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Experimentally Induced Pain Results in Reduced Activity of the Rotator Cuff Muscles in Healthy Subjects

Jennifer L. Cooper and Andrew R. Karduna

Shoulder pain is a complex, prevalent problem that is multifactorial in nature. While there are many potential causes, one common suspect is the rotator cuff musculature. The purpose of the present study was to induce pain in the supraspinatus muscle of healthy subjects and observe the resulting changes in muscle activity. Eight muscles on 23 subjects were assessed using electromyography: anterior, middle, and posterior deltoid; pectoralis major; upper trapezius; latissimus dorsi; serratus anterior; supraspinatus; and infraspinatus. It was hypothesized that the rotator cuff muscles would display reduced activity during pain, and that reductions in activity would remain after the pain had dissipated. Both of the rotator cuff muscles measured did indeed display reduced activity in a majority of the dynamic, isometric, and maximal contractions. Many of those reductions remained after the pain had subsided.

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High-Intensity Forward-Backward Plyometrics After the Warm-Up Entail Better Sprint and Change-of-Direction Performance Than Low-Intensity Side-to-Side Plyometrics

Karim Ben Ayed, Raouf Hammami, Javier Gene-Morales, Amira Ajailia, Hanen Werfelli, Haithem Rebai, Pablo Jiménez-Martínez, Jorge Flandez, and Juan C. Colado

This study aimed to determine the acute effects of high-intensity forward-backward and low-intensity side-to-side plyometric jumps performed following the warm-up on sprint (5, 10, and 15 m) and change-of-direction (COD) (T-half test and repeated T-half tests) performance in youth volleyball players. After a familiarization week, 30 male volleyball players (age = 12.04 ± 1.03 years) performed three randomized conditions (no-plyometrics, high-intensity plyometrics, and low-intensity plyometrics) in three sessions. In a within-subject design, three sets of six repetitions of forward-backward 30-cm hurdle jumps (high-intensity) and side-to-side 20-cm hurdle jumps (low-intensity) were completed. Sprint and COD were tested after each of the conditions with a 2-min rest. A significant effect of the plyometric condition was observed on sprint (p < .001, η p 2 range: .56–.70) and COD (p < .01, η p 2 = .24 ), but not on repeated COD. More specifically, the high-intensity plyometric condition exhibited significantly better results compared with the low-intensity plyometric (Cohen’s d range: 0.73–1.21) and control conditions (Cohen’s d range: 0.91–2.21). Due to the importance of speed and COD in volleyball, these results suggest that young volleyball players may benefit from high-intensity forward-backward plyometric protocols following the warm-up to improve subsequent performance.

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The Influence of a Warm-Up on Vigilance in University Students

Francisco Tomás González-Fernández, Alfonso Castillo-Rodriguez, Sixto González-Víllora, and David Hortigüela-Alcalá

The present study aimed to analyze the effects of conducting a warm-up (WC) or not (WWC) on students of the Science Degree in Physical Activity and Sport before starting a practical class. Thirty-two students of the Science Degree in Physical Activity and Sport (age: 22.38 ± 1.81 years; height: 176.09 ± 8.52 cm; weight: 22.38 ± 1.81 kg; body fat: 25.17 ± 3.20%) participated in a counterbalanced cross-sectional study in which three conditions were tested: (a) basal lineal, (b) WC, and (c) WWC. Participants recorded longer times (worse performance) in the Illinois dribbling test (basal lineal condition [20.17 ± 1.35], WWC [20.13 ± 1.37], and WC [19.32 ± 1.35]) and the Psychomotor Vigilance Task test (basal lineal condition [397.88 ± 75.98 ms]; WWC [412.19 ± 91.39 ms], and WC [368.53 ± 68.65 ms]). The warm-up prior to physical activity classes had positive effects on vigilance linked to executive functioning, and physical performance. In this sense, more research on different types of warm-up may be in order to contrast them with each other, as well as to carry out attention measurements according to the content to be imparted after the warm-ups. The present study represents a big opportunity for all physical education teachers due to warm-up is a crucial aspect that occurs in all practical sessions, also linked to the attention processes and motivational factors of the students.

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Increased Ability to Perceive Relevant Sensory Information Minimizes Low Back Exposures in Lifting

Daniel P. Armstrong, Brian C. Horslen, and Steven L. Fischer

We have previously shown evidence that some individuals seem to consistently minimize low back loads when lifting, while others do not. However, it is unknown why. Individual differences in ability to perceive relevant sensory information may explain differences in minimization of low back loads during lifting, consistent with considering load reduction in one’s movement objective in an optimal feedback control theory framework. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether individuals’ ability to perceive proprioceptive information (both force- and posture-senses) at the low back was associated with peak low back loads when performing generic or occupation-specific lifts. Seventy-two participants were recruited to perform 10 barbell (generic) and backboard (occupation-specific) lifts, while whole-body kinematics and ground reaction forces were collected. Peak low back compression and anteroposterior shear forces normalized to body mass were calculated as dependent variables. Both posture matching ability and force matching ability at the heavier force targets were associated with lower means and variability of peak low-back loads in both lift types, albeit with small effect sizes (R 2 ≤ .17). These findings support the utility of an optimal feedback control theory framework to explore factors explaining interindividual differences in low back loads during lifting. Further, this evidence suggests improving proprioceptive ability may be a useful strategy in lift training programs designed for workplace injury prevention.

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Reliability of Accuracy and Precision Tests for Elite Para Table Tennis Players

Szymon Galas, Marcin Andrzejewski, and Beata Pluta

The primary purpose of this study was to adapt selected accuracy and precision tests in table tennis to the specific skills of elite table tennis players with impairment. The study included a sample of 23 Para table tennis players with an average age of 31.8 ± 12.22 years (including 30.4% females) who belonged to the senior Polish Para table tennis team. A battery of six tests evaluating stroke accuracy and serve precision was assessed. The analysis of the reliability of these tests confirmed the legitimacy of using this battery of accuracy and precision tests to assess the skills of Para table tennis players in all three integrated sport classes: players in wheelchairs, in a standing position, and with intellectual impairment. Analysis of the data obtained from the tests could provide coaches with relevant information regarding elite Para table tennis players’ level of performance and examine selected accuracy and precision elements of their individual technique.

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Commingling Effects of Anterior Load and Walking Surface on Dynamic Gait Stability in Young Adults

Caroline Simpkins, Jiyun Ahn, Rebekah Buehler, Rebecca Ban, Meredith Wells, and Feng Yang

Treadmill walking has been used as a surrogate for overground walking to examine how load carriage affects gait. The validity of using treadmill walking to investigate load carriage’s effects on stability has not been established. Thirty young adults were randomized into 3 front-loaded groups (group 1: 0%, 2: 10%, or 3: 20% of bodyweight). Participants carried their load during overground and treadmill walking. Dynamic gait stability (primary outcome) was determined for 2 gait events (touchdown and liftoff). Secondary variables included step length, gait speed, and trunk angle. Groups 1 and 2 demonstrated similar stability between walking surfaces. Group 3 was less stable during treadmill walking than overground (P ≤ .005). Besides trunk angle, all secondary outcomes were similar between groups (P > .272) but different between surfaces (P ≤ .001). The trunk angle at both events showed significant group- and surface-related differences (P ≤ .046). Results suggested that walking with an anterior load of up to 10% bodyweight causes comparable stability between surfaces. A 20% bodyweight front load could render participants less stable on the treadmill than overground. This indicates that anteriorly loaded treadmill walking may not be interchangeable with overground walking concerning stability for anterior loads of 20% bodyweight.

Open access

“It Looks Good on Paper, But It Was Never Meant to Be Real”: Mixed-Gender Events in the Paralympic Movement

Nikolaus A. Dean, Andrea Bundon, P. David Howe, and Natalie Abele

Although the Paralympic Games have been around for over 60 years, women remain underrepresented in almost all aspects of the Paralympic Movement. It has been suggested that a way to increase women’s involvement is through the implementation of mixed-gender events. On paper, this approach makes sense. However, when it comes to the implementation of mixed-gender opportunities for women, it is less clear how effective these events are in increasing participation by women in Para sport. Through document analysis and interviews with athletes and organizers of mixed-gender Paralympic sport, we explore the various strategies that four mixed-gender sports have used to address the issue of gender parity. Using critical feminist theories, we illustrate how larger social, political, and cultural ideas about gender influence women’s experiences within these events and discuss the potential of using mixed-gender initiatives to address gender parity within the Paralympic Movement.

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Nonaccidental Violence Among Elite Athletes in Finland: Associations With Sport Conditions and Mental Well-Being and Ill-Being

Satu Kaski and Ulla Kinnunen

The aim of this research was to study the prevalence of nonaccidental violence among elite athletes in Finland, the predisposing factors to violence, and its consequences for mental well-being and ill-being. A total of 2,045 Finnish athletes participated in the study. Logistic and linear regression analyses were used to analyze the associations. The results indicated that 38.8% had experienced psychological abuse, 14.7% bullying, 13.3% gender-based harassment, and 5.5% sexual harassment. Female and younger athletes reported more violent experiences than male and older athletes. A team’s safe atmosphere and readiness to act protected athletes from nonaccidental violence, whereas the coach did not play a role. Nonaccidental violence, particularly psychological abuse, was associated with reduced mental well-being and increased ill-being. Our results suggest that it is worth investing in the team’s mutual relationships and safe cooperation when ensuring appropriate behavior and preventing nonaccidental violence among athletes.

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Delivering Load-Modifying Gait Retraining Interventions via Telehealth in People With Medial Knee Osteoarthritis: A Pilot Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

Nicole D’Souza, Laura Hutchison, Jane Grayson, Claire Hiller, Sarah Kobayashi, and Milena Simic

We aimed to investigate the effects of delivering 3 gait retraining interventions (toe-in, toe-out, and placebo gait) on proxy measures of medial knee load (early- and late-stance peak knee adduction moment [KAM], KAM impulse, and varus thrust) in people with knee osteoarthritis, using a hybrid model of face-to-face and telehealth-delivered sessions over 5 months. This was an originally planned 3-arm randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. However, during the 2021 COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in Sydney, Australia, the study became a pilot randomized controlled trial with the remainder of interventions delivered via telehealth. Nine individuals with symptomatic medial knee osteoarthritis were allocated to receive either a toe-in, toe-out, or posture re-education (placebo) gait retraining intervention. Primary outcomes of early- and late-stance peak KAM, KAM impulse, and varus thrust were assessed at baseline and follow-up. Eight participants returned for their follow-up gait assessment. Participants in both active intervention groups (toe-in and toe-out) achieved foot progression angle changes at follow-up. Overall, knee biomechanics in the placebo group did not change at follow-up. It is possible to achieve biomechanical changes in individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis when delivering gait retraining interventions via a hybrid model of face-to-face and telehealth.

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Acute Effect of Brace Use on Upper-Extremity Functionality in Adolescent Individuals With Idiopathic Scoliosis: A Cross-Sectional Study

Kamil Yilmaz, Fatih Celik, and Bayram Sonmez Unuvar

It is well known that scoliosis adversely affects the functions of the upper extremities. However, the acute effect of rigid braces, which are widely used in the conservative treatment of scoliosis, on upper-extremity functionality remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the acute effect of a rigid thoracolumbosacral brace use on upper-extremity functionality in individuals with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). Thirty-eight individuals diagnosed with AIS participated in this cross-sectional study, with a mean age of 14.55 ± 1.90 years and a range of 10–18 years. The upper-extremity functionality was assessed using the Nine-Hole Peg Test and handgrip strength, with assessments conducted under both in-brace (with their own braces) and out-of-brace conditions. Nine-Hole Peg Test durations of the AIS patients for the nondominant side were significantly lower for in-brace conditions compared with out-of-brace conditions (p = .049, effect size = 0.136). The grip strength of the nondominant side was significantly higher for in-brace conditions compared with out-of-brace conditions (p = .025, effect size = 0.365). A weak negative correlation was found between the degree of curvature and the grip strength of the dominant side for in-brace conditions (r = −.323, p = .048). It was concluded that the brace had a positive effect on upper-extremity functionality on the nondominant side by both shortening the Nine-Hole Peg Test duration and increasing grip strength. In AIS patients, the brace may positively affect daily living by improving the functionality of the nondominant extremity.