation. The two regression models developed had 3.9–7.7% coefficients of variation and 4.5–16.5% relative limits of agreement. The first was based on the product of the coefficient of aerodynamic drag and cross-sectional area (Cd∙S) and the second on the coefficient of aerodynamic drag Cd and normalized cross-sectional area of the skier Sn, both expressed as a function of normalized shoulder height (hn). In addition, normative values for Cd (0.75 ± 0.09–1.17 ± 0.09), Sn (0.51 ± 0.03–0.99 ± 0.05), hn (0.48 ± 0.03–0.79 ± 0.02), and Cd∙S (0.23 ± 0.03–0.66 ± 0.09 m2) were determined for the three different positions and wind speeds. Since the uncertainty in the determination of energy losses due to aerodynamic drag relative to total energy loss with these models is expected to be <2.5%, they provide a valuable tool for analysis of skiing performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Performance and Health (in Times of COVID-19))
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10 pages, 2535 KiB  
Article
At the End of a Slippery Slope: A Pilot Study of Deceleration Mats for Snow Tubing
by Irving S. Scher, Lenka Stepan, Jasper E. Shealy and Christopher Stoddard
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 10501; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112110501 - 8 Nov 2021
Viewed by 2217
Abstract
On-slope pilot testing of snow tubes was conducted at two ski areas in the United States to examine the effects of deceleration mats. Snow tube and rider kinematics were measured using an instrumented bodysuit and a GPS system worn by the rider. For [...] Read more.
On-slope pilot testing of snow tubes was conducted at two ski areas in the United States to examine the effects of deceleration mats. Snow tube and rider kinematics were measured using an instrumented bodysuit and a GPS system worn by the rider. For each test, the riders descended a tubing run with minimal input and stopped in the run-out area. Snow tube and rider speeds when entering the run-out area were controlled to be approximately 9.5 m/s. Test trials were conducted with and without deceleration mats. Four deceleration mat conditions were tested, including two raised surface protuberances (ribs and projections) and two mat geometry parameters (flat and folded). The deceleration and effective coefficient of friction (COF) were determined for each trial. Data were recorded for 75 test trials with a mean (± standard deviation) speed entering the run-out area of 9.5 (±1.8) m/s. There were no significant differences in the deceleration or effective coefficient of friction between the surface protuberance conditions. The peak deceleration and effective COF for the folded mats (5.1 ± 1.6 m/s2 and 0.26 ± 0.14) was greater than for the flat (3.3 ± 0.8 m/s2 and 0.10 ± 0.07) and no mat (0.06 ± 0.3 m/s2 and 0.08 ± 0.03) conditions (all p < 0.05). Deceleration mats in run-out areas slow snow tube riders faster than without deceleration mats. Folding the deceleration mats produced greater deceleration but did not produce significantly different kinematics for the riders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Performance and Health (in Times of COVID-19))
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9 pages, 232 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Ski Geometry Data and Standing Height on the Risk of Falling in Recreational Alpine Skiers
by Gerhard Ruedl, Markus Posch, Klaus Greier, Martin Faulhaber and Martin Burtscher
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 9912; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11219912 - 23 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1741
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of individual, equipment-related and environmental factors associated with falls among adult recreational skiers. Individual, equipment-related (ski geometry data) and environmental data were collected by questionnaire among uninjured skiers with and without reported falls [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of individual, equipment-related and environmental factors associated with falls among adult recreational skiers. Individual, equipment-related (ski geometry data) and environmental data were collected by questionnaire among uninjured skiers with and without reported falls during the skiing day. Ski length, side cut radius, and width of the waist were directly recorded from the ski and standing height was measured using a digital sliding caliper. Absolute ski length was relativized to body height. A total of 1174 recreational skiers participated in this study, of whom 13.5% (n = 158) reported at least one fall during the skiing day. Results of the multiple logistic regression analysis found that a lower age, a very good/good fitness level, a moderate skiing speed, a lower relativized ski length, and fresh and grippy snow conditions decreased, while a lower skill level, a larger sidecut radius and an easy slope difficulty increased risk of falling on ski slopes. Besides individual and environmental factors, a lower relativized ski length and a lower sidecut radius decreased the risk of falling. Considering these ski geometry parameters when buying new skis could potentially decrease the risk of falling and thus prevent injuries in recreational skiers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Performance and Health (in Times of COVID-19))
9 pages, 532 KiB  
Article
Severe Reduction of Energy Availability in Controlled Conditions Causes Poor Endurance Performance, Impairs Explosive Power and Affects Hormonal Status in Trained Male Endurance Athletes
by Iva Jurov, Nicola Keay and Samo Rauter
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(18), 8618; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11188618 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1712
Abstract
The aim of this study was to severely reduce energy availability (EA) in controlled conditions in trained male endurance athletes to observe any effects on health, performance, and psychological and energy markers. EA was reduced by 50% over 14 days in athletes by [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to severely reduce energy availability (EA) in controlled conditions in trained male endurance athletes to observe any effects on health, performance, and psychological and energy markers. EA was reduced by 50% over 14 days in athletes by maintaining identical energy intake and increasing exercise energy expenditure. Blood was drawn, performance was measured by three specific tests (endurance, explosive power and agility) and two psychological questionnaires were used. Reduced EA (17.3 ± 5.0 kcal/kg FFM/day) resulted in lower body fat% (t(12) = 3.36, p = 0.006), lower power output and relative power output (t(12) = 2.69, p = 0.021 t(12) = 2.34, p = 0.036), explosive power was reduced (t(12) = 6.41, p = 0.000), lactate metabolism was altered (p = 0.001). EA was negatively correlated with haemoglobin and testosterone (r = −0.557, p = 0.30 and r = −0.532, p = 0.037), anaerobic threshold (r = −0.597, p = 0.02) and respiratory compensation point (r = −0.575, p = 0.025). There were significant differences in Well-being (t(12) = 4.11, p = 0.002) and the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (t(12) = −2.71, p = 0.020). This is the first study to demonstrate that endurance performance and explosive power can be affected before detrimental health effects occur in male athletes. Drastic reductions of EA could lead to poor eating behaviours. The two psychological questionnaires seem to be more sensitive to EA changes than blood markers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Performance and Health (in Times of COVID-19))
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10 pages, 1070 KiB  
Communication
A Proposal for a Standardized Approach to Inducing Low Energy Availability in Athletes
by Iva Jurov, Nicola Keay, Vedran Hadžić and Samo Rauter
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6679; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156679 - 21 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
Low energy availability in athletes is an insufficiently researched phenomenon due to lack of a universal methodology. Current objective and subjective methods for assessing low energy availability lack in accuracy, are not used with a standardized approach and fail to provide comparable, consistent [...] Read more.
Low energy availability in athletes is an insufficiently researched phenomenon due to lack of a universal methodology. Current objective and subjective methods for assessing low energy availability lack in accuracy, are not used with a standardized approach and fail to provide comparable, consistent results. Research in male athletes is even more challenging than in females. It is still not known what the threshold for low energy availability is when negative effects on health and performance occur. This is why in this paper a two-way standardized, systematic and controlled protocol for inducing low energy availability in free-living athletes is proposed. Ways of inducing low energy availability in athletes are described with a systematic approach to ensure accurate results. We suggest this is how new tools for assessing low energy availability can be developed with less burden on the athlete and the scientist. Analysis of each proposed protocol provides a rationale for their use. Future research directions are suggested for determining the threshold for low energy availability and determining the critical duration for its negative effects. Finally, we suggest a practical outcome of using the proposed research approach for health practitioners and coaches in order to protect athlete’s well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Performance and Health (in Times of COVID-19))
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15 pages, 815 KiB  
Systematic Review
Motion Technologies in Support of Fence Athletes: A Systematic Review
by Simona Aresta, Mariapia Musci, Francesco Bottiglione, Lorenzo Moretti, Biagio Moretti and Ilaria Bortone
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(3), 1654; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13031654 - 28 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2512
Abstract
Sports biomechanics enables thorough examination of athletic movements to enhance athletic performance and/or reduce injury risk. Few studies have looked at the possibilities of cutting-edge technology in fencing, even though it presents an intriguing scenario for sports biomechanics due to the significant demands [...] Read more.
Sports biomechanics enables thorough examination of athletic movements to enhance athletic performance and/or reduce injury risk. Few studies have looked at the possibilities of cutting-edge technology in fencing, even though it presents an intriguing scenario for sports biomechanics due to the significant demands it places on the body in terms of neuromuscular coordination, strength, power, and musculoskeletal system impact. The aim of the study is to identify and summarise current evidence on the application of motion technologies in support of fence athletes and to provide a framework for the assessment and training of fencers, including performance measures and protocols. Peer-reviewed research was identified from electronic databases using a structured keyword search. Details regarding experimental design, study group characteristics, and measured outcomes were extracted from retrieved studies, summarised, and information regrouped under themes for analysis. The methodological quality of the evidence was evaluated. Thirty-five studies were included in the present review, which showed kinetic, kinematic, muscle recruitment and coordination differences among athletes as gender and athletic training differed. Findings revealed that most of the included studies investigated the lunge technique in professional athletes using Optoelectronic Systems and force platforms as preferred motion technologies. Only nine studies reported the assessment of muscle activation during task execution (25.7%). Less than 20% of the study recurred to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) approaches in the analysis. The potential contribution of the user’s kinematic/kinetic data and physiological measures is still underestimated. The recommendations provided in this study could help promote and support further cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Performance and Health (in Times of COVID-19))
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