FSI Football Science Update

Fecal microbiota monitoring in elite soccer players along the 2019-2020 competitive season.

Viciani E, Barone M, Bongiovanni T, Quercia S, Di Gesu R, Pasta G, Manetti P, Iaia FM, Trecroci A, Rampelli S, Candela M, Biagi E, Castagnetti A.

Int J Sports Med. 2022 May 20. doi: 10.1055/a-1858-1810. Online ahead of print.

This study provides baseline data about the fecal microbiota in elite soccer players along the 2019-2020 competitive season using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Pre-season retreat, during which nutritional surveillance and exercise intensity were at their peak, caused a decrease in bacterial groups related to unhealthy lifestyle and an increase in health-promoting symbionts. The competitive season and forced interruption affected other features of the athletes’ microbiota, i.e. bacterial groups that respond to dietary fibers load and stress levels.


Lower Extremity Injury Rates on Artificial Turf Versus Natural Grass Playing Surfaces: A Systematic Review.

Gould HP, Lostetter SJ, Samuelson ER, Guyton GP.

Am J Sports Med. 2022 May 20:3635465211069562. doi: 10.1177/03635465211069562.

This systematic review about the injury rates or lower extremity (hip, knee, or foot and ankle) on artificial turf and natural grass in different sports, levels of competition, and turf types found that most studies on new-generation turf found similar overall injury rates between playing surfaces. The greatest proportion of articles reported a higher foot and ankle injury rate on artificial turf compared with natural grass, both with old-generation and new-generation turf. Similar knee and hip injury rates were reported between playing surfaces for soccer athletes on new-generation turf. Only a few articles in the literature reported a higher overall injury rate on natural grass compared with artificial turf, and all of these studies received financial support from the artificial turf industry.



Peak instantaneous PlayerLoad metrics highlight movement strategy deficits in professional male soccer players.

Mitchell A, Greig M.

Res Sports Med. 2022 May 20:1-11. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2022.2079985.

In this study, 25 professional male soccer players completed anterior, medial and lateral hop tests with an accelerometer at mid-calf. Performance outcome was defined as hop distance with loading response defined as the magnitude of, and time to peak instantaneous planar PlayerLoad. The performance was sensitive to task and previous injury. Despite impaired performance, previously injured players did not exhibit lower peak instantaneous PlayerLoad after impact in any plane. There was however a significantly longer time to peak medio-lateral loading after impact in previously injured players’ affected limb. Lower-limb accelerometry enhances understanding of movement strategy.



Analysis of a double Poisson model for predicting football results in Euro 2020.

Penn MJ, Donnelly CA.

PLoS One. 2022 May 19;17(5):e0268511. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268511. eCollection 2022.

First developed in 1982, the double Poisson model, where goals scored by each team are assumed to be Poisson distributed with a mean depending on attacking and defensive strengths, remains a popular choice for predicting football scores, despite the multitude of newer methods that have been developed. This paper examines the pre-tournament predictions made using this model for the Euro 2020 football tournament, showing that they were extremely accurate in predicting the number of goals scored. Moreover, the paper illustrates the effectiveness of ignoring results against the weakest opposition. Finally, it considers the choice of start date for the dataset, and illustrates that the choice made by the authors (which was to start the dataset just after the previous major international tournament) was close to optimal, at least in this case.



How Does Ball Possession Affect the Physical Demands in Spanish LaLiga? A Multilevel Approach.

García-Calvo T, Ponce-Bordón JC, Leo FM, López-Del Campo R, Nevado-Garrosa F, Pulido JJ.

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2022 May 16:1-9. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2022.2072798.

This study on Mediacoach® data of 1,520 matches played by 80 Spanish professional soccer teams across four consecutive LaLiga seasons (from 2015/2016 to 2018/2019) found that ball possession negatively predicted the total distance covered, and the distance covered above 14.1 km·h-1. This negative relationship was higher in high-possession teams.



Melatonin Ingestion Prevents Liver Damage and Improves Biomarkers of Renal Function Following a Maximal Exercise.

Farjallah MA, Graja A, Ghattassi K, Ben Mahmoud L, Elleuch H, Ayadi F, Driss T, Jammoussi K, Sahnoun Z, Souissi N, Hammouda O.

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2022 May 16:1-11. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2022.2068792.

In this double-blind randomized study 12 professional soccer players performed a diurnal running exercise test at 100% of their Maximal Aerobic Speed following either Melatonin MEL or placebo ingestion. Compared to placebo, MEL intake decreased post-exercise blood biomarkers of liver damage and improved post-exercise renal function markers, but did not make differences regarding the time to exhaustion.



Exploring Finger Digit Ratios (2D:4D) in Surgeons, Professional Rugby Players, and Political Journalists to Form a Directional Hypothesis: Could Finger Length Predict Attention and Focus?

Serpell BG, Cook CJ.

Front Behav Neurosci. 2022 Apr 27;16:873129. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2022.873129. eCollection 2022.

In this short report we explore the predictive nature of finger digit ratio (i.e., second/index finger length divided by fourth/ring finger length; 2D:4D) and achievement in 29 professional rugby players, 16 orthopedic surgeons and 18 political journalists. 2D:4D was not predictive of testosterone and cortisol responsiveness to low-level exercise stress. However, relationships exist for 2D:4D and pupillometry measures associated with the ability to focus attention; a skill important to high achievement in various contexts.