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Open access

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.

Open access

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.

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.

Open access

Sandra K. Hnat, Musa L. Audu, Ronald J. Triolo, and Roger D. Quinn

Estimating center of mass (COM) through sensor measurements is done to maintain walking and standing stability with exoskeletons. The authors present a method for estimating COM kinematics through an artificial neural network, which was trained by minimizing the mean squared error between COM displacements measured by a gold-standard motion capture system and recorded acceleration signals from body-mounted accelerometers. A total of 5 able-bodied participants were destabilized during standing through: (1) unexpected perturbations caused by 4 linear actuators pulling on the waist and (2) volitionally moving weighted jars on a shelf. Each movement type was averaged across all participants. The algorithm’s performance was quantified by the root mean square error and coefficient of determination (R 2) calculated from both the entire trial and during each perturbation type. Throughout the trials and movement types, the average coefficient of determination was 0.83, with 89% of the movements with R 2 > .70, while the average root mean square error ranged between 7.3% and 22.0%, corresponding to 0.5- and 0.94-cm error in both the coronal and sagittal planes. COM can be estimated in real time for balance control of exoskeletons for individuals with a spinal cord injury, and the procedure can be generalized for other gait studies.

Open access

Michal Vágner, Zdeněk Bílek, Karel Sýkora, Vladimír Michalička, Lubomír Přívětivý, Miloš Fiala, Adam Maszczyk, and Petr Stastny

The aim of this study was to find the effect of holographic sight (HS) on short-distance shooting accuracy and precision during static and high-intensity dynamic actions. Twenty policemen (31 ± 2.2 years, 85.6 ± 6.1 kg, and 181.9 ± 4.4 cm) performed five shots in the 10-s limit under the static condition for 20 m and dynamic condition 15–5 m, and after 4 × 10 m sprint action, both with fixed sight (FS) and HS. The analysis of variance post hoc test revealed that HSstatic had higher shouting accuracy than FSstatic, FSdynamic, and HSdynamic (p = .03, p = .0001, and p = .0001, respectively) and FSdynamic had lower precision than FSstatic, HSstatic, and HSdynamic (p = .0003, p = .0001, and p = .01, respectively) in vertical sway. The HS for rifles has improved the accuracy of static shooting and vertical sway precision of dynamic shooting.

Open access

Julie R. Steele

Open access

Lisa Chaba, Stéphanie Scoffier-Mériaux, Fabienne d’Arripe-Longueville, and Vanessa Lentillon-Kaestner

This article focuses on two popular sports that can put male athletes at risk of developing an eating disorder: bodybuilding and running. Bodybuilders concentrate on gaining muscle mass and runners on leaning body mass. Based on the trans-contextual model of motivation, this study aimed to better understand the psychological mechanisms underlying eating disorders in these athletes. In all, 272 male bodybuilders and 217 male runners completed measures of sport motivation, theory of planned behavior variables (i.e., attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and intention to gain muscle mass/lean body mass), and eating disorders (dieting, control, and bulimia behaviors). The results revealed satisfactory fit indices for both samples. Autonomous and controlled motivations for sport were positively directly and indirectly related to eating disorders in these athletes. This motivational mechanism needs more in-depth investigation, and motivational profiles might help distinguish athletes with and without eating disorders.

Open access

Jessica Murphy, Karen A. Patte, Philip Sullivan, and Scott T. Leatherdale

The mental health benefits of physical activity may relate more to the context of the behavior, rather than the behavior of being active itself. The association between varsity sport (VS) participation, depression, and anxiety symptoms was explored using data from 70,449 high school students from the Cannabis use, Obesity, Mental health, Physical activity, Alcohol use, Smoking, and Sedentary behavior study. The model adjusted for potential covariates; interactions by sex and participation in outside of school sport (OSS) were explored. Overall, 70% and 24% of respondents met or exceeded cutoff values for depression and anxiety, respectively. Students participating in VS had lower symptoms of anxiety and depression compared with nonparticipants. Results were consistent regardless of OSS participation; associations were strongest among students who participated in both VS and OSS and males. Participation in VS may prove beneficial for the prevention and/or management of depression or anxiety symptoms, particularly among males. An additive beneficial effect of OSS on depression and anxiety scores may exist.

Open access

Tetsuo Fukunaga

Open access

Tomonari Takeshita, Hiroaki Noro, Keiichiro Hata, Taira Yoshida, Tetsuo Fukunaga, and Toshio Yanagiya

The present study aimed to clarify the effect of the foot strike pattern on muscle–tendon behavior and kinetics of the gastrocnemius medialis during treadmill running. Seven male participants ran with 2 different foot strike patterns (forefoot strike [FFS] and rearfoot strike [RFS]), with a step frequency of 2.50 Hz and at a speed of 2.38 m/s for 45 seconds on a treadmill with an instrumented force platform. The fascicle behavior of gastrocnemius medialis was captured using a B-mode ultrasound system with a sampling rate of 75 Hz, and the mechanical work done and power exerted by the fascicle and tendon were calculated. At the initial contact, the fascicle length was significantly shorter in the FFS than in the RFS (P = .001). However, the fascicular velocity did not differ between strike patterns. Higher tendon stretch and recoil were observed in the FFS (P < .001 and P = .017, respectively) compared with the RFS. The fascicle in the positive phase performed the same mechanical work in both the FFS and RFS; however, the fascicle in the negative phase performed significantly greater work in the FFS than in the RFS (P = .001). RFS may be advantageous for requiring less muscular work and elastic energy in the series elastic element compared with the FFS.