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Fitness in Special Populations

Patrick J. DiRocco and Gail M. Dummer

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Jumping Coordination Patterns of Mildly Mentally Retarded Children

Patrick J. DiRocco, Jane E. Clark, and Sally J. Phillips

The purpose of the study was to determine if mildly mentally retarded (MMR) children followed the same developmental sequence of coordination for the propulsive phase of the standing long jump as their nonhandicapped (NH) peers. Subjects for the study included 39 MMR and 90 NH children, ages 4-7 years. Each subject was filmed performing several standing long jumps. Jumping patterns were analyzed from the film records, and distance jumped also was determined from the film. Results indicated that the arm and leg patterns of coordination proposed for NH children by Clark and Phillips (1985) were comprehensive enough to include the MMR children. In spite of similar patterns of coordination, the age group means for the distance jumped by the MMR subjects were 2 to 3 years behind their NH peers. Two explanations are offered for this deficit in distance jumped: first, there may be differences in coordination between the arm and leg action, and second, there may be differences in control mechanisms.

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Martin E. Block, Jim Decker, Patrick DiRocco, Virginia Foster Chadwick, Barry Lavay, Jeff McCubbin, William J. Merriman, John C. Ozmun, Katherine J. Riggen, Terry L. Rizzo, and April Tripp