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Daniel Viggiani and Jack P. Callaghan

Viscoelastic creep generated in the lumbar spine following sustained spine flexion may affect the relationship between tissue damage and perceived pain. Two processes supporting this altered relationship include altered neural feedback and inflammatory processes. Our purpose was to determine how low back mechanical pain sensitivity changes following seated lumbar spine flexion using pressure algometry in a repeated-measures, cross-sectional laboratory design. Thirty-eight participants underwent a 10-minute sustained seated maximal flexion exposure with a 40-minute standing recovery period. Pressure algometry assessed pressure pain thresholds and the perceived intensity and unpleasantness of fixed pressures. Accelerometers measured spine flexion angles, and electromyography measured muscular activity during flexion. The flexion exposure produced 4.4° (2.7°) of creep that persisted throughout the entire recovery period. The perception of low back stimulus unpleasantness was elevated immediately following the exposure, 20 minutes before a delayed increase in lumbar erector spinae muscle activity. Women reported the fixed pressures to be more intense than men. Sustained flexion had immediate consequences to the quality of mechanical stimulus perceived but did not alter pressure pain thresholds. Neural feedback and inflammation seemed unlikely mechanisms for this given the time and direction of pain sensitivity changes, leaving a postulated cortical influence.

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Chia-Cheng Lin, Sunghan Kim, Paul DeVita, Matt Becker, and Stacey Meardon

This study aimed to examine the feasibility of using time-to-contact measures during the perturbation protocol in people with diabetes mellitus. Three-dimension motion capture and force data were collected during 0.5-s perturbations in four directions (forward, backward, right, and left) and at two accelerations (20 and 40 cm/s2) to compute the time-to-contact. Time-to-contact analysis was divided into three phases: perturbation, initial recovery, and final recovery. The statistical analysis showed the main effects of Direction and Phase (p < .01) as well as a Direction by Phase interaction (p < .01). Backward perturbation with lower acceleration and backward/forward perturbation with higher acceleration had deleterious effects on postural stability in people with diabetes mellitus.

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Jason Kostrna and Aaron D’Addario

The mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) protocol is designed to enhance mindfulness, emotional regulation, and attentional awareness and control. The MSPE consists of trainer led group sessions teaching the concepts of mindfulness through discussion and meditation practice. However, little research has tested the MSPE protocol’s adaptability and generalizability to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-I teams and practitioners independent of the MSPE protocol’s creators. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to test the efficacy of an adapted MSPE protocol. The adapted MSPE protocol was delivered to a NCAA Division I team while a second team participated as a potentially equivalent control group. Both teams completed measures of attentional control, flow, rumination, and mindful attention as primary outcome variables. Results revealed significant decreases in rumination and trait anxiety, as well as improvements in concentration control and focusing ability compared with the control group. Findings support the external validity of the MSPE protocol to adapt to independent practitioners and a previously unstudied combination of sport and level of competition.

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Kebin Shen and Yunxi Liu

Age-, height- and weight-matched children were recruited to the experimental group (EG; n = 31) and control group (n = 32). Following a 16-week soccer training program, balance ability and dominant-side lateral knee and ankle kinesthesia changes were tested. Regarding balance ability, the Sway Index, when children stood on a firm or foam surface with their eyes closed in the static balance test, and the dynamic balance test time were 13.5%, 11.6%, and 14.3% lower in the EG than in the control group, respectively. The scores in the left and right directions were 23.7% and 24.2% higher in the EG, respectively. Regarding kinesthesia, the angle of knee extension and ankle metatarsal flexion and dorsiflexion were 13.4%, 20.0%, and 16.8% lower in the EG than in the control group. These results indicate children in the EG had a better performance. After soccer exercise, children aged 5–6 years displayed improved balance in the left and right directions and improved knee extension, ankle plantarflexion, and dorsiflexion kinesthesia.

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Hiroki Obata, GeeHee Kim, Tetsuya Ogawa, Hirofumi Sekiguchi, and Kimitaka Nakazawa

Classical ballet dancing is a good model for studying the long-term activity-dependent plasticity of the central nervous system in humans, as it requires unique ankle movements to maintain ballet postures. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether postactivation depression is changed through long-term specific motor training. Eight ballet dancers and eight sedentary subjects participated in this study. The soleus Hoffmann reflexes were elicited at after the completion of a slow, passive dorsiflexion of the ankle. The results demonstrated that the depression of the soleus Hoffmann reflex (i.e., postactivation depression) was larger in classical ballet dancers than in sedentary subjects at two poststretch intervals. This suggests that the plastic change through long-term specific motor training is also expressed in postactivation depression of the soleus Hoffmann reflex. Increased postactivation depression would strengthen the supraspinal control of the plantarflexors and may contribute to fine ankle movements in classical ballet dancers.

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Athanasia Smirniotou, Flora Panteli, and Apostolos Theodorou

The study examined to what extent the manipulation of hurdle height (0.76-m hurdle, low hurdle 0.50 m, and white stripe) would affect visual regulation strategies and kinematic reorganization when approaching the first hurdle. In addition, the impact of constraints as a training tool in terms of creating movement patterns functional for and representative of competitive movement models was assessed. The approach phase to the first hurdle of 13 physical education students with no previous experience in hurdling was video recorded and analyzed. Emergence of different footfall variability curves and movement coordination patterns suggests that participants interact differently with features of the performance context. Contrary to the white stripe, the hurdle height required participants to initiate regulation and distribute adjustments over a larger number of steps, and afforded the preparation for takeoff in order to clear the hurdle. In task design, manipulation of task constraints should offer valuable information regarding the dynamics of movement.

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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.