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Gopal Nambi, Walid Kamal Abdelbasset, Saud F. Alsubaie, Ayman K. Saleh, Anju Verma, Mohamed A. Abdelaziz, and Abdulaziz A. Alkathiry

Objective: To find the short-term psychological and hormonal effects of virtual reality training on chronic low back pain in American soccer players. Design, Setting, Participants: The 3-block random sampling method was used on 54 university American soccer players with chronic low back pain, and they were allocated into 3 groups: virtual reality training (VRT; n = 18), combined physical rehabilitation (n = 18), and control (n = 18) groups at University Hospital. They underwent different balance training exercises for 4 weeks. The participants and the therapist who is assessing the outcomes were blinded. Psychological (pain intensity and kinesiophobia) and hormonal (glucose, insulin, Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance, growth hormone, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and cortisol) values were measured at baseline, after 4 weeks, and after 6 months. Results: The baseline demographic, psychological, and hormonal data between the VRT, combined physical rehabilitation, and control groups show no statistical difference (P ≥ .05). Four weeks following training, the VRT group shows more significant changes in pain intensity and kinesiophobia than the combined physical rehabilitation and control groups (P < .001), and the improvement was noted in the 6-month follow-up. All the hormonal variables (glucose, insulin, growth hormone, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and cortisol) show significant changes at 4-week training (P < .001), except for the Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (P = .075) between the 3 groups. At 6-month follow-up glucose, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and cortisol show more significant difference in the VRT group than the other 2 groups (P < .001). At the same time, insulin (P = .694), Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (P = .272), and growth hormone (P = .145) failed to show significant changes between the groups. Conclusion: Training through virtual reality is an effective treatment program when compared with conventional exercise training programs from a psychological and hormonal analysis perspective in American soccer players with chronic low back pain.

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Rachel K. Straub, Adam J. Barrack, Jordan Cannon, and Christopher M. Powers

Context: A limitation of previous studies on squatting mechanics is that the influence of trunk and shank inclination on the knee-extensor moment (KEM) has been studied in isolation. Objective: The purpose of the current study was to determine the influence of segment orientation on the KEM during freestanding barbell squatting. Design: Repeated-measures cross sectional. Setting: University research laboratory. Participants: Sixteen healthy individuals (8 males and 8 females). Intervention: Each participant performed 8 squat conditions in which shank and trunk inclinations were manipulated. Main Outcome Measures: 3D kinematic and kinetic data were collected at 250 and 1500 Hz, respectively. Regression analysis was conducted to identify the individual relationships between the KEM and the trunk and shank inclination at 60° and 90° of knee flexion. To identify the best predictor(s) of the KEM, stepwise regression was implemented. Results: Increased shank inclination increased the KEM (P < .001, R 2 = .21–.25). Conversely, increased trunk inclination decreased the KEM (P < .001, R 2 = .49–.50). For the stepwise regression, trunk inclination entered first and explained the greatest variance in the KEM (all P < .001, R 2 = .49–.50). Shank inclination entered second (all P < .010, R 2 = .53–.54) and explained an additional 3% to 5% of the variance. Conclusions: Our results confirm that inclination of the trunk and shank have an opposing relationship with the KEM. Increased forward shank posture increases the KEM, while increased forward trunk posture decreases the KEM. However, when viewed in combination, the trunk was the superior predictor of the KEM, highlighting the fact that increased quadriceps demand created by a forward shank can be offset by trunk inclination.

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Rihab Borji, Firas Zghal, Nidhal Zarrouk, Sonia Sahli, and Haithem Rebai

The authors explored neuromuscular fatigue in athletes with intellectual disability (AID) compared with sedentary individuals with intellectual disability (SID) and individuals with typical development. Force, voluntary activation level, potentiated resting twitch, and electromyography signals were assessed during isometric maximal voluntary contractions performed before and immediately after an isometric submaximal exhaustive contraction (15% isometric maximal voluntary contractions) and during recovery period. AID presented shorter time to task failure than SID (p < .05). The three groups presented similar isometric maximal voluntary contraction decline and recovery kinetic. Both groups with intellectual disability presented higher voluntary activation level and root mean square normalized to peak-to-peak M-wave amplitude declines (p < .05) compared with individuals with typical development. These declines were more pronounced in SID (p < .05) than in AID. The AID recovered their initial voluntary activation level later than controls, whereas SID did not. SID presented lower potentiated resting twitch decline compared with AID and controls with faster recovery (p < .05). AID presented attenuated central fatigue and accentuated peripheral fatigue compared with their sedentary counterparts, suggesting a neuromuscular profile close to that of individuals with typical development.

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Megan Wagner and Kevin D. Dames

Context: Bodyweight-supporting treadmills are popular rehabilitation tools for athletes recovering from impact-related injuries because they reduce ground reaction forces during running. However, the overall metabolic demand of a given running speed is also reduced, meaning athletes who return to competition after using such a device in rehabilitation may not be as fit as they had been prior to their injury. Objective: To explore the metabolic effects of adding incline during bodyweight-supported treadmill running. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: Fourteen apparently healthy, recreational runners (6 females and 8 males; 21 [3] y, 1.71 [0.08] m, 63.11 [6.86] kg). Interventions: The participants performed steady-state running trials on a bodyweight-supporting treadmill at 8.5 mph. The control condition was no incline and no bodyweight support. All experimental conditions were at 30% bodyweight support. The participants began the sequence of experimental conditions at 0% incline; this increased to 1%, and from there on, 2% incline increases were introduced until a 15% grade was reached. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to compare all bodyweight-support conditions against the control condition. Main Outcome Measures: Oxygen consumption, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion. Results: Level running with 30% bodyweight support reduced oxygen consumption by 21.6% (P < .001) and heart rate by 12.0% (P < .001) compared with the control. Each 2% increase in incline with bodyweight support increased oxygen consumption by 6.4% and heart rate by 3.2% on average. A 7% incline elicited similar physiological measures as the unsupported, level condition. However, the perceived intensity of this incline with bodyweight support was greater than the unsupported condition (P < .001). Conclusions: Athletes can maintain training intensity while running on a bodyweight-supporting treadmill by introducing incline. Rehabilitation programs should rely on quantitative rather than qualitative data to drive exercise prescription in this modality.

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Raki Kawama, Masamichi Okudaira, David H. Fukuda, Hirohiko Maemura, and Satoru Tanigawa

Context: Each hamstring muscle is subdivided into several regions by multiple motor nerve branches, which implies each region has different muscle activation properties. However, little is known about the muscle activation of each region with a change in the knee joint angle. Understanding of regional activation of the hamstrings could be helpful for designing rehabilitation and training programs targeted at strengthening a specific region. Objective: To investigate the effect of knee joint angle on the activity level of several regions within the individual hamstring muscles during isometric knee-flexion exercise with maximal effort (MVCKF). Design: Within-subjects repeated measures. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: Sixteen young males with previous participation in sports competition and resistance training experience. Intervention: The participants performed 2 MVCKF trials at each knee joint angle of 30°, 60°, and 90°. Outcome Measures: Surface electromyography was used to measure muscle activity in the proximal, middle, and distal regions of the biceps femoris long head (BFlh), semitendinosus, and semimembranosus of hamstrings at 30°, 60°, and 90° of knee flexion during MVCKF. Results: Muscle activity levels in the proximal and middle regions of the BFlh were higher at 30° and 60° of knee flexion than at 90° during MVCKF (all: P < .05). Meanwhile, the activity levels in the distal region of the BFlh were not different among all of the evaluated knee joint angles. In semitendinosus and semimembranosus, the activity levels were higher at 30° and 60° than at 90°, regardless of region (all: P < .05). Conclusion: These findings suggest that the effect of knee joint angle on muscle activity level differs between regions of the BFlh, whereas that is similar among regions of semitendinosus and semimembranosus during MVCKF.

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Louis Howe, Jamie S. North, Mark Waldron, and Theodoros M. Bampouras

Context: Ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (DF ROM) has been associated with a number of kinematic and kinetic variables associated with landing performance that increase injury risk. However, whether exercise-induced fatigue exacerbates compensatory strategies has not yet been established. Objectives: (1) Explore differences in landing performance between individuals with restricted and normal ankle DF ROM and (2) identify the effect of fatigue on compensations in landing strategies for individuals with restricted and normal ankle DF ROM. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: University research laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: Twelve recreational athletes with restricted ankle DF ROM (restricted group) and 12 recreational athletes with normal ankle DF ROM (normal group). Main Outcome Measure(s): The participants performed 5 bilateral drop-landings, before and following a fatiguing protocol. Normalized peak vertical ground reaction force, time to peak vertical ground reaction force, and loading rate were calculated, alongside sagittal plane initial contact angles, peak angles, and joint displacement for the ankle, knee, and hip. Frontal plane projection angles were also calculated. Results: At the baseline, the restricted group landed with significantly less knee flexion (P = .005, effect size [ES] = 1.27) at initial contact and reduced peak ankle dorsiflexion (P < .001, ES = 1.67), knee flexion (P < .001, ES = 2.18), and hip-flexion (P = .033, ES = 0.93) angles. Sagittal plane joint displacement was also significantly less for the restricted group for the ankle (P < .001, ES = 1.78), knee (P < .001, ES = 1.78), and hip (P = .028, ES = 0.96) joints. Conclusions: These findings suggest that individuals with restricted ankle DF ROM should adopt different landing strategies than those with normal ankle DF ROM. This is exacerbated when fatigued, although the functional consequences of fatigue on landing mechanics in individuals with ankle DF ROM restriction are unclear.

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Bruno Luiz Souza Bedo, Guilherme Manna Cesar, Renato Moraes, Fábio Pamplona Mariano, Luiz Henrique Palucci Vieira, Vitor Luiz Andrade, and Paulo Roberto Pereira Santiago

Noncontact anterior cruciate ligament ruptures generally occur during unanticipated sidestep cutting maneuvers when athletes have their visual attention focused on the opponent. The authors investigated the influence of uncertainty related to the side to perform the sidestep cutting maneuver on knee kinematics of female handball athletes. A total of 31 female handball athletes performed the sidestep cutting maneuver during anticipated and uncertain conditions. During the uncertain condition, visual cues indicated the direction of the reactive sidestep cutting maneuver. Between-condition differences were compared using the Student t test for paired samples calculated with statistical parametric mapping. Lower knee flexion angle was detected during the uncertain condition compared with the anticipated condition for the nondominant limb (0%–8% of the sidestep cycle). Knee abduction was larger during the uncertain condition for both the dominant (15%–41% of the sidestep cycle) and nondominant (0%–18% of the sidestep cycle) limbs compared with the anticipated condition. The nondominant leg showed higher knee abduction (36%–68% of the sidestep cycle) during the uncertain condition compared with the anticipated condition. The athletes’ approach velocity was slower during the uncertain condition. The uncertain condition impacted knee kinematics and potentially positioned the joint at greater risk of injury by decreasing the flexion angle in the nondominant leg and increasing the joint valgus bilaterally.

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Karin Weman Josefsson

Sweden has adopted a somewhat different approach to handle the corona pandemic, which has been widely debated both on national and international levels. The Swedish model involves more individual responsibility and reliance on voluntary civic liability than law enforcement, while common measures in other countries are based on more controlling strategies, such as restrictive lockdowns, quarantines, closed borders, and mandatory behavior constraints. This commentary aims to give a brief overview of the foundations of the Swedish model as well as a discussion on how and why it has been adopted in the Swedish society based on Swedish legislations, culture, and traditions. Finally, perspectives on how the Swedish model could be connected to the tenets of self-determination theory will be discussed.

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Nathan Morelli, Nicholas R. Heebner, Courtney J. DeFeo, and Matthew C. Hoch

Objective: To determine the influence of a cognitive dual task on postural sway and balance errors during the Concussion Balance Test (COBALT). Methods: Twenty healthy adults (12 females, eight males; aged 21.95 ± 3.77 years; height = 169.95 ± 9.95 cm; weight = 69.58 ± 15.03 kg) partook in this study and completed single- and dual-task versions of a reduced COBALT. Results: Sway velocity decreased during dual-task head rotations on foam condition (p = .021, ES = −0.57). A greater number of movement errors occurred during dual-task head rotations on firm surface (p = .005, ES = 0.71), visual field flow on firm surface (p = .008, ES = 0.68), and head rotations on foam surface (p < .001, ES = 1.61) compared with single-task conditions. Cognitive performance was preserved throughout different sensory conditions of the COBALT (p = .985). Discussion: Cognitive dual tasks influenced postural control and destabilized movements during conditions requiring advanced sensory integration and reweighting demands. Dual-task versions of the COBALT should be explored as a clinical tool to identify residual deficits past the acute stages of concussion recovery.