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Todd C. Pataky

Biomechanical trajectories are often routed through a chain of processing steps prior to statistical analysis. As changes in processing parameter values can affect these trajectories, care is required when choosing data processing specifics. The purpose of this Research Note was to demonstrate a simple way to propagate data processing parameter uncertainty to statistical inferences regarding biomechanical trajectories. As an example application, the correlation between foot contact duration and vertical ground reaction force during constant-speed treadmill walking was considered. Uncertainty was modeled using plausible-range uniform distributions in three data processing steps, and Monte Carlo simulation was used to construct probabilistic representations of both individual vertical ground reaction force measurements and the ultimate statistical results. Whereas an initial, plausible set of parameter values yielded a significant correlation between contact duration and late-stance vertical ground reaction force, Monte Carlo simulations revealed strong sensitivity, with “significance” being reached in fewer than 40% of simulations, with relatively little net effect of parameter uncertainty magnitude. These results indicate that propagating processing parameter uncertainty to statistical results promotes a cautious, nuanced, and robust view of observed effects. By extension, Monte Carlo simulations may yield greater interpretive consistency across studies involving data processing uncertainties.

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Mindy F. Levin and Daniele Piscitelli

There is a lack of conceptual and theoretical clarity among clinicians and researchers regarding the control of motor actions based on the use of the term “motor control.” It is important to differentiate control processes from observations of motor output to improve communication and to make progress in understanding motor disorders and their remediation. This article clarifies terminology related to theoretical concepts underlying the control of motor actions, emphasizing how the term “motor control” is applied in neurorehabilitation. Two major opposing theoretical frameworks are described (i.e., direct and indirect), and their strengths and pitfalls are discussed. Then, based on the proposition that sensorimotor rehabilitation should be predicated on one comprehensive theory instead of an eclectic mix of theories and models, several solutions are offered about how to address controversies in motor learning, optimality, and adaptability of movement.

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Abigail G. Swenson, Bari A. Schunicht, Nicholas S. Pritchard, Logan E. Miller, Jillian E. Urban, and Joel D. Stitzel

Hockey is a fast-paced sport known for body checking, or intentional collisions used to separate opponents from the puck. Exposure to these impacts is concerning, as evidence suggests head impact exposure (HIE), even if noninjurious, can cause long-term brain changes. Currently, there is limited understanding of the effect of impact direction and collision speed on HIE. Video analysis was used to determine speed and direction for 162 collisions from 13 youth athletes. These data were paired with head kinematic data collected with an instrumented mouthpiece. Relationships between peak resultant head kinematics and speeds were evaluated with linear regression. Mean athlete speeds and relative velocity between athletes ranged from 2.05 to 2.76 m/s. Mean peak resultant linear acceleration, rotational velocity, and rotational acceleration were 13.1 g, 10.5 rad/s, and 1112 rad/s2, respectively. Significant relationships between speeds and head kinematics emerged when stratified by contact characteristics. HIE also varied by direction of collision; most collisions occurred in the forward-oblique (ie, offset from center) direction; frontal collisions had the greatest magnitude peak kinematics. These findings indicate that HIE in youth hockey is influenced by speed and direction of impact. This study may inform future strategies to reduce the severity of HIE in hockey.

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William Anderst, Shaquille Charles, Milad Zarei, Ashika Mani, Naomi Frankston, Elliott Hammersley, Gehui Zhang, MaCalus Hogan, and Robert T. Krafty

Studies of human movement usually collect data from multiple repetitions of a task and use the average of all movement trials to approximate the typical kinematics or kinetics pattern for each individual. Few studies report the expected accuracy of these estimated mean kinematics or kinetics waveforms for each individual. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how simultaneous confidence bands, which is an approach to quantify uncertainty across an entire waveform based on limited data, can be used to calculate margin of error (MOE) for waveforms. Bilateral plantar pressure data were collected from 70 participants as they walked over 4 surfaces for an average of at least 300 steps per surface. The relationship between MOE and the number of steps included in the analysis was calculated using simultaneous confidence bands, and 3 methods commonly used for pointwise estimates: intraclass correlation, sequential averaging, and T-based MOE. The conventional pointwise approaches underestimated the number of trials required to estimate biomechanical waveforms within a desired MOE. Simultaneous confidence bands are an objective approach to more accurately estimate the relationship between the number of trials collected and the MOE in estimating typical biomechanical waveforms.

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Tim L.A. Doyle, AuraLea C. Fain, Jodie A. Wills, Daniel Cooper, Kevin Toonen, and Benjamin Kamphius

The diverse and grueling nature of activities undertaken during Special Forces selection makes it difficult to develop physical training to improve performance and reduce injury risk. It is generally accepted that increased strength is protective against injury, but it is unclear if this is evident in a Special Forces selection environment. This study investigated the effect of the rigors of a Special Forces selection course has on performance of the isometric mid-thigh pull, countermovement jump, squat jump, drop landing, elastic utilization ratio (EUR), and injury occurrence. Throughout the course, 26% of participants sustained a preventable lower limb injury, with 65% of these occurring at the knee. The uninjured had higher values of absolute strength as measured by isometric mid-thigh pull peak absolute force (3399 [371] N, 3146 [307] N; P = .022) and lower EUR (0.94 [0.08], 1.01 [0.09]; P = .025) compared to the injured. Preventable knee injury was significantly correlated with isometric mid-thigh pull (r = −.245, P = .031) and EUR (r = .227, P = .044). The selection course altered EUR for uninjured individuals only (P = .004). Findings indicate that individuals with higher strength levels may be at a lower risk of injury than their weaker counterparts.

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Seong-won Han, Andrew Sawatsky, and Walter Herzog

The purpose of this study was to quantify the contribution of the individual quadriceps muscles to patellar tracking. The individual and/or combined quadriceps muscles were activated in rabbits (n = 6) during computer-controlled flexion/extension of the knee. Three-dimensional patellar tracking was measured for the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and rectus femoris when activated alone and when activated simultaneously at different frequencies, producing a range of knee extensor torques. Patellar tracking changed substantially as a function of knee extensor torque and differed between muscles. Specifically, when all quadriceps muscles were activated simultaneously, the patella shifted more medially and proximally and rotated and tilted more medially compared with when vastus lateralis and rectus femoris were activated alone (P < .05), whereas vastus medialis activation alone produced a similar tracking pattern to that observed when all quadriceps muscles were activated simultaneously. Furthermore, patellar tracking for a given muscle condition shifted more medially and proximally and rotated and tilted more medially with increasing knee extensor torques across the entire range of knee joint angles. The authors conclude that patellar tracking depends crucially on knee extensor force/torque and that vastus medialis affects patellar tracking in a distinctly different way than vastus lateralis and rectus femoris, which produce similar tracking patterns.

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Ewa Szczerbik, Malgorzata Kalinowska, and Malgorzata Syczewska

The purpose of the study was to investigate which changes in kinematics and muscle activity in healthy, middle-aged women are introduced to maintain balance on an unstable platform. Biodex Balance System tests were used in stable and unstable modes (sudden with eyes open/closed and gradual with eyes open). Simultaneously, lower-extremity kinematics and surface electromyography of back and legs muscles were captured. The dependence between balance scores, movement ranges, and root mean square of electromyography was assessed with multiple regression to evaluate the strategy used. The results showed multisegmental movements in sudden instability, and activity of at least one of the following muscles: gluteus maximus, erector spinae, and soleus in all conditions. Best balance scores were achieved when movements appeared in pelvis in transverse, and hip in frontal planes, worst when in pelvis in frontal, hip, and ankle in sagittal planes, and when mentioned muscles were activated. Further research is needed to identify the determinants of strategy choice.

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Martha J. Anderson, Yvette Ingram, Linda Meyer, Thomas West, and Ellen West

Collegiate athletes have demonstrated a need for social support to help cope with their daily responsibilities. The purpose of this research was to explore National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II athletes’ perception of social support from friends, teammates, family, coaches, significant others, and athletic trainers following injury, illness, or other identified life stressors. There were 546 participants who completed a five-part survey using the University Stress Scale, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, the Athletic Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, the Perceived Stress Scale, and a demographic section. Of the participants, 352 (64.5%) stated that they experienced moderate stress levels, and all participants indicated experiencing an identified life stressor within the last 12 months. The results indicated statistically significant differences when comparing providers of social support: females preferred the support of friends, significant others, and athletic trainers, and freshmen and sophomores perceived more social support from friends than did juniors and seniors.