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Jeff M. Barrett, Colin D. McKinnon, Clark R. Dickerson, and Jack P. Callaghan

Relatively few biomechanical models exist aimed at quantifying the mechanical risk factors associated with neck pain. In addition, there is a need to validate spinal-rhythm techniques for inverse dynamics spine models. Therefore, the present investigation was 3-fold: (1) the development of a cervical spine model in OpenSim, (2) a test of a novel spinal-rhythm technique based on minimizing the potential energy in the passive tissues, and (3) comparison of an electromyographically driven approach to estimating compression and shear to other cervical spine models. The authors developed ligament force–deflection and intervertebral joint moment–angle curves from published data. The 218 Hill-type muscle elements, representing 58 muscles, were included and their passive forces validated against in vivo data. Our novel spinal-rhythm technique, based on minimizing the potential energy in the passive tissues, disproportionately assigned motion to the upper cervical spine that was not physiological. Finally, using kinematics and electromyography collected from 8 healthy male volunteers, the authors calculated the compression at C7–T1 as a function of the head–trunk Euler angles. Differences from other models varied from 25.5 to 368.1 N. These differences in forces may result in differences in model geometry, passive components, number of degrees of freedom, or objective functions.

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Ashley M.B. Suttmiller and Ryan S. McCann

Context: Injury-related fear has recently been recognized to exist in ankle sprain populations. It is unclear, however, if injury-related fear levels differ between those who develop chronic ankle instability (CAI) and those who do not and the best tools for assessing these differences. Objective: The purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive systematic review investigating differences in injury-related fear between individuals with and without CAI. Evidence Acquisition: Relevant studies from CINAHL Plus with full text, PubMed, and SPORTDiscus through November 2020 were included. All studies used the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, or Athlete Fear Avoidance Questionnaire as either a descriptor or a main outcome and provided comparison data between a CAI group and ankle sprain copers (COP) or controls (CON). The authors independently assessed methodological quality using the modified Downs and Black Quality Index. Studies were then grouped by between-group comparisons including CAI and CON, CAI and COP, and COP and CON. The authors calculated Hedge g effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals to examine group differences. Evidence Synthesis: A total of 11 studies were included in this review. In total, 8 studies provided data for the CAI and CON comparison, 7 for CAI and COP comparisons, and 4 for COP and CON comparisons. Methodological quality scores ranged from 60.0% to 86.7%, with 2 high-, and 9 moderate-quality studies. Overall, the evidence suggests that physically active individuals with CAI report higher levels of injury-related fear when compared with both COP and CON. Although limited, ankle sprain COP do not seem to differ from CON. Conclusion: Available evidence emphasizes the importance of injury-related fear in individuals who develop chronicity after ankle sprain injury. The Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire and Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia are useful for the identification of injury-related fear in individuals after sustaining an ankle sprain and should be used to inform rehabilitation strategies and to monitor efficacy in fear reduction.

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Lorin A. Cartwright and Timothy Neal

An area that has not been closely considered in the sporting world is the mental health effects on the competitive athletes who identify as Lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer/questioning (LBGTQ+) and thus, experience discrimination because of their sexual identity. Considerations include concepts an athletic trainer should keep in mind when caring for patients/athletes who identify as LBGTQ+. This article reviews the mental health impact of sexual minority identity stress on LBGTQ+ individuals, steps to address discrimination for those in athletics who identify as LBGTQ+, legal ramifications in the workplace for the LBGTQ+ individual, and the tragic consequences when LBGTQ+ individuals lack coping skills for stress and pursue suicide as a way to cope. Strategies are provided to improve the outcomes, prevent suicide, and create an environment of inclusivity.

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Andreas Kuettel, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Carsten H. Larsen

The purpose of this study was (a) to investigate gender differences in mental health among Danish youth soccer players, (b) to discover the mental health profiles of the players, and (c) to explore how career progression and mental health are related. A total of 239 Danish youth elite soccer players (M = 16.85, SD = 1.09) completed an online questionnaire assessing mental well-being, depression, anxiety, along with other background variables. Female players scored significantly lower on mental well-being and had four times higher odds of expressing symptoms of anxiety and depression than males. Athletes’ mental health profiles showed that most athletes experience low depression while having moderate mental well-being. Depression, anxiety, and stress scores generally increased when progressing in age, indicating that the junior–senior transition poses distinct challenges to players’ mental health, especially for female players. Different strategies to foster players’ mental health depending on their mental health profiles are proposed.

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Eleftherios Paraskevopoulos, Georgios Gioftsos, Georgios Georgoudis, and Maria Papandreou

Adherence to exercise rehabilitation has been shown to be an important factor that may influence successful treatment. In professional athletes, a significant reduction in exercise adherence delays recovery. The aim of this study was to explore barriers to and facilitators of exercise rehabilitation adherence in injured volleyball athletes. Eight professional volleyball athletes were recruited, and qualitative data were collected using semistructured interviews. All athletes had completed their rehabilitation program after they had suffered a musculoskeletal injury. All data were analyzed using thematic analysis after the investigators ensured that saturation had been reached. Pain was identified as a significant barrier to exercise adherence by all athletes. The provision of social support, including mental, practical, and task related, also had a significant positive impact. The athletes’ ability to develop the necessary coping strategies and confidence on performing exercises at home was also mentioned as a factor that affected exercise adherence, although less often.

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Valters Abolins and Mark L. Latash

We present a review on the phenomenon of unintentional finger action seen when other fingers of the hand act intentionally. This phenomenon (enslaving) has been viewed as a consequence of both peripheral (e.g., connective tissue links and multifinger muscles) and neural (e.g., projections of corticospinal pathways) factors. Recent studies have shown relatively large and fast drifts in enslaving toward higher magnitudes, which are not perceived by subjects. These and other results emphasize the defining role of neural factors in enslaving. We analyze enslaving within the framework of the theory of motor control with spatial referent coordinates. This analysis suggests that unintentional finger force changes result from drifts of referent coordinates, possibly reflecting the spread of cortical excitation.

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Shawn R. Eagle, Patrick J. Sparto, Cynthia L. Holland, Abdulaziz A. Alkathiry, Nicholas A. Blaney, Hannah B. Bitzer, Michael W. Collins, Joseph M. Furman, and Anthony P. Kontos

Context: Research in the area of dual-task paradigms to assess sport-related concussion (SRC) status is growing, but additional assessment of this paradigm in adolescents is warranted. Design: This case-control study compared 49 adolescent athletes aged 12–20 years with diagnosed SRC to 49 age- and sex-matched controls on visual–spatial discrimination and perceptual inhibition (PIT) reaction time tasks performed while balancing on floor/foam pad conditions. Methods: The SRC group completed measures at a single time point between 1 and 10 days postinjury. Primary outcomes were dual-task reaction time, accuracy, and sway. General linear models evaluated differences between groups (P < .05). Logistic regression identified predictors of concussion from outcomes. Area under the curve evaluated discriminative ability of identifying SRC. Results: Results supported significantly higher anterior–posterior (AP) sway values in concussed participants for visual–spatial discrimination and PIT when balancing on the floor (P = .03) and foam pad (P = .03), as well as mediolateral sway values on the floor during visual–spatial discrimination (P = .01). Logistic regression analysis (R 2 = .15; P = .001) of all dual-task outcomes identified AP postural sway during the PIT foam dual task as the only significant predictor of concussed status (ß = −2.4; P = .004). Total symptoms (area under the curve = 0.87; P < .001) and AP postural sway on foam (area under the curve = 0.70; P = .001) differentiated concussed from controls. Conclusion: The AP postural sway on foam during a postural stability/PIT dual task can identify concussion in adolescents between 1 and 10 days from injury.

Open access

Sara Oliveira, Marina Cunha, António Rosado, and Cláudia Ferreira

This study aimed to test a model that hypothesized that the compassionate coach, as perceived by the athletes, has an impact on athlete-related social safeness and psychological health, through shame and self-criticism. The sample comprised 270 Portuguese adult athletes, who practiced different competitive sports. The path analysis results confirmed the adequacy of the proposed model, which explained 45% of the psychological health’s variance. Results demonstrated that athletes who perceive their coaches as more compassionate tend to present higher levels of social safeness (feelings of belonging to the team) and of psychological health, through lower levels of shame and self-criticism. These novel findings suggest the importance of the adoption of supportive, warm, safe, and compassionate attitudes from coaches in athletes’ mental health. This study also offers important insights by suggesting that feelings of acceptance and connectedness in team relationships may be at the root of athletes’ emotional processes and well-being.

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Eric J. Shumski, Tricia M. Kasamatsu, Kathleen S. Wilson, and Derek N. Pamukoff

Research has identified an increased risk of lower extremity injury postconcussion, which may be due to aberrant biomechanics during dynamic tasks. The purpose of this study was to compare the drop landing biomechanics between individuals with and without a concussion history. Twenty-five individuals with and 25 without a concussion history were matched on age (±3 y), sex, and body mass index (±1 kg/m2). Three-dimensional landing biomechanics were recorded to obtain dependent variables (peak vertical ground reaction force, loading rate, knee flexion angle and external moment, knee abduction angle and external moment, and knee flexion and abduction angle at ground contact). A 1-way multivariate analysis of variance compared outcomes between groups. There was no difference in drop landing biomechanics between individuals with and without a concussion history (F 10,39 = 0.460, P = .877, Wilk Λ = .918). There was an effect of time since concussion on knee flexion characteristics. Time since most recent concussion explained a significant amount of variation in both peak (ΔR 2 = .177, β = −0.305, ΔP = .046) and initial ground contact (ΔR 2 = .292, β = −0.204, ΔP = .008) knee flexion angle after covarying for sex and body mass index. Therefore, time since concussion should be considered when evaluating biomechanical patterns.

Open access

Matthew Zaremba, Joel Martin, and Marcie Fyock-Martin

Clinical Scenario: Knee pathologies often require rehabilitation to address the loss of knee-extensor (KE) strength, function, and heightened pain. However, in the early stages of rehabilitation, higher loads may be contraindicated. Blood flow restriction (BFR) resistance training does not require high loads and has been used clinically to promote strength improvements in a variety of injured populations. BFR resistance training may be an effective alternative to high-intensity resistance training during early rehabilitation of knee pathologies. Clinical Question: Following a knee injury, does BFR resistance training improve KE strength and function, and reduce patient-reported pain? Summary of Key Findings: Four randomized controlled trial studies met the inclusion criteria. Each included study evaluated the use of BFR resistance training on knee pathologies and the effects on KE strength, functional outcomes, and pain compared with high- or low-load resistance training. All 4 studies reported significant improvements in KE strength, function, and pain through a variety of outcome measures, following BFR resistance training use as the treatment. Clinical Bottom Line: There is consistent evidence to support the use of BFR resistance training as a treatment intervention following knee injury and as a means to improve KE strength and function and to reduce pain. Strength of Recommendation: Grade A evidence supporting the use of BFR resistance training for improvement in KE strength and function, and the reduction of patient-reported pain following an acute or chronic knee pathology.