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Dorsey S. Williams III, Irene S. McClay and Kurt T. Manal

Runners are sometimes advised to alter their strike pattern as a means of increasing performance or in response to injury. The purpose of this study was to compare lower extremity mechanics of rearfoot strikers (RFS), who were instructed to run with a forefoot strike pattern (CFFS) to those of a preferred forefoot striker (FFS). Three-dimensional mechanics of 9 FFS and 9 CFFS were evaluated. Peak values for most kinematic and kinetic variables and all patterns of movement were not found to be statistically different between CFFS and FFS. Only peak vertical ground reaction force and peak ankle plantarflexion moment were found to be significantly lower (p ≤ .05) in the CFFS group. This suggests that RFS are able to assume a FFS pattern with very little practice that is very similar to that of a preferred FFS. The impact of changing one's strike pattern on injury risk and running performance needs further study.

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Alasdair R. Dempsey, Bruce C. Elliott, Bridget J. Munro, Julie R. Steele and David G. Lloyd

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are costly. Sidestep technique training reduces knee moments that load the ACL. This study examined whether landing technique training alters knee moments. Nineteen team sport athletes completed the study. Motion analysis and ground reaction forces were recorded before and after 6 weeks of technique modification. An inverse dynamic model was used to calculate three-dimensional knee loading. Pre- and postintervention scores were compared using paired t tests. Maximal knee flexion angle during landing was increased following training. There was no change in valgus or flexion moments, but an increase in peak internal rotation moment. This increase in internal rotation moment may increase the risk of ACL injury. However, the increased angle at which the peak internal rotation moment occurred at follow up may mitigate any increase in injury risk by reducing load transmission.

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Andrew Murray

While historically adolescents were removed from their parents to prepare to become warriors, this process repeats itself in modern times but with the outcome being athletic performance. This review considers the process of developing athletes and managing load against the backdrop of differing approaches of conserving and maximizing the talent available. It acknowledges the typical training “dose” that adolescent athletes receive across a number of sports and the typical “response” when it is excessive or not managed appropriately. It also examines the best approaches to quantifying load and injury risk, acknowledging the relative strengths and weaknesses of subjective and objective approaches. Making evidence-based decisions is emphasized, while the appropriate monitoring techniques are determined by both the sporting context and individual situation. Ultimately a systematic approach to training-load monitoring is recommended for adolescent athletes to both maximize their athletic development and allow an opportunity for learning, reflection, and enhancement of performance knowledge of coaches and practitioners.

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Sarah K. Fields and R. Dawn Comstock

Rugby, a fast-paced, aggressive contact sport, has a high incidence of injury. This study examines why US women play rugby given the social stigma surrounding women’s participation in sports in general, particularly contact sports, and despite the high risk of injury. In a survey of their injury history and potential injury risk factors, 339 female rugby players from 14 teams of varied quality and levels of play from a wide geographic area in the United States were asked why they played the sport. Their responses indicate that women play rugby because they enjoy the game, they like the aggressive aspects of the sport, they appreciate the social aspects of the game, and they believe the sport provides them with positive benefits, such as increased fitness, confidence, and strength. The results of this study indicate that many women are willing to risk injury for the positive rewards that they associate with rugby.

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Elizabeth C. J. Pike and Joseph A. Maguire

This paper provides a development from previous conceptual frameworks related to the risk/pain/injury nexus in sporting subcultures (Hughes & Coakley, 1991; Maguire & Roberts, 1998; Nixon, 1992; Young, 1991). To do this, we have developed a model of factors contributing to injury risk in sport. In outlining our framework we seek to trace the enabling and coercive social forces that combine to act upon athletes and consequently promote participation to the extent of risking injury. This paper is grounded in a two-year study of female rowers in the United Kingdom. Several dimensions of sporting activities are mapped out, including the physical and structural settings, or “stage” upon which the sport takes place; preparation and participation in the sport itself; and the athletes’ attitudes toward, and actions on, receiving an injury. The themes identified in the model are used to “make sense” of the substantive insights drawn from the rowers’ stories.

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Parissa Safai, Jay Johnson and John Bryans

While research and scholarship on the dynamic interconnections between sport and health has steadily grown in the sociocultural study of sport in the past few decades, this paper focuses more directly on the politics of health within sport. Drawing on a small study of the lived experiences and understandings of health, pain/injury, risk and precaution among 12 male and female high performance youth (16–19 years of age) triathletes and three coaches, we outline the ways in which health becomes depoliticized among high performance athletes as our participants made no connection to health as a political phenomenon—within or outside of sport—or to their own right to health as members of the high performance sport community. We conclude by offering some suggestions as to why health was (and is) rendered apolitical in high performance youth triathlon.

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Evangelos Pappas, Karl F. Orishimo, Ian Kremenic, Marijeanne Liederbach and Marshall Hagins

Retrospective studies have suggested that dancers performing on inclined (“raked”) stages have increased injury risk. One study suggests that biomechanical differences exist between flat and inclined surfaces during bilateral landings; however, no studies have examined whether such differences exist during unilateral landings. In addition, little is known regarding potential gender differences in landing mechanics of dancers. Professional dancers (N = 41; 14 male, 27 female) performed unilateral drop jumps from a 30 cm platform onto flat and inclined surfaces while extremity joint angles and moments were identified and analyzed. There were significant joint angle and moment effects due to the inclined flooring. Women had significantly decreased peak ankle dorsiflexion and hip adduction moment compared with men. Findings of the current study suggest that unilateral landings on inclined stages create measurable changes in lower extremity biomechanical variables. These findings provide a preliminary biomechanical rationale for differences in injury rates found in observational studies of raked stages.

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Urban Johnson, Johan Ekengren and Mark B. Andersen

This study examined the effectiveness of a prevention intervention program to lower the incidence of injury for soccer players with at-risk psychosocial profiles. The Sport Anxiety Scale, the Life Event Scale for Collegiate Athletes, and the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 were used to screen for psychosocial risk factors outlined in the stress and injury model (Williams & Andersen, 1998). Thirty-two high injury-risk players were identified and randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Injuries of participants were reported by their coaches. The intervention program consisted of training in 6 mental skills distributed in 6 to 8 sessions during 19 weeks of the competitive season. The results showed that the brief intervention prevention program significantly lowered the number of injuries in the treatment group compared with the control group.

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Mark B. Andersen and Jean M. Williams

A theoretical model of stress and athletic injury is presented. The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework for the prediction and prevention of stress-related injuries that includes cognitive, physiological, attentional, behavioral, intrapersonal, social, and stress history variables. Development of the model grew from a synthesis of the stress-illness, stress-accident, and stress-injury literatures. The model and its resulting hypotheses offer a framework for many avenues of research into the nature of injury and reduction of injury risk. Other advantages of the model are that it addresses possible mechanisms behind the stress-injury relationship and suggests several specific interventions that may help diminish the likelihood of injury. The model also has the potential of being applied to the investigation of injury and accident occurrence in general.

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Monna Arvinen-Barrow, Kelsey DeGrave, Stephen Pack and Brian Hemmings

The purpose of this study was to document the lived experiences of professional cricketers who had encountered a career-ending non-musculoskeletal injury. Three male cricketers each with over nine years of playing experience in professional cricket representing England and Wales participated in retrospective in-depth semi-structured interviews. The Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis revealed that at the time of the injury, the participants were at the “final stretch” of their professional sporting careers and that despite a range of unpleasant reactions to injury, all participants experienced a healthy career transition out of sport. To best prepare athletes for a life outside of sport, ensuring athletes have sufficient plans in motion early on in their careers can reduce external and internal stressors, which if not addressed, can increase sport injury risk and have a negative effect on athletes’ reactions post-injury.