LONDON (Bottom of the Fourth) - A new study published in the British Journal of Non-Peer-Reviewed Science this week is making waves in the sports community, as it claims that anyone who "gives 110%" is more likely to develop adult-onset autism. Though 110% can hypothetically be given to any endeavour, it is most commonly linked with athletics, and as such, athletes are suddenly being a little more cautious about going all out on the field.
Toronto Blue Jays second-baseman Aaron Hill, for one, is worried that he won't be able to give 110% in the upcoming season. "I just don't want to even go over 105, because after that you can easily slip up a few points by accident, and then boom. Autism." Some of Hill's teammates, he says, are planning to give a mere 100% effort, while designated hitter Edwin Encarnación is so concerned for his own well-being that he won't go over 70%.
The study was conducted by Andrew Wakefield, most famous for his previous work in autism which falsely linked the affliction with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Wakefield's prior study was recently declared a fraud by the British medical journal BMJ, but he evidently landed on his feet, publishing these new findings just days later.
Bottom of the Fourth contacted the scientist, who took time out of his busy schedule to explain the experiment's methodology. "First, we identified several instances of athletes promising to give 110%, or commenting on already having given 110%, and analyzed their behaviour during said period of 110%-giving." Wakefield went on to explain that the subjects in question universally displayed common characteristics of autism, such as "repetitive behaviours", "unusual or severely limited activities and interests", and "difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication".
When prompted for further detail, Wakefield cited a specific example from his study: Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. "During an August game against Boston in which Sabathia promised, prior to the game, to give 110%, I observed all three of the above characteristics. He continued to repeat the exact same pitching motion throughout the game, to the point of obsession. He didn't seem at all interested in any other activity such as hitting or running. Finally, when he disagreed with a call by the umpire, he sputtered nonsensically while wildly flailing his arms, showing an absolute lack of basic communication skills."
Wakefield warns that the danger of athletes developing adult-onset autism is even more dire given the locker room influence of coaches. "Coaches often issue blanket mandates to their entire team to give 110% before the game has even begun. An instruction such as this can fell an entire team in a single game."
The new research is backed by well-known Wakefield supporter Jenny McCarthy. "Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure my doctor told me to give 110% during labour," Mrs. McCarthy noted yesterday. "No wonder my son is autistic - previously I thought it was all the vaccines, but this makes a lot more sense. I've already applied for charity status for my new foundation Mothers Against Giving One Hundred And Ten Percent (MAGOHATP), and getting the word out about this terrible affliction is the new focus of my life."
Wakefield's study has since been repudiated by the Scientific Journal of Discrediting Crazies, claiming that among other scientific and methodological errors, "giving 110% is not possible".
Wakefield, for his part, is not discouraged by the SJDC's opposition. "These are the same kooks who "discredited" DJ Einstein's E=MChammer equation, Sir Isaac Newt's Three Laws of Potions, and the Louisiana Board of Education-funded study "A Mathematical Proof of Creationism". If anything deserves discrediting it's their stupid faces."