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Sport Performance Newsletter - January Issue

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This month’s introductory letter is written by Dr. Bob Adams, chair of the USATF Sports Medicine and Science Committee.

Athletes, Coaches, and Sports Science and Medicine Professionals,

Our USATF Sports Medicine and Science Committee's mission is to provide comprehensive world class medical care USATF for athletes. We provide hands-on medical care and we serve as a resource for the latest information about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of injuries and medical issues relating to athletes. We search for legal methods to enhance performance. We were fortunate to have Robert Chapman, Ph.D., take the reins as Associate Director of Sports Science and Medicine in 2010. His enthusiasm and leadership has helped us to clarify our goals, to set priorities and to make specific plans as the 2011 World Championships in Daegu and the 2012 London Olympics rapidly approach. We work closely with the High Performance Committee and the Coaching Education Committee and we actively participate in USATF's Olympic quadrennium planning.

At the World Championships in Osaka in 2007 the IAAF began collecting data on injuries incurred during the nine days of competition. At least ten percent of registered athletes sustained an injury in practice or competition. More than half of these were expected to prevent the athlete from training or competing. This injury rate has been consistent in totals from Berlin (2009) and Qatar(2010 World Indoors). There was an overall9.6% injury rate during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, with track and field slightly higher at 11.3%. The rate of injury at the Moncton World Juniors in 2010 was approximately 5%. Know that to help counter these injury rates, USATF provides experienced team physicians, athletic trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors and sports psychologists for our international teams.

Athletes need access to year-round care. USATF has significantly increased reimbursement funding for treatment by their own providers. We often help direct athletes to experienced sports medicine professionals near their training sites. We are expanding our blood analysis and physiological testing programs. We will provide a stress adaption program at the training camp at Daegu prior to the World Championships this year. We also provide guidance and support to local organizing committees at domestic meets, national championships and the Olympic Trials.

Jack Ransone, Ph.D., ATC, helps coordinate our medical personnel as chair of the Medical Subcommitee. He coordinates schedules and ensures that our teams are well equipped with supplies and equipment as they compete around the world. Mark Troxler, D.O., ensures that we remain aware of doping control requirements of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), the United States Anti-Doping Committee (USADA) and the World Anti-Doping Committee (WADA). Our sports science subcommittee, under the direction of chair Melvin R. Ramey, Ph.D., works closely with Robert Chapman, Ph.D., and the High Performance Committee to provide state-of-the art research and direct support to coaches and athletes. Our sports psychology program is recognized as the world standard for its leadership, innovation, creativity, and service to athletes. Steve Portenga, Ph.D., is the current chair.

Several of our members will provide more details about our current and future programs in later editions of the newsletter.

Bob Adams, D.O., FACSM
USATF Sports Medicine and Science Committee

USATF Sports Science and Medicine notes

Congratulations to the 2010 recipients of the Dr. C. Harmon Brown Sports Medicine and Science awards:

  Melvin Ramey, PhD
  Cheryl Parker, PA, ATC
  Susan Snouse, PA, ATC
  Mark Troxler, DO


  • The nomination period for medical staff for the 2011 World Championships, 2011 Pan Am Games, and 2012 Olympic Games is now closed. However, medical providers are encouraged to fill out a national team staff application (if they have not already done so), to be placed in a pool for consideration for other international team staffs (such as World Cross Country, Pan Am Juniors, etc). The online application can be found at
  • Athletes are STRONGLY encouraged to renew their USATF membership for 2011 as soon as possible. Why? To maintain your coverage under USATF’s Accident Insurance Policy. This secondary accident insurance policy provides supplemental coverage for certain athlete medical costs in case of an acute injury or accident that occurs during a scheduled club practice, competition, in transit to practice or competition, or at USATF committee activities (like Sports Performance Workshops). Without an active 2011 membership, claims under this policy for injuries or accidents that occur in 2011 will be denied. To renew your USATF membership for 2011 and maintain this valuable coverage, visit For more information on the USATF Accident Insurance Policy, visit
  • For a calendar of upcoming Sports Performance Workshops, visit and click on Athlete Programs.

Sports Science and Medicine – new studies of note

Effect of pre-exercise body cooling on subsequent performance

A review of thirteen studies showed the effects of body cooling before aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Pre-exercise body cooling seems to have a positive effect on both types of exercise, though the effect is much more consistent and greater in magnitude with aerobic exercise; in aerobic exercise, body cooling resulted in an average increase in performance of 4.26%, while in anaerobic exercise the mean improvement in performance was 0.66%. Endurance athletes, especially those exercising in the heat, could see large performance benefits by body cooling before competition.

Fatigue causes potentially injurious changes in running form

Researchers have quantified how running form changes as a runner becomes fatigued, and they say these changes in form could cause an increased risk of injury. When runners in the study became fatigued, either by reaching 85% of their maximal heart rate or rating their effort as greater than 15 (on a scale of 20), they began to exhibit excessive range of motion. Extra joint motion is associated with increased strain and overuse injuries. When running at high intensities for long periods of times, runners should keep their running form in check to maintain a low injury risk!

The effect of extrinsic factors on 20-km cycling time trial performance

A recent study sought to determine if cycling in the lead or chase position affected 20-km time trial performance. Subjects cycled under four conditions: 1) all-out time trial (T1); 2) all-out time trial after seeing how they compared to other subjects during trial #1, attempting to improve on individual ranking (T2); 3) all-out time trial being placed in a leading position (TL); 4) all-out time trial after being placed in a chasing position (TC). Time trial performance was faster in T2 compared to T1, and also in TC compared to T1. Additionally, pacing during the chase trial was more even than pacing during the lead trial. However, there was no significant difference in performance time between the chase and lead trial. This study indicates that there may be extrinsic factors at play during competitive performance (i.e., knowing one’s individual rank beforehand was associated with better performance); however, the impact of positioning may not play an important role in time trial performance.

Have a question related to Sport Performance? Contact USATF’s Dr. Robert Chapman:r />

photo of Robert Chapman Robert Chapman, Ph.D. FACSM
Associate Director for Sports Science & Medicine

Phone: 317-713-4669

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