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Marie-Reine El-Hage, Alexandra Wendling, Mindy F. Levin, and Anatol G. Feldman

The referent control theory (RCT) for action and perception is an advanced formulation of the equilibrium-point hypothesis. The RCT suggests that rather than directly specifying the desired motor outcome, the nervous system controls action and perception indirectly by setting the values of parameters of physical and physiological laws. This is done independently of values of kinematic and kinetic variables including electromyographic patterns describing the motor outcome. One such parameter—the threshold muscle length, λ, at which motoneurons of a given muscle begin to be recruited, has been identified experimentally. In RCT, a similar parameter, the referent arm position, R, has been defined for multiple arm muscles as the threshold arm position at which arm muscles can be quiescent but activated depending on the deflection of the actual arm position, Q, from R. Changes in R result in reciprocal changes in the activity of opposing muscle groups. We advanced the explanatory power of RCT by combining the usual biomechanical descriptions of motor actions with the identification of the timing of R underlying arm movements made with reversals in three directions and to three different extents. We found that in all movements, periods of minimization of the activity of multiple muscles could be identified at ∼61%–86% of the reaching extent in each direction. These electromyographic minimization periods reflect the spatial coordinates at which the R and Q overlap during the production of movements with reversals. The findings support the concept of the production of arm movement by shifting R.

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Boštjan Šimunič, Monika Doles, Robi Kelc, and Andrej Švent

Context: Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) is prevalent especially in sports and rehabilitation. It causes loss in skeletal muscle function and soreness. As there are no firm preventive strategies, we aimed to evaluate the preventive efficacy of nonthermal 448-kHz capacitive resistive monopolar radiofrequency (CRMRF) therapy after eccentric bouts of EIMD response in knee flexors. Design: Twenty-nine healthy males (age: 25.2 [4.6] y) were randomized in control group (CG; n = 15) and experimental group (EG; n = 14) where EG followed 5 daily 448-kHz CRMRF therapies. All assessments were performed at baseline and post EIMD (EIMD + 1, EIMD + 2, EIMD + 5, and EIMD + 9 d). We measured tensiomyography of biceps femoris and semitendinosus to calculate contraction time, the maximal displacement and the radial velocity of contraction, unilateral isometric knee flexors maximal voluntary contraction torque, and rate of torque development in first 100 milliseconds. Results: Maximal voluntary contraction torque and rate of torque development in first 100 milliseconds decreased more in CG than in EG and recovered only in EG. Biceps femoris contraction time increased only in CG (without recovery), whereas in semitendinosus contraction time increased in EG (only at EIMD + 1) and in CG (without recovery). In both muscles, tensiomyographic maximal displacement decreased in EG (in EIMD + 1 and EIMD + 2) and in CG (without recovery). Furthermore, in both muscles, radial velocity of contraction decreased in EG (from EIMD + 1 until EIMD + 5) and in CG (without recovery). Conclusion: The study shows beneficial effect of CRMRF therapy after inducing EIMD in skeletal muscle strength and contractile parameters in knee flexors.

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Niels Boysen Feddersen

There has been a paucity of literature discussing how to address consent procedures as part of ethics, practitioner development, and best practice in applied sport psychology. Several researchers have addressed ethical challenges (e.g., out-of-session contact, overidentification, time, and space). However, none have substantially considered the sport-specific issues related to consent, which sits at the heart of best practice. The scarcity of discussing consent is limiting sport psychology’s potential to establish itself as a more recognized profession. This article highlights some contextual issues that challenge the idea and efficacy of informed consent. It proposes adapting consent procedures in the collaboration between sport psychology practitioners and clients to better address the current contextual challenges in applied sport psychology. In doing so, the current paper introduces Empowered Consent, which is specifically designed to empower athletes and address challenges related to choosing interventions, contractual obligations, visibility in the environment, and staff trying to gain insights into confidential information. The author offers a model to enhance applied practice for those collaborating with athletes and other clients in sport.

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Woohyoung Jeon, James Borrelli, and Hao-Yuan Hsiao

Although the ability to recover balance in the lateral direction has important implications with regard to fall risk in older adults, the effect of visual input on balance recovery in response to lateral perturbation and the effect of age are not well studied. We investigated the effect of visual input on balance recovery response to unpredictable lateral surface perturbations and its age-related changes. Ten younger and 10 older healthy adults were compared during balance recovery trials performed with the eyes open and eyes closed (EC). Compared with younger adults, older adults showed increased electromyography (EMG) peak amplitude of the soleus and gluteus medius, reduced EMG burst duration of the gluteus maximus and medius, and increased body sway (SD of the body’s center of mass acceleration) in EC. In addition, older adults exhibited a smaller % increase (EC—eyes open) of the ankle eversion angle, hip abduction torque, EMG burst duration of the fibularis longus, and a greater % increase of body sway. All kinematics, kinetics, and EMG variables were greater in EC compared with eyes open in both groups. In conclusion, the absence of visual input negatively affects the balance recovery mechanism more in older adults compared with younger adults.

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Arata Kimura, Shinsuke Yoshioka, and Senshi Fukashiro

In sports situations, players may be required to throw at different speeds. The question of how skilled players throw the ball accurately to the desired location under different speed conditions is of interest to biomechanics researchers. Previous research suggested that throwers use different types of joint coordination. However, joint coordination with a change in throwing speed has not been studied. Here, we show the effects of changes in throwing speed on joint coordination during accurate overhead throwing. Participants were seated on a low chair with their trunk fixed and threw a baseball aimed at a target under 2 different speed conditions (slow and fast). In the slow condition, the elbow flexion/extension angle coordinated with other joint angles and angular velocities to reduce the variability of the vertical hand velocity. In the fast condition, the shoulder internal/external rotation angle and the shoulder horizontal flexion/extension angular velocity coordinated with other joint angles and angular velocities to reduce the variability of the vertical hand velocity. These results showed that joint coordination differed with changes in throwing speed, indicating that joint coordination is not always fixed, but may differ depending on the task constraints, such as throwing speed.

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Maryam Kiani Haft Lang, Razieh Mofateh, Neda Orakifar, and Shahin Goharpey

Background: Only 55% of anterior cruciate ligament-reconstructed (ACLR) athletes return to competitive sports. This brings into question the usefulness of current return to sport (RTS) criteria. High cognitive demand of sport environment clarifies the value of incorporating neurocognitive tests when making decisions regarding the time of RTS. This preliminary study aimed to compare the neurocognitive functions between healthy controls and ACLR male athletes who passed or failed RTS criteria. Methods: A total of 45 male football players, including 15 ACLR who passed RTS criteria, 15 ACLR who did not pass, and 15 healthy controls participated in this cross-sectional study. The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery was used to measure a battery of neurocognitive tasks, including speed of response, sustained attention, working memory, cognitive flexibility, and response inhibition. Results: The results revealed that compared with both the ACLR-passed and healthy groups, the ACLR-failed group showed greater values of 5-choice movement time (P = .02, P = .01, respectively) but lower values of stop signal reaction time (P = .03, P = .001, respectively) and proportion of successful stops variables (P = .02). In addition, compared with the healthy group, both the ACLR-failed and ACLR-passed groups indicated greater values in between errors (P < .001, P = .008, respectively) and reaction latency variables (P = .002, P = .01, respectively) but lower values of A′ (P < .001, P = .007, respectively), probability of hit (P < .001, P = .03, respectively), and percent correct trials variables (P = .006, P = .02, respectively). Conclusions: Our findings indicated deficits in neurocognitive functions in ACLR male athletes. In addition, poor performance in sustained attention, working memory, and cognitive flexibility measures observed in the ACLR-passed group highlighted the necessity for using a multimodal approach via implementation of neurocognitive measures in conjunction with the functional and muscular assessments when making RTS decisions.

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Mary-Grace Kang, Audrey Anne Esguerra, Aila Nica Bandong, Roselle Guisihan, Frances Rom Lunar, Kristofferson Mendoza, Carlos Dominic Olegario, Yves Palad, Esmerita Rotor, and Gabriella Isabel Tablante

A comprehensive evaluation of physical activity (PA) engagement and policy implementation among Filipino children and adolescents with disabilities is vital in the promotion of an active healthy lifestyle. This is the first Para Report Card of the Philippines that presents the available evidence on the 10 commonly used PA indicators. Published and gray literature were searched for country-specific evidence on PA behaviors, physical fitness, and sources of influence. Stakeholders representing relevant national institutions, special education schools, and advocacy groups also provided input on the grades. Only Organized Sport and Government indicators had sufficient data to be graded F and B, respectively. The rest of the indicators were graded as incomplete due to the limited availability of nationally representative data. Findings of the Philippines 2022 Para Report Card on PA highlight the need to strengthen the documentation and evaluation of these indicators among Filipino children and adolescents with disabilities.

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Carlos Alix-Fages, Henar González-Cano, Eneko Baz-Valle, and Carlos Balsalobre-Fernández

This study aimed to explore the effects of mental fatigue (MF) induced by an incongruent Stroop task (ST) and by using social media (SM) compared to watching a documentary (control) on dynamic resistance training. Twenty-one resistance-trained males attended three identical experimental sessions with the only difference of the randomized cognitive task (ST, SM, or control). Each session consisted of (a) baseline MF and motivation visual analogue scale responses, (b) cognitive task, (c) postvisual analogue scale responses, (d) warm-up, and (e) resistance training based on three sets of bench press at 65% of one-repetition maximum till concentric failure. Number of repetitions, ratings of perceived exertion, mean velocity of repetitions, and three repetitions in reserve estimated by subjects were recorded for each set. Both ST (p < .001) and SM (p = .010) effectively induced MF, but only ST impaired the number of repetitions performed in Set 2 (p = .036) and generated higher-than-normal levels of ratings of perceived exertion even reaching significant differences compared to SM in Set 1 (p = .005). However, SM also affected neuromuscular performance by impairing movement velocity in Set 1 (p = .003). The ability of estimating three repetitions in reserve or motivation was not affected by any condition (p range = .362–.979). MF induced by ST impaired the number of repetitions performed, what seems to be mediated by higher-than-normal levels of ratings of perceived exertion. Besides, SM also impaired the ability to apply force against 65% of one-repetition maximum measured by movement velocity.

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Jocelyn F. Hafer, Julien A. Mihy, Andrew Hunt, Ronald F. Zernicke, and Russell T. Johnson

In-lab, marker-based gait analyses may not represent real-world gait. Real-world gait analyses may be feasible using inertial measurement units (IMUs) in combination with open-source data processing pipelines (OpenSense). Before using OpenSense to study real-world gait, we must determine whether these methods estimate joint kinematics similarly to traditional marker-based motion capture (MoCap) and differentiate groups with clinically different gait mechanics. Healthy young and older adults and older adults with knee osteoarthritis completed this study. We captured MoCap and IMU data during overground walking at 2 speeds. MoCap and IMU kinematics were computed with OpenSim workflows. We tested whether sagittal kinematics differed between MoCap and IMU, whether tools detected between-group differences similarly, and whether kinematics differed between tools by speed. MoCap showed more anterior pelvic tilt (0%–100% stride) and joint flexion than IMU (hip: 0%–38% and 61%–100% stride; knee: 0%–38%, 58%–89%, and 95%–99% stride; and ankle: 6%–99% stride). There were no significant tool-by-group interactions. We found significant tool-by-speed interactions for all angles. While MoCap- and IMU-derived kinematics differed, the lack of tool-by-group interactions suggests consistent tracking across clinical cohorts. Results of the current study suggest that IMU-derived kinematics with OpenSense may enable reliable evaluation of gait in real-world settings.