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Response to “Comment on: Differences in Neurocognitive Functions Between Healthy Controls and Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Reconstructed Male Athletes Who Passed or Failed Return to Sport Criteria: A Preliminary Study”

Razieh Mofateh, Maryam Kiani Haft Lang, Neda Orakifar, and Shahin Goharpey

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Comment on: “Differences in Neurocognitive Functions Between Healthy Controls and Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Reconstructed Male Athletes Who Passed or Failed Return to Sport Criteria: A Preliminary Study”

Jérôme Murgier, Guillaume Zunzarren, and Bertrand Garet

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Changes in Hip and Knee Strength Are Not Associated With Improved Clinical Outcomes After Rehabilitation in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain: A Critically Appraised Topic

Sungwan Kim, Evyn G. Callahan, Zachary C. Malone, Timothy J. Gilgallon, and Neal R. Glaviano

Clinical Scenario: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is a widespread knee disorder encountered in clinical practice. Clinicians have often focused on strengthening hip and knee musculature to improve pain and disability, which are the ultimate clinical goals of PFP treatment. However, PFP literature has shown improvement in pain and disability without concurrent changes in lower-extremity strength after rehabilitation. Although some researchers have achieved a significant increase in strength after rehabilitation in PFP cohorts, there was no association with improved pain and disability. The inconsistent improvements in strength and the lack of association with clinical outcomes call for a critical appraisal of the available evidence to better understand the association between changes in hip and knee strength and improved clinical outcomes in individuals with PFP. Clinical Question: Are changes in hip and knee strength associated with improved pain and disability after rehabilitation in individuals with PFP? Summary of Key Findings: Four studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the appraisal. Following rehabilitation, one study achieved strength improvements in knee extension. One study achieved strength improvements in knee extension, but not in hip external rotation and hip abduction. Two studies did not achieve strength improvements in hip external rotation, hip abduction, hip extension, or knee extension. All included studies achieved improvements in pain or disability after rehabilitation. None of the studies found a significant association between changes in hip and knee strength (either improved or not) and improved pain and disability. Clinical Bottom Line: There is consistent evidence that changes in hip and knee strength are not associated with improved clinical outcomes after rehabilitation in adults with PFP. Strength of Recommendation: Collectively, the body of evidence included is to answer the clinical question aligns with the strength of recommendation of B based on the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy.

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Volume 32 (2023): Issue 8 (Nov 2023)

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Evaluation of the Value of the Y-Balance Test to Predict Lower Limb Injuries in Professional Male Footballers

Haniyeh Mohammadi, Raheleh Ghaffari, Abdolreza Kazemi, Hunter Bennett, and Mahdi Hosseinzadeh

Context: The aim of this prospective cohort study was to identify whether Y-Balance Test (YBT) performance and asymmetry are associated with lower limb injury in elite adult football athletes. Design: A prospective cohort study. Methods: Preseason YBT measures were obtained from 121 male footballers participating in National League One across the 2021–2022 season. Lower limb injuries were tracked across the season to determine the relationship between YBT variables and injury incidence using logistic regression analysis. The statistical significance level was .05. Results: The average YBT score was 111.0 (5.8) cm on the left limb and 112.0 (5.5) cm on the right limb, with an average asymmetry of 2.3 (1.4) cm. Athletes with lower YBT scores on both the left (odds ratio = 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 4.8: P ≤ .001) and right (odds ratio = 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.6 to 3.2: P ≤ .001) limbs were at a greater risk of injury. Similarly, athletes with greater amounts of asymmetry were also more likely to get injured (odds ratio = 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 to 3.3: P = .002). Conclusions: Results indicate that lower and asymmetrical YBT scores have a significant relationship with future lower limb injuries in professional male footballers. The YBT offers a simple, reliable, and effective screening tool that can be used by practitioners in football to help identify players at a greater risk of injury before the season commences.

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Transient Ischemic Attack in a 22-Year-Old NCAA Division I Baseball Athlete: A Case Study

Daisy Luera, Ronald L. Snarr, Sara Posson, Ioannis Liras, George Liras, and Erica M. Filep

Context: A healthy, 22-year-old, male NCAA Division I baseball shortstop was experiencing confusion, chest pain, and tightness during an off-season intersquad scrimmage. The patient did not have any significant medical history or mechanism of head injury. After initial evaluation from the athletic trainer, the patient’s cognitive status began to quickly decline. The emergency action plan was put in place rapidly and referred the patient to the local emergency clinic. Case Presentation: Upon arrival at the emergency department, an electrocardiogram was performed to rule out myocardial infarction or stroke. The first electrocardiogram results returned negative for any cardiac pathology, but a stroke alert was called. The patient was then transported to a level II trauma center due to continual cognitive decline. The patient was diagnosed with transient ischemic attack (TIA) secondary to an undiagnosed patent foramen ovale (PFO) that would later be diagnosed with further evaluation 2 months after the initial TIA incident. After multiple diagnostic and laboratory tests, the PFO went undetected until a 2D echocardiogram was performed and evaluated by a cardiologist. Management and Outcomes: After the confirmation of the congenital defect, surgical intervention was performed to correct the PFO using catheterization. Despite multiple preparticipation examinations, electrocardiograms, and examination of past family history, the PFO went undetected until the patient experienced symptoms of TIA. The discovery of PFO in this 22-year-old athletic individual is unusual because traditional screening techniques (electrocardiogram and preparticipation examinations) failed to detect the congenital defect. Conclusions: Due to the emergent and timely actions of the athletic trainer, the patient has made a full recovery and is able to compete fully in athletic events. This case study amplifies the need for athletic trainers at all sporting events, updated and reviewed emergency action plans, rapid recognition of TIA in athletic individuals, and return-to-play protocol for an athletic individual after TIA.

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Pulsed Red and Blue Photobiomodulation for the Treatment of Thigh Contusions and Soft Tissue Injury: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Aaron Wells, Justin Rigby, Chris Castel, and Dawn Castel

Context: Contusion and soft tissue injuries are common in sports. Photobiomodultion, light and laser therapy, is an effective aid to increase healing rates and improve function after various injury mechanisms. However, it is unclear how well photobiomodulation improves function after a contusion soft tissue injury. This study aimed to determine the effects of a pulsed red and blue photobiomodulation light patch on muscle function following a human thigh contusion injury. Design: Single-blinded randomized control trial design. Methods: We enrolled 46 healthy participants. Participants completed 5 visits on consecutive days. On the first visit, participants completed a baseline isokinetic quadriceps strength testing protocol at 60°/s and 180°/s. On the second visit, participants were struck in the rectus femoris of the anterior thigh with a tennis ball from a serving machine. Immediately following, participants were treated for 30 minutes with an active or placebo photobiomodulation patch (CareWear light patch system, CareWear Corp). Following the treatment, participants completed the same isokinetic quadriceps strength testing protocol. Participants completed the treatment and isokinetic quadriceps strength test during the following daily visits. We normalized the data by calculating the percent change from baseline. We used a mixed model analysis of covariance, with sex as a covariate, to determine the difference between treatment groups throughout the acute recovery process. Results: We found the active photobiomodulation treatment significantly increased over the placebo group, quadriceps peak torque during the 180°/s test (P = .030), and average power during both the 60°/s (P = .041) and 180°/s (P ≤ .001) assessments. The mean peak torque and average power of 180°/s, at day 4, exceeded the baseline levels by 8.9% and 16.8%, respectively. Conclusions: The red and blue photobiomodulation light patch improved muscle strength and power during the acute healing phase of a human thigh contusion injury model.

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Does the Position of the Ankle Matter During the Single Gluteal Bridge in Futsal Players? An Electromyographic Analysis

Gonzalo Elias, Daniel Jerez-Mayorga, and Leonardo Intelangelo

Context: The aim of this study was to analyze the muscle activity of the hamstring muscles and the lateral gastrocnemius during different variants of the single-leg bridge (SLB) in futsal players. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Twenty-two futsal players (age = 24.8 [3.9] y) volunteered to participate in this study. The participants performed 3 variations of the SLB with the knee flexed at 45°. The first position was performed with the ankle in plantar position with flat support, the second with the ankle in dorsiflexion (DF) with heel support, and the third with the ankle in DF and external rotation (ER) with heel support. The Wilcoxon rank-sum test assessed the difference between variables for samples with the rank-biserial correlation effect size. Spearman correlation coefficients were used to examine the associations of the percentage maximal voluntary isometric contraction for each muscle with peak force and rate of force development with 3 different variances of the SLB. Results: The variation of ankle DF and ER with heel support generated higher muscle activity in BF in concentric (P < .01, effect size [ES] = −0.613); isometric (P < .042, ES = −0.494); and eccentric (P < .005, ES = −0.668) contraction than ankle DF with heel support. In contrast, the variation of ankle DF and ER with heel support generated fewer muscle activity in lateral gastrocnemius in concentric (P < .001, ES = 0.779); isometric (P < .003, ES = 0.708); and eccentric (P < .014, ES = 0.589) contraction than ankle DF with heel support. Conclusions: The position of DF and ER was the best position in SLB to train the BF. It could be convenient to start rehabilitation of the BF with flat foot postition or ankle in DF with heel support and progress with the position of the ankle in DF and ER with heel support.

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Test–Retest Reliability of 3 Specific Strength Tests in Professional Handball Players

Maria Dolores Morenas-Aguilar, Luis J. Chirosa Rios, Angela Rodriguez-Perea, Juan Antonio Vázquez Diz, Ignacio J. Chirosa Rios, José Fernando Vera Vera, Lorenzo Ruiz-Orellana, and Daniel Jerez-Mayorga

Context: Current devices to assess strength performance in handball may not be sufficiently sports-specific and reliable methods. Functional electromechanical dynamometry is a new technology that allows the development of accurate strength tests in athletes. Purpose: To determine the absolute and relative reliability and to compare the reliability of the right and left side, and mean and peak force of 3 specific strength tests in handball players with a functional electromechanical dynamometer: unilateral pullover, standing lift, and step forward. Methods: Fourteen male handball players of the first Spanish division (28.79 [4.81] y; 10.38 [4.63] y of professional experience) performed a repeated-measurement design. Three testing sessions were performed (one per week). The first measurement consisted of 4 isometric tests (right and left unilateral pullover, and right and left standing lift) to obtain isometric peak force, and in the second and third sessions, 6 incremental tests until failure (right and left unilateral pullover, and right and left standing lift, right and left step forward) were performed. Results: The tests provided high reliability or acceptable reliability for mean and peak strength of unilateral pullover, standing lift and step forward (intraclass correlation coefficient = .83–.97; coefficient of variation = 3.90–11.57). Effect side was negligible in any of the parameters, except for a small effect side in the left peak force for unilateral pullover and a small effect side on the left side for a step forward. Significant differences in reliability (coefficient of variation ratio > 1.15) were found between the right and left sides and peak and mean force in all exercises except peak force in unilateral pullover and step forward. Conclusion: These results confirm that the tests could be applied to assess physical performance in handball at the same time as regular gym training. Moreover, this is an excellent opportunity to individualize the player’s weekly load.

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Relationship Between Nordic Hamstring Strength and Single Leg Bridge Test in University Soccer Players

Yuta Murakami, Satoru Nishida, Riku Yoshida, Kazuki Kasahara, Akira Kumazaki, Hirokazu Sakuma, Hirosi Fujimoto, Yuki Kaneko, Otoka Abe, and Masatoshi Nakamura

Context: Nordic hamstring strength (NH strength) and single leg bridge test (SLBT) scores are used to predict the risk of hamstring strain injury. Although NH strength and SLBT scores may be related, the relationship between NH strength and SLBT score remains unknown. Objectives: This study investigated the relationship between NH strength and SLBT scores in university soccer players. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: 38 male university soccer players. Main Outcome Measures: NH strength and SLBT scores. Interventions: A participant was instructed to lean forward gradually at the slowest possible speed from a kneeling posture with the knee joint flexed 90° for the NH strength measurement. Participants in the SLBT crossed their arms over their chests, pushed down from their heels, and lifted their hips off the ground as many times as they could until they failed. We investigated the relationship between NH strength and SLBT scores in the left and right sides using Spearman rank correlation coefficient. Additionally, we calculated the percentage of left–right asymmetry in NH strength and SLBT scores and investigated the relationship between these variables using Pearson correlation coefficient. Results: There were no significant correlations between NH strength and SLBT scores in the right (r s  = .239, P = .16) and left (r s  = .311, P = .065) legs. Furthermore, there was no significant relationship between NH strength and SLBT between-limb asymmetry (r = .073, P = .671). Conclusions: NH strength and SLBT scores could be different indexes, indicating either maximal muscle strength or muscle endurance. Thus, the findings suggested that when assessing risk factors for hamstring strain injury, both NH strength and SLBT scores should be measured.