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Joseph J. Crisco, Nikolas J. Osvalds and Michael J. Rainbow

The purpose of this study was to compute the 3-dimensional kinetics required to swing 3 youth baseball bats of varying moments of inertia. The 306 swings by 22 male players (age 13–18 y) were analyzed. Inverse dynamics with respect to the batter’s hands were computed given the known kinematics and physical properties of the bats. Peak force increased with larger bat moments of inertia and was strongly correlated with bat tip speed. By contrast, peak moments were weakly correlated with bat moments of inertia and bat tip speed. Throughout the swing, the force applied to the bat was dominated by a component aligned with the long axis of the bat and directed away from the bat knob, whereas the moment applied to the bat was minimal until just prior to ball impact. These results indicate that players act to mostly “pull” the bat during their swing until just prior to ball impact, at which point they rapidly increase the moment on the bat. This kinetic analysis provides novel insight into the forces and moments used to swing baseball bats.

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Joseph J. Crisco, Michael J. Rainbow and Eileen Wang

In the last decade, dramatic changes in lacrosse stick design are believed to be associated with changes in the play of the game; however, there is a limited understanding of how the lacrosse stick propels the ball. We predicted that the lacrosse stick would perform as a passive extension of the player’s hand and hypothesized that ball shot speed would be equal to the speed at the tip of the stick. Ball and shot kinematics of 16 male and 16 female lacrosse players using four various stick models were tracked at 250 Hz. The speed of the ball was compared with the speed at the tip of the stick, calculated by assuming the stick behaved as a rigid body. Ball shot speeds with men’s sticks were on average 3.5 m/s (7.8 mph) faster than the calculated speed at the stick tip, and ball shot speeds with women’s sticks were on average 0.7 m/s (1.5 mph) faster than stick tip speed. Some lacrosse stick models can shoot the ball significantly faster than predicted when considering the stick as a rigid, passive extension of the player’s hands.

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Shonn P. Hendee, Richard M. Greenwald and Joseph J. Crisco

In this study we investigated the compressive quasi-static mechanical properties and dynamic impact behavior of baseballs. Our purpose was to determine if static testing could be used to describe dynamic ball impact properties, and to compare static and dynamic properties between traditional and modified baseballs. Average stiffness and energy loss from 19 ball models were calculated from quasi-static compression data. Dynamic impact variables were determined from force–time profiles of balls impacted into a flat stationary target at velocities from 13.4 to 40.2 m/s. Peak force increased linearly with increasing ball model stiffness. Impulse of impact increased linearly with ball mass. Coefficient of restitution (COR) decreased with increasing velocity in all balls tested, although the rate of decrease varied among the different ball models. Neither quasi-static energy loss nor hysteresis was useful in predicting dynamic energy loss (COR2). The results between traditional and modified balls varied widely in both static and dynamic tests, which is related to the large differences in mass and stiffness between the two groups. These results indicate that static parameters can be useful in predicting some dynamic impact variables, potentially reducing the complexity of testing. However, some variables, such as ball COR, could not be predicted with the static tests performed in this study.

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Richard M. Greenwald, Lori H. Penna and Joseph J. Crisco

Differences in the performance of wood and metal baseball bats, measured as a function of batted ball speed, were quantified in a batting cage study. Two wood and five metal baseball bat models were studied with 19 players of various levels of experience ranging from high school to professional. Batted ball speeds from 538 hits were computed from high-speed 3-D ball position data collected with a commercially available system. In general, metal bats had significantly higher batted ball speeds than wood bats. Of the five metal bat models studied, one outperformed all other models and one bat was most similar to wood bats. The average difference in batted ball speed between wood bats and the highest performing metal bat was approximately 9 mph. Maximum batted ball speeds of 101 and 106 mph were measured for wood and metal bats, respectively. Increased skill level significantly increased the maximum batted ball speeds generated independent of bat model. Players of all experience levels were able to generate batted ball speeds in excess of 100 mph. While the results of this study are limited to the specific bats tested, this is the first study to measure and report differences in batted ball speeds among wood and metal bats.

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Elizabeth I. Drewniak, David B. Spenciner and Joseph J. Crisco

Sudden death resulting from ventricular fibrillation (VF) caused by a nonpenetrating chest wall impact, known as commotio cordis (CC), is the second leading cause of death among young athletes. To date, seven young athletes wearing chest protectors have died from CC. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a relationship exists between mechanical properties of chest protectors and occurrence of VF, previously determined by Weinstock et al., using an established swine model. A servo-hydraulic material tester was used to determine properties of the chest protectors, including displacement, permanent deformation, stiffness, and area of pressure distribution. These properties were then compared with the occurrence of VF. We found that a decreased proportion of hits resulting in VF was significantly associated (R 2 = 0.59, p = 0.001) with an increase in the area of pressure distribution. These findings are a limited, but crucial, first step in understanding the prevention of this complex and perplexing phenomenon.

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Patrick F. Curran, Russell D. Fiore and Joseph J. Crisco


Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a technique used to treat myofascial restrictions and restore soft-tissue extensibility.


To determine whether the pressure and contact area on the lateral thigh differ between a Multilevel rigid roller (MRR) and a Bio-Foam roller (BFR) for participants performing SMR.


Ten healthy young men and women.


Participants performed an SMR technique on the lateral thigh using both myofascial rollers. Thin-film pressure sensels recorded pressure and contact area during each SMR trial.


Mean sensel pressure exerted on the soft tissue of the lateral thigh by the MRR (51.8 ± 10.7 kPa) was significantly (P < .001) greater than that of the conventional BFR (33.4 ± 6.4 kPa). Mean contact area of the MRR (47.0 ± 16.1 cm2) was significantly (P < .005) less than that of the BFR (68.4 ± 25.3 cm2).


The significantly higher pressure and isolated contact area with the MRR suggest a potential benefit in SMR.

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Joseph J. Crisco, Michael J. Rainbow, Joel B. Schwartz and Bethany J. Wilcox

The purpose of this study was to examine the batting cage performance of wood and nonwood baseball bats used at the youth level. Three wood and ten nonwood bats were swung by 22 male players (13 to 18 years old) in a batting cage equipped with a 3-dimensional motion capture (300 Hz) system. Batted ball speeds were compared using a one-way ANOVA and bat swing speeds were analyzed as a function of bat moment of inertia by linear regression. Batted ball speeds were significantly faster for three nonwood bat models (P < .001), significantly slower for one nonwood model, and not different for six nonwood bats when compared with wood bats. Bat impact speed significantly (P < .05) decreased with increasing bat moment of inertia for the 13-, 14-, and 15-year-old groups, but not for the other age groups. Ball-bat coefficients of restitution (BBCOR) for all nonwood were greater than for wood, but this factor alone did not correlate with bat performance. Our findings indicate that increases in BBCOR and swing speed were not associated with faster batted ball speeds for the bats studied whose moment of inertia was substantially less than that of a wood bat of similar length.

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Joseph J. Crisco, Elizabeth I. Drewniak, Martin P. Alvarez and David B. Spenciner

Although the sport of lacrosse has evolved dramatically over the last few decades and is presently the fastest growing team sport in the United States, the current specifications for balls date back to 1943. The purpose of this study was to see if various commercially available field lacrosse balls meet these specifications and to determine additional mechanical properties of the ball that may more completely characterize ball performance. Eight models from several manufacturers were tested. Seven models were designated for game play, while one model was promoted as a practice ball. In accordance with the specifications, the mass, circumference, and rebound height were recorded for one dozen balls from each model. The load required to compress the balls 0.0125 m and the coefficient of restitution (COR) with an incident speed of 26.80 m/s were also determined. We found that some balls met several of the specifications, but none of the models had every ball meet all the specif cations. For the two measures of ball liveliness, rebound height had a weak correlation with COR. Ball compression loads averaged about 750 N over most models, but were almost 85% less for the practice model. It appears that current governing body specifications are outdated, as no ball model we tested met these specifications. The determination of ball liveliness at more realistic speeds should also be taken into account. Since balls with low compression loads can pass through face protectors worn by lacrosse players, the sport's governing bodies may wish to consider a specification on ball compression.

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Joseph J. Crisco, Laura Costa, Ryan Rich, Joel B. Schwartz and Bethany Wilcox

Girls’ lacrosse is fundamentally a different sport than boys’ lacrosse, and girls are not required to wear protective headgear. Recent epidemiological studies have found that stick checks are the leading cause of concussion injury in girls’ lacrosse. The purpose of this study was to determine stick check speeds and estimate the head acceleration associated with direct checks to the head. In addition, we briefly examine if commercially available headgear can mitigate the accelerations. Seven (n = 7) experienced female lacrosse players checked, with varying severity, a NOSCAE and an ASTM headform. Stick speed at impact and the associated peak linear accelerations of the headform were recorded. The NOCSAE headform was fitted with four commercially available headgear and similar stick impact testing was performed. The median stick impact speed was 8.1 m/s and 777 deg/s. At these speeds, peak linear acceleration was approximately 60g. Three out of the four headgear significantly reduced the peak linear acceleration when compared with the bare headform. These data serve as baseline for understanding the potential mechanism and reduction of concussions from stick impacts in girls’ lacrosse.

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Joseph J. Crisco, Bethany J. Wilcox, Jason T. Machan, Thomas W. McAllister, Ann-Christine Duhaime, Stefan M. Duma, Steven Rowson, Jonathan G. Beckwith, Jeffrey J. Chu and Richard M. Greenwald

The purpose of this study was to quantify the severity of head impacts sustained by individual collegiate football players and to investigate differences between impacts sustained during practice and game sessions, as well as by player position and impact location. Head impacts (N = 184,358) were analyzed for 254 collegiate players at three collegiate institutions. In practice, the 50th and 95th percentile values for individual players were 20.0 g and 49.5 g for peak linear acceleration, 1187 rad/s2 and 3147 rad/s2 for peak rotational acceleration, and 13.4 and 29.9 for HITsp, respectively. Only the 95th percentile HITsp increased significantly in games compared with practices (8.4%, p = .0002). Player position and impact location were the largest factors associated with differences in head impacts. Running backs consistently sustained the greatest impact magnitudes. Peak linear accelerations were greatest for impacts to the top of the helmet, whereas rotational accelerations were greatest for impacts to the front and back. The findings of this study provide essential data for future investigations that aim to establish the correlations between head impact exposure, acute brain injury, and long-term cognitive deficits.