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Author Archive for Ian McMahan

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Rob Gronkowski was dangerously wrong when he says CTE is ‘fixable’

The former New England Patriots star backtracked after recent comments about brain trauma. But there are plenty of misunderstandings about the conditionTwitter has become a forum for political discussion – and amusing gifs – but it shouldn’t one for me…

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The science behind Andrew Luck’s shock NFL farewell

We often look at professional athletes with awe and envy, endowed with genetic gifts most can only wonder at possessing. But those gifts often come with a priceAndrew Luck is human, with tendons and cartilage that can tear and bones that can break. Tho…

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The ‘Formula One’ secret behind Tom Brady’s time-cheating dominance

The 42-year-old quarterback is among the NFL’s best and he’s shown little sign of slowing down. How does he do it?On 3 August, Tom Brady turned 42. Were there a Newton’s Law of Aging, Brady would be defying it. After all, normal human beings slow down …

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Baseball’s 106mph barrier: have pitchers reached the limits of their velocity?

The 100mph fastball used to be a rarity: now it’s an everyday occurrence in Major League Baseball. But the human body may not be built for such speedsSidd Finch was almost too good to be true. The rookie pitcher, while in spring training with the New Y…

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Is giving 26-year-old Bryce Harper a 13-year, $330m contract a terrible idea?

The Philadelphia Phillies will be paying the slugger $22m when he’s 39. But it’s unlikely he will be the same player he is now in a decade’s timeFor some, 13 is an unlucky number. For Bryce Harper, originally from Las Vegas, 13 is anything but unlucky….

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Is giving 26-year-old Bryce Harper a 13-year, $330m contract a terrible idea?

The Philadelphia Phillies will be paying the slugger $22m when he’s 39. But it’s unlikely he will be the same player he is now in a decade’s timeFor some, 13 is an unlucky number. For Bryce Harper, originally from Las Vegas, 13 is anything but unlucky….

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Will college star Kyler Murray bury the NFL myth of the short quarterback?

Russell Wilson and Drew Brees have shown quarterbacks under 6ft can succeed in the pros. Now an even shorter player could change the league for goodKyler Murray is more than just a small guy playing a big man’s game. Unfortunately for Murray, an except…

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How rugby and the NFL found common ground on concussion

Both rugby and American football have discovered that when it comes to head trauma, it is the tackler who is most in dangerIn an equation of physics and physiology, collisions plus big, fast, athletic bodies equals concussions. But while the risk can’t…

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How sleep and jet-lag influences success in the travel-crazy NBA

NBA teams play 41 road games a season, often in different time zones. That can be especially tough for teams journeying westEven with schedule tweaks, NBA teams will spend more time at cruising altitude than teams in any other professional league. The …

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Tiger Woods is poised for a return to glory, but will the body accommodate?

Amid a resurgent 2018, Tiger Woods’s greatest challenge may still be his health, as he plays with a back barely held togetherTiger Woods is back. For the moment at least, with last week’s win at the Tour Championship, he has quieted the demons of the p…

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How (and why) position-less lineups have taken over the NBA playoffs

NBA teams are increasingly trotting out lineups with five players who can play (and guard) nearly any position – but is it merely a fad?The revolution is being televised. The bedrock of NBA strategy, and basketball in general, has long been its positio…

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Shaquem Griffin: can a one-handed college star make it in the NFL?

The linebacker is one of the biggest stories in this year’s draft but he faces unique challenges as he attempts to step up to the professional gameEvery player in this week’s NFL draft has a unique story, a path that brought them, often through challen…

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How serious a threat are Steph Curry’s ankle injuries to his career?

The Warriors are looking as strong as ever this season but there is real concern about the long-term health of one of the NBA’s finest playersCall it a tweak or a slip or a mild sprain. But really, call it like it is, time to worry. When Steph Curry fo…

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Why the future of the NFL may rely on fixing the concussion protocol

The horrifying on-field mishandling of a Houston quarterback’s head injury highlighted the limitations of the NFL’s concussion protocol. What can be done?In a sport of hard hits, the NFL has taken more than its share this season. Off the field issues h…

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The bench myth: why resting athletes may not be as helpful as teams believe

With research touting the benefits of sleep and recovery, teams are now paying more attention to recuperation. But is there such a thing as too much rest?Science sometimes seems so simple. Take rest for instance. With all the experts touting the benefi…

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The bench myth: why resting athletes may not be as helpful as teams believe

With research touting the benefits of sleep and recovery, teams are now paying more attention to recuperation. But is there such a thing as too much rest?Science sometimes seems so simple. Take rest for instance. With all the experts touting the benefi…

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Hacking the free throw: the science behind the most practiced shot in sports

The free throw is the rare instance in sport where a player can attempt to score without any defensive pressure. So why do so many top players struggle?Despite the name, free throws only seem free. Though they are one of the few, or perhaps only, oppor…

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Inside Tom Brady’s strange pseudoscience: bioceramic sleepwear and neutral ash

The Patriots quarterback’s new book makes some dubious claims about how he has maintained his fitness into his 40s. What do the experts make of it all?Tom Brady may well be the greatest NFL player of all time. He already possesses or shares a host of q…