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Toshiaki Soga, Taspol Keerasomboon, Kei Akiyama, and Norikazu Hirose

Context: This study aimed to examine the differences in electromyographic (EMG) activity of the biceps femoris long head (BFlh) and semitendinosus (ST) muscles, break-point angle (BPA), and the angle at peak BFlh EMG activity between bilateral and unilateral Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) on a sloped platform. Design: This study was designed as a case-control study. Methods: Fourteen men participated in the study. The participants initially performed maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) on the prone leg curl to normalize the peak hamstring EMG amplitude as the %MVIC. Then, participants were randomized to perform the following 3 variations of NHE: bilateral (N40) or unilateral (N40U) NHE with a platform angle of 40°, and unilateral NHE with a platform angle of 50° (N50U). The EMG activities of the BFlh and ST and the knee flexion angle during the NHE variations were recorded to calculate the EMG activity of the BFlh and ST in terms of the %MVIC, the angle at peak BFlh EMG, and BPA. Results: The BFlh %MVIC was significantly higher in N40U (P < .05) and N50U (P < .05) than in N40. A significant difference in BFlh %MVIC and ST %MVIC was observed between N40U (P < .05) and N50U (P < .05). The mean values of BPA and the angle at peak BFlh EMG were <30° for all NHE variations. Conclusions: In the late swing phase of high-speed running, BFlh showed higher EMG activity; thus, unilateral NHE may be a specific hamstring exercise for hamstring injury prevention.

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Eugene Tee, Jack Melbourne, Larissa Sattler, and Wayne Hing

Context: Acute lateral ankle sprain (LAS) is a common injury in athletes and is often associated with decreased athletic performance and, if treated poorly, can result in chronic ankle issues, such as instability. Physical performance demands, such as cutting, hopping, and landing, involved with certain sport participation suggests that the rehabilitation needs of an athlete after LAS may differ from those of the general population. Objective: To review the literature to determine the most effective rehabilitation interventions reported for athletes returning to sport after acute LAS. Evidence Acquisition: Data Sources: Databases PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and PEDro were searched to July 2020. Study Selection: A scoping review protocol was developed and followed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines and registered (https://osf.io/bgek3/). Study selection included published articles on rehabilitation for ankle sprain in an athletic population. Data Extraction: Parameters included athlete and sport type, age, sex, intervention investigated, outcome measures, measurement tool, and follow-up period. Data Synthesis: A qualitative synthesis for all articles was undertaken, and a quantitative subanalysis of randomized controlled trials and critical methodological appraisal was also conducted. Evidence Synthesis: A total of 37 articles were included in this review consisting of 5 systematic and 20 narrative reviews, 7 randomized controlled trials, a single-case series, case report, position statement, critically appraised topic, and descriptive study. Randomized controlled trial interventions included early dynamic training, electrotherapy, and hydrotherapy. Conclusions: Early dynamic training after acute LAS in athletes results in a shorter time to return to sport, increased functional performance, and decreased self-reported reinjury. The results of this scoping review support an early functional and dynamic rehabilitation approach when compared to passive interventions for athletes returning to sport after LAS. Despite existing research on rehabilitation of LAS in the general population, a lack of evidence exists related to athletes seeking to return to sport.

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Stephanie Wise and Jordan Bettleyon

Clinical Scenario: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common entrapment neuropathy of the upper-extremity. Due to the involvement of the median nerve, long-term compression of this nerve can lead to hand dysfunction and disability that can impact work and daily life. As such, early treatment is warranted to prevent any long-term damage to the median nerve. Conservative management is utilized in those with mild to moderate CTS. Neural mobilizations can aid in the reduction of neural edema, neural mobility, and neural adhesion while improving nerve conduction. Clinical Question: Is neurodynamics effective in reducing pain and reported symptoms in those with CTS? Summary of Key Findings: Four studies were included, with 2 studies utilizing passive neural mobilizations, one study using active techniques, and one study using active neural mobilizations with splinting. All studies showed large effect size for pain, symptom severity, and physical function. Clinical Bottom Line: Neurodynamics is an effective treatment for CTS. Splinting is only effective when combined with neurodynamics. Strength of Recommendation: Level B evidence to support the use of neurodynamics for the treatment of CTS.

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Masahiro Kuniki, Yoshitaka Iwamoto, Daiki Yamagiwa, and Nobuhiro Kito

Context: Core stability is important for preventing injury and improving performance. Although various tests for evaluating core stability have been reported to date, information on their relationship and the effect of gender differences is limited. This study aimed to (1) identify correlations among the 3 core stability tests and to examine the validity of each test and (2) identify gender differences in the test relationship and determine whether gender influenced test selection. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Fifty-one healthy volunteers (27 men and 24 women) participated in the study. The participants underwent the following 3 tests: Sahrmann Core Stability Test (SCST), the lumbar spine motor control tests battery (MCBT), and Y Balance Test (YBT). Each parameter was analyzed according to all parameters and gender using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient. Results: Overall, there was a strong positive correlation between SCST and MCBT and moderate positive correlations between SCST and YBT and between MCBT and YBT. Conversely, gender-specific analyses revealed no significant correlations between YBT and SCST and between YBT and MCBT in women, although significantly strong correlations were found among all tests in men. Conclusion: Although these 3 tests evaluated interrelated functions and may be valid as core stability tests, the results should be carefully interpreted when performing YBT in women.

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Haley S. Moore, Samuel R. Walton, Morgan R. Eckenrod, and Melissa K. Kossman

Clinical Scenario: Injuries cause individuals varying amounts of time loss from participation, which may depend on injury and sport-specific factors such as level of participation. Athletes who never return to sport either choose or are forced to retire due to numerous factors. At elite levels of play, when an athlete chooses retirement, they have the opportunity to create and execute a retirement plan; however, if unexpected (eg, due to career-ending injury), athletes may struggle to transition out of sport effectively, impacting physical, mental, and social health. The biopsychosocial model looks at the relationship between biology, psychology, and socio-environmental factors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to better understand the biopsychosocial experiences elite athletes face after a career-ending injury so that sport stakeholders can develop and implement strategies to support a healthy transition. Clinical Question: How does suffering a career-ending injury affect elite athletes’ biopsychosocial experiences during retirement from sport? Summary of Key Findings: All studies found that a career-ending injury negatively impacted athlete’s biopsychosocial health during the transition period. In addition, social support was identified as a positive coping mechanism and research highlighted the role of education in promoting successful transitions. Sport stakeholders should educate athletes regarding the importance of creating secondary plans. By creating a culture of athletic and nonathletic identity, athletes can feel empowered to navigate different phases of their life despite transition being forced upon them due to injury. Clinical Bottom Line: Career-ending injuries negatively impact the biopsychosocial experiences of elite athletes as they transition out of sport. Athletes may face many transitional challenges including a loss of identity, a lack of external support, and/or mental health decline; those more closely identifying with their role as an athlete tend to have a harder transition. Therefore, it is important for all athletes to be adequately prepared for sport retirement, especially given the uncertainty about when and how retirement may occur. Strength of Recommendation: Collectively, the body of evidence included to answer the clinical question aligns with the strength of recommendation of C.

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Julia Spellman, Rachel Eldredge, Melissa Nelson, Jennifer Ostrowski, and Jennifer Concannon

Clinical Scenario: There are a variety of therapeutic modalities used to treat flexibility issues in athletes, which can be the main cause of hamstring injuries. Myofascial decompression is one modality used to treat these patients. Focused Clinical Question: Is myofascial decompression effective at increasing hamstring flexibility in the athletic population? Summary of Search, “Best Evidence” Appraised, and Key Findings: The literature was searched for studies of level 2 evidence or higher that investigated the use of myofascial decompression to increase hamstring flexibility, that were published in the last 5 years. Two high-quality randomized controlled trials were included and one cohort study. Clinical Bottom Line: There is not enough consistent, clinically significant, high-level evidence to support the use of myofascial decompression to increase hamstring flexibility. Strength of Recommendation: There is level B evidence to support that myofascial decompression is effective at increasing hamstring flexibility.

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Jeffrey B. Taylor, Anh-Dung Nguyen, Audrey E. Westbrook, Abigail Trzeciak, and Kevin R. Ford

Context: Women’s volleyball requires frequent and repetitive jumping that when performed with altered biomechanics, including kinematic or kinetic asymmetry, may place the athlete at high risk for injury. This study identified and analyzed lower-extremity biomechanical asymmetries in college women’s volleyball players during standard and sport-specific double-leg landing tasks. Design: Cross-sectional laboratory study. Methods: Eighteen female college volleyball players were analyzed using standard 3D motion capture techniques during a drop vertical jump and an unanticipated lateral reactive jump task. Repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance identified asymmetries in kinematic and kinetic variables of each task. Results: Average symmetry indices ranged from 9.3% to 31.3% during the drop vertical jump and 11.9% to 25.6% during the reactive jump task. During the drop vertical jump, the dominant limb exhibited lower knee abduction moments (P = .03), ankle dorsiflexion moments (P = .02), ankle eversion moments (P = .003) and vertical ground reaction forces (P = .03), and greater ankle inversion moments (P = .001). Both kinematic (λ = 0.27, P = .03) and kinetic (λ = 0.12, P = .008) asymmetries were identified during the reactive jump task. The dominant limb exhibited greater peak knee flexion (P = .003) and ankle dorsiflexion (P = .02) angles, and greater ankle dorsiflexion (P = .005) and inversion (P = .03) moments than the nondominant limb. Conclusions: These asymmetries observed during double-leg landing tasks may predispose volleyball athletes to unilaterally higher ground reaction or muscle forces and ultimately a greater risk of injury during landing.

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Samuel L. Konrath and Dale R. Wagner

Despite implementation in 1997, published research detailing the administration of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s minimum weight certification program is lacking. This survey aimed to determine how athletic trainers administer this program. Thirty-five of 77 (45.5% response rate) athletic trainers for National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I wrestling programs responded. Most (74.3%) had ≥5 years of experience measuring body composition, and nearly all (97.1%) used skinfold calipers. Caliper type varied, but everyone used the same measurement sites and procedure to estimate minimal weight. There appears to be consistency in the administration of minimal wrestling weight standards across National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I programs.

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Courtney Gray

The Alvarado score is used in emergency rooms to determine probability of appendicitis and provide a recommendation for care. A women’s soccer player presented to the athletic training clinic with right lower quadrant pain. She was evaluated and due to a differential diagnosis of appendicitis, the Alvarado score was used for screening. Based on her score, she was referred to the emergency room and, after diagnostic testing, was found to have a ruptured ovarian cyst. The Alvarado score was helpful in determining the need for referral when used in the clinical setting.