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Arthur Alves Dos Santos, James Sorce, Alexandra Schonning, and Grant Bevill

This study evaluated the performance of 6 commercially available hard hat designs—differentiated by shell design, number of suspension points, and suspension tightening system—in regard to their ability to attenuate accelerations during vertical impacts to the head. Tests were conducted with impactor materials of steel, wood, and lead shot (resembling commonly seen materials in a construction site), weighing 1.8 and 3.6 kg and dropped from 1.83 m onto a Hybrid III head/neck assembly. All hard hats appreciably reduced head acceleration to the unprotected condition. However, neither the addition of extra suspension points nor variations in suspension tightening mechanism appreciably influenced performance. Therefore, these results indicate that additional features available in current hard hat designs do not improve protective capacity as related to head acceleration metrics.

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Laura Duval, Lei Zhang, Anne-Sophie Lauzé, Yu Q. Zhu, Dorothy Barthélemy, Numa Dancause, Mindy F. Levin, and Anatol G. Feldman

We tested the hypothesis that the ipsilateral corticospinal system, like the contralateral corticospinal system, controls the threshold muscle length at which wrist muscles and the stretch reflex begin to act during holding tasks. Transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied over the right primary motor cortex in 21 healthy subjects holding a smooth or coarse block between the hands. Regardless of the lifting force, motor evoked potentials in right wrist flexors were larger for the smooth block. This result was explained based on experimental evidence that motor actions are controlled by shifting spatial stretch reflex thresholds. Thus, the ipsilateral corticospinal system is involved in threshold position control by modulating facilitatory influences of hand skin afferents on motoneurons of wrist muscles during bimanual object manipulation.

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Steven van Andel, Robin Pieper, Inge Werner, Felix Wachholz, Maurice Mohr, and Peter Federolf

Best practice in skill acquisition has been informed by motor control theories. The main aim of this study is to screen existing literature on a relatively novel theory, Optimal Feedback Control Theory (OFCT), and to assess how OFCT concepts can be applied in sports and motor learning research. Based on 51 included studies with on average a high methodological quality, we found that different types of training seem to appeal to different control processes within OFCT. The minimum intervention principle (founded in OFCT) was used in many of the reviewed studies, and further investigation might lead to further improvements in sport skill acquisition. However, considering the homogenous nature of the tasks included in the reviewed studies, these ideas and their generalizability should be tested in future studies.

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Tanner M. Filben, Nicholas S. Pritchard, Logan E. Miller, Sarah K. Woods, Megan E. Hayden, Christopher M. Miles, Jillian E. Urban, and Joel D. Stitzel

Soccer players are regularly exposed to head impacts by intentionally heading the ball. Evidence suggests repetitive subconcussive head impacts may affect the brain, and females may be more vulnerable to brain injury than males. This study aimed to characterize head impact exposure among National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s soccer players using a previously validated mouthpiece-based sensor. Sixteen players were instrumented during 72 practices and 24 games. Head impact rate and rate of risk-weighted cumulative exposure were compared across session type and player position. Head kinematics were compared across session type, impact type, player position, impact location, and ball delivery method. Players experienced a mean (95% confidence interval) head impact rate of 0.468 (0.289 to 0.647) head impacts per hour, and exposure rates varied by session type and player position. Headers accounted for 89% of head impacts and were associated with higher linear accelerations and rotational accelerations than nonheader impacts. Headers in which the ball was delivered by a long kick had greater peak kinematics (all P < .001) than headers in which the ball was delivered by any other method. Results provide increased understanding of head impact frequency and magnitude in women’s collegiate soccer and may help inform efforts to prevent brain injury.

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J.D. DeFreese, Daniel J. Madigan, and Henrik Gustafsson

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ZáNean McClain, Kip Webster, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Anderson

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Jacob W. Hinkel-Lipsker, Nicole M. Stoehr, Pranavi L. Depur, Michael A. Weise, Joshua A. Vicente, Stefanie A. Drew, and Sean M. Rogers

Humans use their peripheral vision during locomotion to perceive an approaching obstacle in their path, while also focusing central gaze on steps ahead of them. However, certain physiological and psychological factors may change this strategy, such as when a walker is physically fatigued. In this study, 21 healthy participants walked through a dark room while wearing eye tracking glasses before and following intense exercise. Obstacles were placed in random locations along their path and became illuminated when participants approached them. Results indicate that, when fatigued, participants had altered spatial gaze strategies, including more frequent use of central gaze to perceive obstacles and an increased gaze angular displacement. However, there were no changes in temporal gaze strategies following exercise. These findings reveal how physical fatigue alters one’s visual perception of their environment during locomotion, and may partially explain why people are at greater risk of trips and falls while fatigued.

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Eva Orantes-Gonzalez and J. Heredia-Jimenez

In this study, the effect of carrying combat equipment and a backpack on balance between men and women was analyzed by simulating a jump out of an armored fighting vehicle, together with the influence of body composition variables. Thirty-seven men and eight women participated in this study. Three landings were performed by simulating a jump from a wheeled armored vehicle carrying no load, carrying the combat equipment and backpack condition. A force plate was used to measure the amplitude and velocity displacement of the center of pressure and the stabilization time. A significant load effect was found on the total velocity and medial–lateral velocity. The weight of the combat equipment and the body composition variables did not correlate with the balance variables. Male and female soldiers showed similar body balance while carrying military combat equipment.

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S. Balamurugan, Rachaveti Dhanush, and S.K.M. Varadhan

A reduction in fingertip forces during a visually occluded isometric task is called unintentional drift. In this study, unintentional drift was studied for two conditions, with and without “epilogue.” We define epilogue as the posttrial visual feedback in which the outcome of the just-concluded trial is shown before the start of the next trial. For this study, 14 healthy participants were recruited and were instructed to produce fingertip forces to match a target line at 15% maximum voluntary contraction. The results showed a significant reduction in unintentional drift in the epilogue condition. This reduction is probably due to the difference in the shift in λ, the threshold of the tonic stretch reflex, the hypothetical control variable that the central controller can set.

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Tippawan Kaewmanee and Alexander S. Aruin

Efficient maintenance of posture depends on the ability of humans to predict consequences of a perturbation applied to their body. The purpose of this scoping review was to map the literature on the role of predictability of a body perturbation in control of posture. A comprehensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL databases was conducted. Inclusion criteria were studies of adults participating in experiments involving body perturbations, reported outcomes of posture and balance control, and studies published in English. Sixty-three studies were selected. The reviewed information resources included the availability of sensory information and the exposure to perturbations in different sequences of perturbation magnitudes or directions. This review revealed that people use explicit and implicit information resources for the prediction of perturbations. Explicit information consists of sensory information related to perturbation properties and timing, whereas implicit information involves learning from repetitive exposures to perturbations of the same properties.