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Francisco Javier Núñez, Carlos Galiano, Alejandro Muñoz-López, and Pablo Floria

High intraset variability has been considered as a potential aid in the treatment of tendinopathy by producing forces in variable and unpredictable contexts that allow the athlete to return to sport pain free. The aim of this study was to compare the intraset variability in force profiles between different rotational inertia devices (RIDs) during concentric and eccentric (ECC) phases of movement and between different moments of inertia. Thirty-nine men performed a half-squat incremental test on 2 different RIDs: a horizontal cylinder and a vertical cone-shaped axis. Intraset variabilities in vertical force and velocity were analyzed using average coefficients of variation. RID squat exercise produced force intraset variability. The ECC phase of the movement showed more intraset variability in force output than the concentric phase. ECC vertical cone-shaped shaft showed a higher intraset variability in force than ECC horizontal cylinder-shaped shaft. This study demonstrated that using an RID to provide resistance in squat training of athletes produced a high intraset variability in the application of force.

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Jillian L. Hawkins and Clare E. Milner

Differences in walking biomechanics between groups or conditions should be greater than the measurement error to be considered meaningful. Reliability and minimum detectable differences (MDDs) have not been determined for lower-extremity angles and moments during walking within a session, as needed for interpreting differences in cross-sectional studies. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine within-session reliability and MDDs for peak ankle, knee, and hip angles and moments during walking. Three-dimensional gait analysis was used to record walking at 1.25 m/s (±5%) in 18 men, 18–50 years of age. Peak angles and moments were calculated for 2 sets of 3 trials. Intraclass correlation coefficients (3, 3) were used to determine within-session reliability. In addition, MDDs were calculated. Within-session reliability was good to excellent for all variables. The MDDs ranged from 0.9° to 3.6° for joint angles and 0.06 to 0.15 N·m/kg for joint moments. Within-session reliability for peak ankle, knee, and hip angles and moments was better than the between-session reliability reported previously. Overall, our MDDs were similar or smaller than those previously reported for between-session reliability. The authors recommend using these MDDs to aid in the interpretation of cross-sectional comparisons of lower-extremity biomechanics during walking in healthy men.

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Jacqueline Martins Patatas, Jens De Rycke, Veerle De Bosscher, and Rafael Lima Kons

The literature suggests that the current athlete development models do not reflect the multifaceted developmental pathways in Paralympic sport. This study aimed to analyze how parasport athletes progress through developmental phases of an athletic career pathway by comparing differences in their trajectories based on the nature of the impairment (acquired or congenital), age, and sex. A total of 345 para-athletes representing 15 sports completed an online survey. Results showed that the developmental phases for athletes with acquired impairment are of shorter duration, taking 4.5 years to progress from the attraction to the elite phase, while athletes with congenital impairment take 6 years. Athletes with congenital impairment start in parasport approximately 8 years younger and win medals in international competitions 7 years earlier than athletes with acquired impairment. Insights gathered in this study have the potential to enhance further thinking toward the genesis of specific models of para-athlete development.

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Adam L. Haggerty, Janet E. Simon, Dustin R. Grooms, and Jeffrey A. Russell

Context: Proprioception is an individual’s awareness of body position in 3-dimensional space. How proprioceptive acuity changes under varying conditions such as joint position, load, and concentric or eccentric contraction type is not well understood. In addition, a limitation of the variety of techniques to assess proprioception is the lack of clinically feasible methods to capture proprioceptive acuity. The purpose of this study was to implement a readily available instrument, a smartphone, in the clinical evaluation of knee active joint position sense and to determine how joint angle, joint loading, and quadriceps contraction type affect an individual’s active joint position sense. Design: Cross-over study. Methods: Twenty healthy, physically active university participants (10 women and 10 men: 21.4 [2.0] y; 1.73 [0.1] m; 70.9 [14.3] kg) were recruited. Individuals were included if they had no neurological disorder, no prior knee surgery, and no recent knee injury. The participants were given a verbal instruction to locate a target angle and then were tasked with reproducing the target angle without visual or verbal cues. An accelerometer application on a smartphone was used to assess the angle to the nearest tenth of a degree. Three variables, each with 2 levels, were analyzed in this study: load (weighted and unweighted), contraction type (eccentric and concentric), and joint position (20° and 70°). A repeated-measures analysis of variance was conducted to assess the within-subjects factors of load, contraction, and position. Results: A significant difference of 0.50° (0.19°) of greater error with eccentric versus concentric contraction (P = .02) type was identified. In addition, a significant interaction was found for contraction × position, with a mean increase in error of 0.98° (0.33°) at the 20° position when contracting eccentrically (P = .03). Conclusions: Contraction type, specifically eccentric contraction at 20°, showed significantly greater error than concentric contraction. This suggests that, during eccentric contractions of the quadriceps, there may be decreased proprioceptive sensitivity compared with concentric contractions.

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Enora Le Flao, Andrew W. Pichardo, Sherwin Ganpatt, and Dustin J. Oranchuk

Context: Neck size and strength may be associated with head kinematics and concussion risks. However, there is a paucity of research examining neck strengthening and head kinematics in youths. In addition, neck training is likely lacking in youth sport due to a perceived inadequacy of equipment or time. Objective: Examine neck training effects with minimal equipment on neck strength and head kinematics following chest perturbations in youth athletes. Design: Single-group, pretest–posttest case series. Setting: Athlete training center. Participants: Twenty-five (14 men and 11 women) youth soccer athletes (9.8 [1.5] y). Intervention: Sixteen weeks of twice-weekly neck-focused resistance training utilizing bands, body weight, and manual resistance. Main Outcome Measures: Head kinematics (angular range of motion, peak anterior–posterior linear acceleration, and peak resultant linear acceleration) were measured by an inertial motion unit fixed to the apex of the head during torso perturbations. Neck-flexion and extension strength were assessed using weights placed on the forehead and a plate-loaded neck harness, respectively. Neck length and circumference were measured via measuring tape. Results: Neck extension (increase in median values for all: +4.5 kg, +100%, P < .001; females: +4.5 kg, +100%, P = .002; males: +2.2 kg, +36%, P = .003) and flexion (all: +3.6 kg, +114%, P < .001; females: +3.6 kg, +114%, P = .004; males: +3.6 kg, +114%, P = .001) strength increased following the intervention. Men and women both experienced reduced perturbation-induced head pitch (all: −84%, P < .001). However, peak resultant linear acceleration decreased in the female (−53%, P = .004), but not male (−31%, P = 1.0) subgroup. Preintervention peak resultant linear acceleration and extension strength (R 2 = .21, P = .033) were the closest-to-significance associations between head kinematics and strength. Conclusions: Young athletes can improve neck strength and reduce perturbation-induced head kinematics following a 16-week neck strengthening program. However, further research is needed to determine the effect of improved strength and head stabilization on concussion injury rates.

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Jackson M. Howard, Bonnie C. Nicholson, Michael B. Madson, Richard S. Mohn, and Emily Bullock-Yowell

Due to demand for high performance inside and outside of the classroom, student-athletes are a unique subsection of college students. Researchers have focused on investigating protective factors, which may enhance student-athlete well-being and academic success in higher education and reduce athlete burnout. The current study examined grit as a mediator between parenting behaviors and academic success, mental health outcomes, and burnout in higher education among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and Division II student-athletes (N = 202). Overparenting behaviors were negatively associated with psychological autonomy granting, mental health outcomes, and athlete burnout. Psychological autonomy granting behaviors were positively associated with grit and negatively associated with mental health outcomes and athlete burnout. Student-athlete grit mediated the relationship between overparenting behaviors and mental health outcomes. Clinical implications include improving student-athlete parent onboarding protocol; student-athlete psychoeducation; and preventative outreach and health promotion among athletes, athletic staff, and university practitioners. In summary, these findings suggest that parenting behaviors and grit are factors that require more attention in fostering student-athlete success.

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John Kuzmeski, Gillian Weir, Travis Johnson, Matthew Salzano, and Joseph Hamill

This study investigated the differences between 5 commonly used methods to calculate leg stiffness over a range of running velocities. Thirteen male, habitually rearfoot, recreational runners ran on a force instrumented treadmill for a 5-minute running session. Each session consisted of 30-second intervals at 6 progressively faster speeds from 2.5 m·s−1 through 5.0 m·s−1 with each interval speed increasing by 0.5 m·s−1. Two-way within-factors repeated-measures analyses of variance were used to evaluate leg stiffness and length. A one-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to evaluate the slope of each trend line of each model across speeds. Pearson correlations were used to compare the relationship between the different computational methods. The results indicated that the direct stiffness methods increased with speed whereas the indirect stiffness methods did not. The direct methods were strongly correlated with each other as were the indirect methods. However, there were no strong correlations between the direct and indirect methods. These differences can be mostly attributed to how each individual stiffness method calculated leg length. It is important for researchers to understand these differences when conducting future studies and comparing past studies.