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Robert Shapiro

The author recalls his initial introduction to the field of biomechanics in the Penn State Biomechanics Laboratory, known as the Water Tower, and its positive and profound effect on his lifetime career. Under the directorship of Dr. Richard Nelson, Penn State’s biomechanics program provided the author with a variety of both professional and personal learning opportunities. The author credits these experiences as having a direct relationship to his successful development as teacher, mentor, and researcher.

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Gregory S. Rash and Robert Shapiro

Twelve collegiate football quarterbacks were videotaped while performing drop back passes. The video images were digitized using a Peak Performance system, and three-dimensional (3-D) kinematic and kinetic data were calculated from the 3-D coordinate data using standard analytical procedures. The sequential timing of peak shoulder torques in the delivery for the football throw was peak abduction torque prior to the point of maximum shoulder external rotation (MER), peak internal rotation torque just after MER, and peak horizontal adduction torque just prior to release. As anticipated, large medial deviation torques at the elbow were found in the acceleration phase. However, in many cases the quarterbacks demonstrated larger elbow lateral deviation torques during the follow-through than found in the acceleration phase. This paper will describe these and other kinetic results and the kinematic findings observed during the football pass.

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Robert Shapiro, Chris Blow, and Greg Rash

The use of video images in biomechanical analyses has become more realistic since the introduction of the shuttered video camera. Although recording rates are still limited to 60 Hz, exposure times can be reduced to prevent blurring in most situations. This paper presents a system for manually digitizing video images, a system that utilizes a video overlay board to place a set of cross hairs directly on a previously recorded or live video image. A cursor is used to move the cross hairs over required points. A BASIC program was written for a IBM PC-AT computer to accomplish this task. Video images of a known set of points were digitized, and calculated distances between points were compared to real distances. The mean of the observed errors was 0.79%. It was concluded that this digitizing system, within the limitations of video resolution, yielded digitizing errors similar in magnitude to those observed in cinematographic analyses.

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Mark B. Shapiro and Robert V. Kenyon

A new mechanical model of isolated muscle is proposed in which spring with variable slack length is the force-generating element. Based on the review of experimental studies in isolated muscle, it is suggested that spring slack length X0 is the control variable in the model and is a function of motor unit firing rate. In the presence of sensory feedback, the Sliding Spring model is equivalent to the Rack and Pinion model. However, sensory feedback is essential in the Rack and Pinion model but complementary in the Sliding Spring model. How the new control variable in the model of isolated muscle affects the interpretation of control processes up the motor system hierarchy is discussed in light of certain controversies associated with the Lambda and Alpha models of control of movement. It is argued that the Sliding Spring model of isolated muscle can be used as a basis for developing models of control of movement.