Women’s College Volleyball Players Exhibit Asymmetries During Double-Leg Jump Landing Tasks

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Jeffrey B. Taylor Department of Physical Therapy, High Point University, High Point, NC, USA

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Anh-Dung Nguyen Division of Athletic Training, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA

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Audrey E. Westbrook Department of Physical Therapy, High Point University, High Point, NC, USA

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Abigail Trzeciak Department of Physical Therapy, High Point University, High Point, NC, USA

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Kevin R. Ford Department of Physical Therapy, High Point University, High Point, NC, USA

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Context: Women’s volleyball requires frequent and repetitive jumping that when performed with altered biomechanics, including kinematic or kinetic asymmetry, may place the athlete at high risk for injury. This study identified and analyzed lower-extremity biomechanical asymmetries in college women’s volleyball players during standard and sport-specific double-leg landing tasks. Design: Cross-sectional laboratory study. Methods: Eighteen female college volleyball players were analyzed using standard 3D motion capture techniques during a drop vertical jump and an unanticipated lateral reactive jump task. Repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance identified asymmetries in kinematic and kinetic variables of each task. Results: Average symmetry indices ranged from 9.3% to 31.3% during the drop vertical jump and 11.9% to 25.6% during the reactive jump task. During the drop vertical jump, the dominant limb exhibited lower knee abduction moments (P = .03), ankle dorsiflexion moments (P = .02), ankle eversion moments (P = .003) and vertical ground reaction forces (P = .03), and greater ankle inversion moments (P = .001). Both kinematic (λ = 0.27, P = .03) and kinetic (λ = 0.12, P = .008) asymmetries were identified during the reactive jump task. The dominant limb exhibited greater peak knee flexion (P = .003) and ankle dorsiflexion (P = .02) angles, and greater ankle dorsiflexion (P = .005) and inversion (P = .03) moments than the nondominant limb. Conclusions: These asymmetries observed during double-leg landing tasks may predispose volleyball athletes to unilaterally higher ground reaction or muscle forces and ultimately a greater risk of injury during landing.

Taylor (jtaylor@highpoint.edu) is corresponding author.

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