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During a landing impact, the human body is exposed to large forces and moments that create the potential for injury. To determine the effect of impact velocity and landing experience on the strategy selected, the preferred landing strategies used by male collegiate gymnasts and recreational athletes from three drop heights were characterized using mechanical descriptors. Kinematic and reaction force data were acquired simultaneously using highspeed film and a force plate. Reaction forces and lower extremity joint motion were used to characterize the strategies. Results indicated that statistically significant increases in joint flexion (with the exception of ankle joint flexion), angular velocity, and impact force resulted as impact velocity increased. Gymnasts and recreational athletes demonstrated similar adjustment patterns to increases in landing impact velocities; however, significant differences in degree of joint flexion, total landing phase time, and relative adjustments over impact velocity conditions were found.
Jill L. McNitt-Gray is with the Biomechanics Research Laboratory, Department of Exercise Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0652.