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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.

Open access

John Kuzmeski, Gillian Weir, Travis Johnson, Matthew Salzano, and Joseph Hamill

This study investigated the differences between 5 commonly used methods to calculate leg stiffness over a range of running velocities. Thirteen male, habitually rearfoot, recreational runners ran on a force instrumented treadmill for a 5-minute running session. Each session consisted of 30-second intervals at 6 progressively faster speeds from 2.5 m·s−1 through 5.0 m·s−1 with each interval speed increasing by 0.5 m·s−1. Two-way within-factors repeated-measures analyses of variance were used to evaluate leg stiffness and length. A one-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to evaluate the slope of each trend line of each model across speeds. Pearson correlations were used to compare the relationship between the different computational methods. The results indicated that the direct stiffness methods increased with speed whereas the indirect stiffness methods did not. The direct methods were strongly correlated with each other as were the indirect methods. However, there were no strong correlations between the direct and indirect methods. These differences can be mostly attributed to how each individual stiffness method calculated leg length. It is important for researchers to understand these differences when conducting future studies and comparing past studies.

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Hitoshi Oda, Yasushi Sawaguchi, Hiroshi Kunimura, Taku Kawasaki, and Koichi Hiraoka

This study examined whether the current movement follows the previous movement and whether this process is enhanced by somatosensory stimulation or is gated while retrieving and using the memory of the previously practiced target end point. Healthy humans abducted the index finger to a previously practiced target (target movement) or abducted it freely without aiming at the target (nontarget movement). The end point of the nontarget movement had a positive correlation with the previous nontarget movement only when somatosensory stimulation was given during the previous movement, indicating that the current nontarget movement follows the previous nontarget movement with somatosensory stimulation. No conclusive evidence of whether this process is gated by retrieving and using the memory of the previously practiced target was found.

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.

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David P. Schary and Carolina Lundqvist

In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictive policies altered student-athletes’ academic and athletic life. Sparse research has investigated the pandemic’s effect on student-athlete mental health in terms of both negative (e.g., depression, anxiety) and positive (e.g., well-being, quality of life) dimensions. This study explored the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being and quality of life among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes at different stages of their collegiate career. Ninety-nine student-athletes (M age = 19.7 years, SD = 1.5) completed assessments on their mental health. Regression analysis revealed experiences directly related to COVID-19 did not affect general well-being or quality of life, but anxiety, depression, and significant insomnia did. Social well-being was lower for student-athletes closer to graduation (e.g., juniors, seniors), independent of reported anxiety and depression levels. These findings highlight the importance of psychosocial support, particularly in times of crisis, and indicate that tailored support might be beneficial at later stages of the collegiate years.

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Mary D. Fry, Candace M. Hogue, Susumu Iwasaki, and Gloria B. Solomon

Psychological coping skills in sport are believed to be central to athlete performance and well-being. This study examined the relationship between the perceived motivational climate in elite collegiate sport teams and player psychological coping skills use. Division I athletes (N = 467) completed a questionnaire examining their perceptions of how caring, task-, and ego-involving their teams were and their use of sport specific psychological coping skills (i.e., coping with adversity, peaking under pressure, goal setting/mental preparation, concentration, freedom from worry, confidence/achievement motivation, and coachability). Structural equation modeling revealed positive relationships between perceptions of a task-involving climate and confidence/achievement motivation (β = 0.42) and goal setting/mental preparation (β = 0.27). Caring climate perceptions were positively associated with coachability (β = 0.34). These findings illustrate how encouraging athletes and coaches to create a caring, task-involving climate may facilitate athletes’ use of psychological coping skills and set athletes up to perform their best and have a positive sporting experience.

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Allison H. Gruber, Shuqi Zhang, Jiahao Pan, and Li Li

The running footwear literature reports a conceptual disconnect between shoe cushioning and external impact loading: footwear or surfaces with greater cushioning tend to result in greater impact force characteristics during running. Increased impact loading with maximalist footwear may reflect an altered lower-extremity gait strategy to adjust for running in compliant footwear. The authors hypothesized that ankle and knee joint stiffness would change to maintain the effective vertical stiffness, as cushioning changed with minimalist, traditional, and maximalist footwear. Eleven participants ran on an instrumental treadmill (3.5 m·s−1) for a 5-minute familiarization in each footwear, plus an additional 110 seconds before data collection. Vertical, leg, ankle, and knee joint stiffness and vertical impact force characteristics were calculated. Mixed model with repeated measures tested differences between footwear conditions. Compared with traditional and maximalist, the minimalist shoes were associated with greater average instantaneous and average vertical loading rates (P < .050), greater vertical stiffness (P ≤ .010), and less change in leg length between initial contact and peak resultant ground reaction force (P < .050). No other differences in stiffness or impact variables were observed. The shoe cushioning paradox did not hold in this study due to a similar musculoskeletal strategy for running in traditional and maximalist footwear and running with a more rigid limb in minimalist footwear.

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Patrick D. Fischer, Keith A. Hutchison, James N. Becker, and Scott M. Monfort

Cognitive function plays a role in understanding noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injuries, but the research into how cognitive function influences sport-specific movements is underdeveloped. The purpose of this study was to determine how various cognitive tasks influenced dual-task jump-landing performance along with how individuals’ baseline cognitive ability mediated these relationships. Forty female recreational soccer and basketball players completed baseline cognitive function assessments and dual-task jump landings. The baseline cognitive assessments quantified individual processing speed, multitasking, attentional control, and primary memory ability. Dual-task conditions for the jump landing included unanticipated and anticipated jump performance, with and without concurrent working memory and captured visual attention tasks. Knee kinematics and kinetics were acquired through motion capture and ground reaction force data. Jumping conditions that directed visual attention away from the landing, whether anticipated or unanticipated, were associated with decreased peak knee flexion angle (P < .001). No interactions between cognitive function measures and jump-landing conditions were observed for any of the biomechanical variables, suggesting that injury-relevant cognitive-motor relationships may be specific to secondary task demands and movement requirements. This work provides insight into group- and subject-specific effects of established anticipatory and novel working memory dual-task paradigms on the neuromuscular control of a sport-specific movement.

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Karini Borges dos Santos, Paulo Cesar Barauce Bento, Carl Payton, and André Luiz Felix Rodacki

This study described the kinematic variables of disabled swimmers’ performance and correlated them with their functional classification. Twenty-one impaired swimmers (S5–S10) performed 50-m maximum front-crawl swimming while being recorded by four underwater cameras. Swimming velocity, stroke rate, stroke length, intracycle velocity variation, stroke dimensions, hand velocity, and coordination index were analyzed. Kendall rank was used to correlate stroke parameters and functional classification with p < .05. Swimming velocity, stroke length, and submerged phase were positively correlated with the para swimmers functional classification (.61, .50, and .41; p < .05, respectively), while stroke rate, velocity hand for each phase, coordination index, and intracyclic velocity variation were not (τ between −.11 and .45; p > .05). Thus, some objective kinematic variables of the impaired swimmers help to support current classification. Improving hand velocity seems to be a crucial point to be improved among disabled swimmers.

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Neil Chapman, John William Whitting, Suzanne Broadbent, Zachary Crowley-McHattan, and Rudi Meir

Hamstring strain injuries are common in sport. Supramaximal eccentric or high-intensity isometric contractions are favored in hamstring strain injury prevention. The effect of combining these contraction modes in such prevention programs as a poststretch isometric contraction is unknown. Poststretch isometric contractions incorporate an active stretch and result in greater final isometric force than isometric contractions at comparable joint angles. This study compared torque and muscle activation levels between maximal voluntary isometric contraction and maximal poststretch isometric contractions of the knee flexors. Participants (n = 9) completed baseline maximal voluntary isometric contraction at 150° knee flexion and maximal poststretch isometric contractions at 120° knee flexion actively stretching at 60°/s to 150° knee flexion for final isometric contraction. Torque of the knee flexors and surface electromyography root mean square (sEMGRMS) of biceps femoris long head were simultaneously recorded and compared between baseline and poststretch isometric at 150° knee flexion. Torque was 14% greater in the poststretch isometric condition compared with baseline maximal voluntary isometric contraction (42.45 [20.75] N·m, 14% [22.18%], P < .001) without increase in sEMGRMS of biceps femoris long head (−.03 mV, ±.06, P = .130, d = .93). Poststretch isometric contractions resulted in supramaximal levels of poststretch isometric torque without increased activation of biceps femoris long head.