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Laura Misener, Landy Di Lu and Robert Carlisi

The strategic formation of partnerships for leveraging sport events to achieve social impact is becoming a critical component of large-scale sport events. The authors know less about the process dimensions related to the formation and collaborative dynamics of a sport event–leveraging partnership. To address this gap, the authors focus on examining the formation and collaborative dynamics alongside the challenges of the cross-sector partnership, the Ontario Parasport Legacy Group (OPLG), which emerged as an important leveraging strategy for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. The authors found that the formation of the OPLG was shaped through broader environmental elements—including resource conditions, window of collaborative opportunity, and cultural influence—and essential drivers of strategic leadership and consequential incentives. Furthermore, the authors’ analysis shows that the development of the OPLG and its effectiveness in partnership delivery were determined through key domains of collaborative dynamics (i.e., engagement, motivation, and joint capacity).

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Bradley D. Hatfield, Calvin M. Lu and Jo B. Zimmerman

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Mark S. Dyreson

Since the origins of Homo sapiens 300,000 years ago, the quest to optimize human performance has shaped historical development. A macrohistorical perspective reveals that for 290,000 years the necessities of survival pushed hunter-forager cultures toward mass improvement of endurance capabilities and weapons skills. The agricultural revolution that began about 10,000 years ago changed those dynamics, focusing on enhancement for elite warriors while simultaneously diminishing the necessity of mass optimization. The multiple revolutions of modernity that began 500 years ago reanimated mass optimization while paradoxically removing physical enhancement from the realm of necessity through the increasing power of human-made motors rather than human locomotion. Microhistorical perspectives reveal that beyond the general patterns that shaped human cultures across time and place, the historical particularities vastly complicated optimization strategies. Employing macro- and microhistorical perspectives can enhance scientific understandings of optimal performance.

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Bryan C. Clift

Across North American cities, emerging forms of urban governance from the 1970s produced forms of racialized, visualized, and spatialized urban poverty. Attempts to revitalize, recast, and spectacularize the urban environment left cities with vexing questions about what should be done with homeless people and also what homeless people should be doing. Amidst the rolling back of State social welfare policies and provision (Peck & Tickell, 2002), creative, informal, communal, or non-governmental initiatives have emerged in response to urban poverty and homelessness. One such organization is Back on My Feet, a national, not-for-profit organization that partners with homeless and addiction recovery facilities, which strives to utilize running as a means of empowerment. This ethnographic inquiry speaks to the ways in which the social practice of running amongst those housed in a temporary recovery facility is imbricated with their lifestyles and identities, an urban context, and homeless discourses and stigmas. It is illustrative of how the rhetoric of “recovery” yokes together the entrepreneurial ethos of neoliberalism with the management of homeless people.

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Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Samuel R. Walton

It was not too long ago that many people referred to concussion as a “hidden injury” and a “complex injury for which we still had much to learn.” We still have a lot to learn about these injuries, but because of the advancement of concussion research we are better informed today than we were just a decade ago. Much of this work began in the early to mid-1990s with studies aimed at equipping clinicians with better concussion-assessment tools. We needed to remove the guesswork, so more systematic and objective concussion-assessment batteries (sideline and clinic) that included symptom checklists, cognitive tests, and balance assessments were developed and validated. As a result, it became easier to detect and/or rule out concussions and to track recovery for several days postinjury. From 2009 through 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed concussion legislation requiring concussion education for high school and youth athletes, among other things. This was a critical period in which more emphasis was placed on concussion prevention, ultimately leading to increased reporting of these injuries and a reduction in the number of unreported and undiagnosed concussions. More recently, the corpus of science has evolved to identify potential blood and neuroimaging biomarkers to complement the traditional-clinical assessment tools, and newer studies are focused on treatment after concussion—challenging the notions that “rest is best” and that the effects of concussion are permanent and immutable. The research is ongoing, and several large multisite studies will yield important findings to help guide clinical decision making in the next few years.

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Sandra J. Shultz and Randy J. Schmitz

Despite considerable advances in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury-risk identification and prevention over the past 20 years, the annual incidence of ACL injury has continued to rise, and females remain at greater risk of both primary and secondary ACL injury. Important questions remain regarding ancillary risk factors we should target, the most effective training and rehabilitation approaches to ensure retention and transfer of learned skills from the rehabilitation setting to real-world sporting environment, and the development of more evidence-based criteria for return to sport that consider the whole athlete. As we look to the future, the optimization of primary and secondary ACL-injury prevention represents a complex, multidisciplinary problem with many unique and exciting opportunities to engage the various subdisciplines of kinesiology to address these emerging questions.

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Stefan Szymanski

Sport analytics promises to use Big Data and sophisticated statistical methods to identify effective strategies in sports—“the Moneyball moment.” However, much like alchemy, sport analytics is characterized by opacity and secrecy, and outside of baseball, evidence of success that would meet the usual scientific criteria is limited. An example is used to demonstrate that quite simple models can match more complex ones in terms of prediction. Like alchemy, sport analytics can deliver important advances in our understanding, but some problems need to be addressed. These include the need to incorporate theory, reconciling the pursuit of profit with scientific principles, and focusing on prediction as a measure of progress.

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Geoffrey T. Burns, Kenneth M. Kozloff and Ronald F. Zernicke

Movement is essential to the human experience, and efficient biomechanics facilitate effective action across the breadth of tasks one encounters in life. The concept of movement efficiency has been investigated and explored through a variety of means including biomechanical modeling, simulation, and experimental manipulation. Observations of elite performers for a given movement task serve as an additional line of insight into efficiency, as their movements have been driven toward optimization via competitive pressure. The authors first discuss the concept of efficiency in biomechanics from a qualitative perspective and the broad tools with which we explore it. They then highlight biomechanical investigations of elite performers and their contributions to our understanding of efficiency. Examples from various classes of movements illustrate unique insights of the elite performers in informing our understanding of movement efficiency.

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Chih-Yen Chang and Tsung-Min Hung

Previous studies have revealed that several cortical signatures are associated with superior motor performance in sports, particularly precision sports. This review examined the strength of the evidence from these studies so that a clear conclusion could be drawn and a concrete direction for future efforts revealed. A total of 26 articles assessing the relationship between cortical activity and precision motor performance were extracted from databases. This review concluded that among the electroencephalographic components examined, only sensorimotor rhythm demonstrated a consistent and causal relationship with superior precision motor performance, whereas findings related to the left temporal alpha and frontal theta and alpha rhythms were not consistent and lacked the evidence needed to draw a causal inference for a role in superior precision motor performance. Future studies would benefit from methodological improvements including larger sample sizes, narrower skill-gap comparisons, evidenced-based and refined neurofeedback-training protocols, and consideration of ecological validity.

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Cesar R. Torres

If only indirectly and by comparison with other, supposedly more consequential, social undertakings, sport and athletic commitment continue to be denounced as trivial in contemporary society. Against the backdrop of this abiding trivialization, this paper explores the value found in committing to athletic excellence or, using the terminology of the 2019 National Academy of Kinesiology’s annual conference, in pursuing optimal athletic performance. The author introduces and explains 6 kinds of value found in this commitment and pursuit. While these values can be conceptualized independently, they need not be thought of as mutually exclusive. Not only are the values comparably significant, but they might also overlap and combine in various forms and to different degrees. In some cases, they might develop concurrently. Before introducing the values, the author briefly conceptualizes both optimal performance and sport, because sound analysis depends on conceptual clarity.