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Sport science is a discipline that studies the application of scientific principles and techniques with the aim of improving sporting performance. Human movement (kinesiology) is a related scientific discipline that studies human movement in all contexts including that of sport.
The study of sport science traditionally incorporates areas of physiology, psychology, motor control and biomechanics but also includes other topics such as nutrition and diet, sports technology, anthropometry, kinanthropometry, and performance analysis.
Sport scientists and performance consultants are growing in demand and employment numbers, with the ever-increasing focus within the sporting world on achieving the best results possible. Through the study of science and sport, researchers have developed a greater understanding on how the human body reacts to exercise, training, different environments and many other stimuli.
Origins of exercise physiology
Sport science can traced its origins to ancient Greece. The noted ancient Greek physician Galen (131–201) wrote 87 detailed essays about improving health (proper nutrition), aerobic fitness, and strengthening muscles. Assyrian Hunayn ibn Ishaq translated Galen's work, along with that of Hippocrates, into Arabic which lead to the spread of Greek physiology throughout the Middle East and Europe. Between 776 BC to 393 AD, the ancient Greek physicians planned the training regimens and diets of the Olympic competitors, which developed many principles still used today.
New ideas upon the working and functioning of the human body emerged during the renaissance as anatomists and physicians challenged the previously known theories. These spread with the implementation of the printed word, the result of Gutenberg's printing press in the 15th century. Allied with this was a large increase in academia in general, universities were forming all around the world. Importantly these new scholars went beyond the simplistic notions of the early Greek physicians, and shed light upon the complexities of the circulatory, and digestive systems. Furthermore by the middle of the 19th century early medical schools (such as the Harvard Medical School, formed 1782) began appearing in the United States, whose graduates went on to assume positions of importance in academia and allied medical research.
Medical journal publications in the United States increased tremendously during this period. In conjunction the developments in America were also continuing across Europe. In 1898, three articles on physical activity appeared in the first volume of the American Journal of Physiology. Other articles and reviews subsequently appeared in prestigious journals. The German applied physiology publication, Internationale Zeitschrift fur Physiologie einschliesslich Arbeitphysiologie (1929–1940; now known as the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology), became a significant journal in the field of research.
From this period to the modern day, a number of key figures have moulded the field into what it is today. Below is a selection of just a few of these:
- Austin Flint, Jr., (1836–1915) One of the first American pioneer physicians, studied physiological responses to exercise in his influential medical textbooks.
- Edward Hitchcock, Jr., (1828–1911) Amherst College Professor of hygiene and physical education, devoted his academic career to the scientific study of physical exercise, training and the body. Coauthored 1860 text on exercise physiology.
- George Wells Fitz, M.D. (1860–1934) Created the first departmental major in Anatomy, Physiology, and Physical Training at Harvard University in 1891.
- August Krogh (1874–1949) Won the 1920 Nobel prize in physiology for discovering the mechanism that controlled capillary blood flow in resting or active muscle.
- Per-Olof Astrand (1922–) Professor at the Department of physiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. Wrote seminal paper which evaluated the physical working capacity of men and women aged 4–33 years.
Study of sport science
Higher-education degrees in sports science or human physiology are also becoming increasingly popular with many universities now offering both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the discipline. Opportunities for graduates in these fields employment as a physical education teacher, dietician or nutritionist, performance analyst, sports coach, sports therapist, fitness center manager, sports administrator, strength and conditioning specialist or retail manager of a sports store. Graduates may also be well positioned to undertake further training to become an accredited physiotherapist, exercise physiologist or clinical exercise consultant.
There are many noted institutions in the United Kingdom which run courses in sport and exercise sciences. Some of the more well known are St Mary's University College, Twickenham Durham, Leeds, Loughborough, Exeter, Bath, Bangor, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool John Moores, University of Portsmouth.
Within the United States, The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi offers degrees in Sports and High Performance Materials and Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi offers a Master of Science degree in "Sport Science" with two concentrations in either Sport Management or Strength and Conditioning. In 2010, East Tennessee State University became the first university in the US to offer a PhD in Sport
Academic journals in sport science
- Journal of Applied Biomechanics
- Journal of Applied Physiology
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
- European Journal of Applied Physiology
- Journal of Sports Sciences
- British Journal of Sports Medicine
- International Journal of Sports Medicine
- Sports Medicine
- International Journal of Computer Science in Sport
- Arton Beleci
- Sports biomechanics
- Computer science in sport
- European College of Sport Science
- Jackson State University
- Jared KoK
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (August 2009)|
- School of Sport and Health Sciences, The University of Exeter.
- British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
- American College of Sports Medicine
- Mcardle, W.D., Katch, F.I., & Katch, V.L. (1999). Essentials of Exercise Physiology 2nd edition. Lipincott, Williams & Wilkins: Baltimore.
- European College of Sport Science
- Exercise & Sports Science Australia
- Sports Science and Positioning