Suicidal thoughts (ideation) among elite athletics (track and field) athletes:

This is an original research paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine first published in 2020.

A sobering paper on the current issues of suicide thoughts among Elite athletes, reading this paper it is also applicable to the lower tiers of sport including Amateur on Male and Female players in all sports where issues of suicide go unreported, National Bodies must take action.

The paper examined associations between suicidal ideation and sexual and physical abuse among active and recently retired elite athletics (track and field) in Sweden.
For the full paper click on the link :

Suicidal thoughts (ideation) among elite athletics (track and field) athletes: associations with sports participation, psychological resourcefulness and having been a victim of sexual and/or physical abuse



Recently I have been reading interviews of players mentioning the 4D’s of success. I have been researching the subject and how the four Ds served as a motivational tool for players.

No matter the level of play, (amateur, semi-professional or professional), age, sex, role within the team (coach, player, manager), or you are on or off the pitch; If you want to be successful, either as an individual or as part of a team, it is important to keep these four principles in mind. Some studies have shown that those players who are successful in their personal life (family, studies, businesses) are also successful on the playing field.

The four Ds must exist together, if any are faulty it will not be possible to be successful. The four Ds as I see them are: Desire – Drive – Dedication – Discipline

 Desires: These are the dreams, goals or goals we all have, have you ever thought about what yours are? Do you really want to catch up with them? Yes! Anything is possible, “wanting is power”. There are no impossible. Desire to be the best, to win, to have success. How strong is your desire?

Drive: You have made the decision to make it possible, to make “something” happen. Never give up, you deserve the best. Visualize, think, feel, act positively Always move forward looking to achieve your goals, such as get 3 more reps; to force yourself during your training and not back down. That is Drive – no easy roads.

Dedication:  Stay true to yourself and your goals. Do not be dissuaded by “friends” and “concerned family members” who want to distract you, getting what you want takes time and effort. Practice will make it possible for you to get better. So, try again and again until you make it.

Discipline:  The last on the list is the most important.  This is the element that joins the previous three. It is the “internal force” that we all have and that pushes us to continue, continue to try, not to give up and not to lose sight of the ultimate goal.

To be successful is to achieve the goals, to achieve this you must have desires, drive, dedication and discipline. The four Ds of success.


The 4 Ds To Achieve Success: Desire, Determination, Dedication And Discipline ( – Afia Altaf

Article: Four D Words Are Needed To Be Successful ( Copyright 2005-2021 Gordon Bellows.

The Four “D’s” of Success | Ridgewood, NJ Patch

Sports Psychology in Action Copyright 1996 Richard Butler

Mental health management of elite athletes during COVID-19: a narrative review and recommendations

Reardon CL, et al. Br J Sports Med 2020;0:1–10. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2020-102884

Claudia L Reardon, Abhinav Bindra, Cheri Blauwet,
Richard Budgett, Niccolo Campriani,Alan Currie, Vincent Gouttebarge, David McDuff,
Margo Mountjoy, Rosemary Purcell, Margot Putukian, Simon Rice, Brian Hainline

Article Abstract:

ABSTRACT: Elite athletes suffer many mental health symptoms and disorders at rates equivalent to or exceeding those of the general population. COVID-19 has created new strains on elite athletes, thus potentially increasing their vulnerability to mental health symptoms. This manuscript serves as a narrative review of the impact of the pandemic on management of those symptoms in elite athletes and ensuing recommendations to guide that management. It specifically addresses psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and higher levels of care. Within the realm of psychotherapy, crisis counselling might be indicated. Individual, couple/ family and group psychotherapy modalities all may be helpful during the pandemic, with novel content and means of delivery. Regarding pharmacotherapy for mental health symptoms and disorders, some important aspects of management have changed during the pandemic, particularly for certain classes of medication including stimulants, medications for bipolar and psychotic disorders, antidepressants, and medications for substance use disorders. Providers must consider when in-person management (eg, for physical examination, laboratory testing) or higher levels of care (eg, for crisis stabilisation) is necessary, despite potential risk of viral exposure during the pandemic. Management ultimately should continue to follow general principles of quality health care with some flexibility. Finally, the current pandemic provides an important opportunity for research on new methods of providing mental health care for athletes, and consideration for whether these new methods should extend beyond the pandemic.

The study states :

What is already known:

► Elite athletes suffer from many mental health symptoms and disorders at rates equivalent to or exceeding those in the general population.

► The COVID-19 pandemic has created several new stressors for elite athletes.

► Management for athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on cardiac complications, screening for asymptomatic disease and return to sport, incorporating hygiene measures

What are the new findings:

► The COVID-19 pandemic has created changes in the way in which management of mental health symptoms and disorders in elite athletes—inclusive of community-based or outpatient psychotherapy, outpatient pharmacotherapy and higher levels of care—should be delivered.

► Within the realm of psychotherapy, crisis counselling and other forms of individual psychotherapy, couple/family and group psychotherapy all may be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, with novel content and means of delivery.

► Some important aspects of pharmacotherapy for management of mental health symptoms and disorders in elite athletes have changed during the pandemic, particularly for certain classes of medication including stimulants, medications for bipolar and psychotic disorders, antidepressants and medications for substance use disorders.

► It is important for providers to consider when in-person management or higher levels of care for mental health symptoms and disorders are necessary for elite athletes, despite potential risk of viral exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full Article Click here bjsports-2020-102884.full

Match and Training Injuries in Women’s Rugby Union: A Systematic Review of Published Studies

Another interesting study originating this time from Australia aimed at Women’s Rugby specifically a systematic review of all published studies until July 2019. To understand the conclusions read the full study.

Authors: Doug King · Patria Hume · Cloe Cummins · Alan Pearce · Trevor Clark · Andrew Foskett · Matt Barnes 


There is a paucity of studies reporting on women’s injuries in rugby union.


The aim of this systematic review was to describe the injury epidemiology for women’s rugby-15s and rugby-7s match and training environments.


Systematic searches of PubMed, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science Core Collection, Scopus, CINAHL(EBSCO) and ScienceDirect databases using keywords.


Ten articles addressing the incidence of injury in women’s rugby union players were retrieved and included. The pooled incidence of injuries in women’s rugby-15s was 19.6 (95% CI 17.7–21.7) per 1000 match-hours (h). Injuries in women’s rugby-15s varied from 3.6 (95% CI 2.5–5.3) per 1000 playing-h (including training and games) to 37.5 (95% CI 26.5–48.5) per 1000 match-h. Women’s rugby-7s had a pooled injury incidence of 62.5 (95% CI 54.7–70.4) per 1000 player-h and the injury incidence varied from 46.3 (95% CI 38.7–55.4) per 1000 match-h to 95.4 (95% CI 79.9–113.9) per 1000 match-h. The tackle was the most commonly reported injury cause with the ball carrier recording more injuries at the collegiate [5.5 (95% CI 4.5–6.8) vs. 3.5 (95% CI 2.7–4.6) per 1000 player-game-h; χ2(1) = 6.7; p = 0.0095], and Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) [2006: 14.5 (95% CI 8.9–23.7) vs. 10.9 (95% CI 6.2–19.2) per 1000 match-h; χ2(1) = 0.6; p = 0.4497; 2010: 11.8 (95% CI 6.9–20.4) vs. 1.8 (95% CI 0.5–7.3) per 1000 match-h; χ2(1) = 8.1; p = 0.0045] levels of participation. Concussions and sprains/strains were the most commonly reported injuries at the collegiate level of participation.


Women’s rugby-7s had a higher un-pooled injury incidence than women’s rugby-15s players based on rugby-specific surveys and hospitalisation data. The incidence of injury in women’s rugby-15s and rugby-7s was lower than men’s professional rugby-15s and rugby-7s competitions but similar to male youth rugby-15s players. Differences in reporting methodologies limited comparison of results.


Women’s rugby-7s resulted in a higher injury incidence than women’s rugby-15s. The head/face was the most commonly reported injury site. The tackle was the most common cause of injury in both rugby-7s and rugby-15s at all levels. Future studies are warranted on injuries in women’s rugby-15s and rugby-7s.

Study :Full Paper



A Team Sport Risk Exposure Framework to Support the Return to Sport

With Amateur Sports returning to training this is a timely reminder how to training and player proximity interactions when following guidelines in minutiae.

BLOG: British Journal of Sports Medicine Published 1/7/2020

Useful for sports to quantify risk in training & matches, & help guide contact tracing

Authors : Ben Jones 1,2,3,4,5, Gemma Phillips 2,6, Simon PT Kemp 7,10, Steffan A Griffin 7,8, Clint Readhead 4,9, Neil Pearce 10, Keith A Stokes 7,11


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in global disruption to many sports. There are a number of challenges in returning to sport, especially given the unprecedented duration of time that athletes have not been able to train or compete in normal environments(1), the potential health risk to athletes, their coaches, support staff, the wider public, and the limited evidence base available to inform decisions. Every sport will carry different infection risks, given the specific match demands and training requirements(2). Furthermore, considerations regarding the return to training and match play will be greatly influenced by the national impact of COVID-19(3). A good example is the comparison of United Kingdom (COVID-19 mortality of >42,000), vs. Australia and New Zealand (COVID-19 mortality of <150)(4). In particular, New Zealand has now eliminated SARS-CoV-2, and rugby and other sports are now occurring ‘as normal’.

Full Blog can be found here:Blogs BJSM



Association of artificial turf and concussion in competitive contact sports: a systematic review and metaanalysis

Authors Frank O’ Leary 1, Nic Acampora 2, Fiona Hand 3, James O’ Donovan 1

BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 2020;6:e000695. doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000695
1 Department of Performance
Medicine, Sport Ireland Institute,
Dublin, Ireland
2 Faculty of Life Sciences,
University of South Wales,
Pontypridd, UK
3 Department of Surgery, St.
Vincent’s University Hospital,
Elm Park, Dublin, Ireland

An interesting study published in May 2020 by the BMJ in Sports Exercise and Medicine concerning artificial pitches:

Artificial turf can be defined as ‘a surface of synthetic fibres made to look like natural grass’. Since its introduction in 1965, safety concerns have been raised over its use as a playing surface in competitive contact sports. The higher number of knee and ankle injuries occurring on artificial turf has been established.

Despite these safety concerns, an ongoing replacement of natural grass with synthetic turf continues to occur in contact sport.

The aim of this review was to compare the incidence of head injuries and concussion on both artificial turf and natural grass in those competitive contact sports (of any standard) using both surfaces. From this, the risk of such injuries can be directly compared on either playing surface.

What is already known?
► With increasing awareness of head injuries in contact sports, the diagnosis of concussion is becoming more common. Artificial turf is frequently used as a
playing surface for contact sports. There remains no consensus on whether playing surface contributes to the incidence of significant head injury.

What are the new findings?
► Analysis of the limited publications on artificial turf playing surface demonstrates a lower incidence of concussion and head injury in competitive contact sports. On subgroup analysis, this effect is most marked in rugby and American football, with no significant association of playing surface on the incidence of head injury or concussion in soccer.

This systematic review demonstrates an overall lower concussion and head injury rate occurring on artificial turf in competitive contact sports combined, yet when assessing the sports (soccer, American football and rugby) individually, the link between head injury and concussion with playing surface type is not as clear.

Future research in this area would be important to ascertain reasons for this result.

Further examination on what other factors exist that could lead to lower head injury and concussion rates on artificial turf in contact sports should be established. This may include: number
of collisions on artificial turf, the incidence of surface to head contact, the maintenance of the artificial turf as well as its surface properties including temperature and HIC (Head Injury Criterion).

For a full read of the article click on the link Artificial Turf and Concussion

Infographic – mental fatigue influences aerobic exercise more than anaerobic

This graphic shows how a cognitively demanding activity negatively influences subsequent aerobic performance more so than max strength/power efforts.

The authors feel that this might be due to the increased perception of effort rather than any specific physiological phenomenon.

Safe Return to Training Guidelines

Statement from the NSCA:

The incidence of injuries and deaths related to Exertional Heat Illness (EHI), Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (ER), and Cardiorespiratory Failure has increased significantly in college athletes in recent years. Data indicate that these injuries and deaths are more likely to occur during periods when athletes are transitioning from relative inactivity to regular training.

To address this problem, the CSCCa and NSCA have created consensus guidelines which recommend upper limits on the volume, intensity, and work: rest ratio during transition periods where athletes are more vulnerable.

The consensus guidelines provide strength and conditioning coaches with a clear framework for safe and effective program design in the first 2—4 weeks following periods of inactivity or return from EHI or ER. Adhering to the consensus guidelines, conducting preparticipation medical evaluations, and establishing emergency action plans will reduce the incidence of injuries and deaths in college athletes.

Keep reading here : ARTICLE


The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam Rolling On Performance

In this paper, 26 subjects performed a series of planking exercises or foam rolling exercises and then performed a series of athletic performance tests (vertical jump height and power, isometric force, and agility).

Fatigue, soreness, and exertion were also measured.

The results were as follows:

  1. There were no significant differences between foam rolling and planking for all 4 of the athletic tests.
  2. Post exercise fatigue after foam rolling was significantly less than after the subjects performed planking.

In conclusion, the reduced feeling of fatigue may allow participants to extend acute workout time and volume, which can lead to chronic performance enhancements. However, foam rolling had no effect on performance.

it’s important to distinguish between training aids that enhance recovery (either perceived or real) vs. those aids that have a specific impact on performance. In this case, let’s not through the baby out with the bathwater – just because foam rolling had no impact on performance, doesn’t mean it serves no purpose at all. If it can boost recovery (even perceived) then the athlete/s may be able to train again in a shorter time frame, and/or with greater quality during subsequent sessions.

Read the article and make your own conclusions :

The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam

How weight gains have also damaged N.F.L. retirees

In the past few decades, the National Football League’s emphasis on the passing game and quarterback protection has led teams to stock their offensive and defensive lines with ever-larger men, many of them weighing well over 300 pounds (136.7 Kg). But their great girth, which coaches encouraged, and which helped turn some players into multimillion-dollar commodities, leaves many of them prone to obesity problems.

In retirement, these huge men are often unable to lose the weight they needed to do their jobs after leave the professional leagues.

According to the report, many linesmen say they were encouraged by their high school and college coaches to gain weight to win scholarships and to be drafted by the N.F.L., where a lot of players were required to become even bigger. In some cases, players were converted from tight ends to down linemen, and needed extra weight to play the new position. Coaches often leave it up to the players to decide how to gain weight. Which begs the question where’s the scientific evidence to encourage this behaviour where’s are the coaches getting this information?

A study published in December by The American Journal of Medicine found that for every 10 pounds football players gained from high school to college, or from college to the professional level, the risk of heart disease rose 14 percent compared with players whose weight changed little during the same period.

Read the article for it’s conclusions and make your own conclusion: Weight Gain and Health Affliction

For myself my own conclusions are:

Very Ironic the US President feeding the Clemson Tigers football team hamburgers, fries and pizza, and praising the food as “good american food”.

The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is excess weight and obesity

Players need to lose weight by diet not just exercise, and by diet, I mean healthy eating.

The NCAA should/must enforce rules that prohibit excessive fat to body weight and reduce hypertrophy that leads to health deterioration. Strength Coaches should work on delivery better programs and not muscle building.

NFL must look at options that bigger doesn’t mean always stronger or healthier.