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Boris I. Prilutsky

In this response, the major criticisms of the target article are addressed. Terminology from the target article that may have caused some confusion is clarified. In particular, the tasks that have the basic features of muscle coordination, as identified in the target article, have been limited in scope. Anew metabolic optimization criterion suggested by Alexander (2000) is examined for its ability to predict muscle coordination in walking. Issues concerning the validation of muscle force predictions, the rules of muscle coordination, and the role of directional constraints in coordination of two-joint muscles are discussed. It is shown in particular that even in one-joint systems, the forces predicted by the criterion of Crowninshield and Brand (1981) depend upon the muscle moment arms and the physiological cross-sectional areas in much more complex ways than either previously assumed in the target article, or incorrectly derived by Herzog and Ait-Haddou (2000). It is concluded that the criterion of Crowninshield and Brand qualitatively predicts the basic coordination features of the major one- and two-joint muscles in a number of highly skilled, repetitive motor tasks performed by humans under predictable conditions and little demands on stability and accuracy. A possible functional significance of such muscle coordination may be the minimization of perceived effort, muscle fatigue, and/or energy expenditure.

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Steven Rowson, Jonathan G. Beckwith, Jeffrey J. Chu, Daniel S. Leonard, Richard M. Greenwald and Stefan M. Duma

The high incidence rate of concussions in football provides a unique opportunity to collect biomechanical data to characterize mild traumatic brain injury. The goal of this study was to validate a six degree of freedom (6DOF) measurement device with 12 single-axis accelerometers that uses a novel algorithm to compute linear and angular head accelerations for each axis of the head. The 6DOF device can be integrated into existing football helmets and is capable of wireless data transmission. A football helmet equipped with the 6DOF device was fitted to a Hybrid III head instrumented with a 9 accelerometer array. The helmet was impacted using a pneumatic linear impactor. Hybrid III head accelerations were compared with that of the 6DOF device. For all impacts, peak Hybrid III head accelerations ranged from 24 g to 176 g and 1,506 rad/s2 to 14,431 rad/s2. Average errors for peak linear and angular head acceleration were 1% ± 18% and 3% ± 24%, respectively. The average RMS error of the temporal response for each impact was 12.5 g and 907 rad/s2.

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Jaclyn B. Caccese, Thomas A. Buckley and Thomas W. Kaminski

The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) is often used for sport-related concussion balance assessment. However, moderate intratester and intertester reliability may cause low initial sensitivity, suggesting that a more objective balance assessment method is needed. The MobileMat BESS was designed for objective BESS scoring, but the outcome measures must be validated with reliable balance measures. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to compare MobileMat BESS scores to linear and nonlinear measures of balance. Eighty-eight healthy collegiate student-athletes (age: 20.0 ± 1.4 y, height: 177.7 ± 10.7 cm, mass: 74.8 ± 13.7 kg) completed the MobileMat BESS. MobileMat BESS scores were compared with 95% area, sway velocity, approximate entropy, and sample entropy. MobileMat BESS scores were significantly correlated with 95% area for single-leg (r = .332) and tandem firm (r = .474), and double-leg foam (r = .660); and with sway velocity for single-leg (r = .406) and tandem firm (r = .601), and double-leg (r = .575) and single-leg foam (r = .434). MobileMat BESS scores were not correlated with approximate or sample entropy. MobileMat BESS scores were low to moderately correlated with linear measures, suggesting the ability to identify changes in the center of mass–center of pressure relationship, but not higher-order processing associated with nonlinear measures. These results suggest that the MobileMat BESS may be a clinically-useful tool that provides objective linear balance measures.

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Kyoung-Seok Yoo, Hyun-Kyung Kim and Jin-Hoon Park

The present study examined the technical characteristics of sliding performance from push-off until stone release in curling delivery. Five elite performance level curlers (> 7 years experience) and five subelite level curlers (< 3 years experience) were analyzed during the action of delivery of a curling stone. The joint angles, angular velocities, and moments of the body center of mass (COM) were determined based on three-dimensional kinematic data. The plantar pressure data were measured using a validated in-shoe system. The results indicated that the gliding time and horizontal velocity of the mass center of the body during the sliding phase were not significantly different between the elite and subelite groups. However, there were significant differences in the gliding distance and the rate of changes in velocity profiles of body COM between the two groups. The moment of the body COM from its relative position to the ankle of the support limb in the anterior/posterior direction was positive in elite curlers and negative in subelite curlers. In addition, larger ankle dorsiflexion and greater contact area of the sliding foot were observed in elite curlers. These data suggest a superior ability of elite curlers to maintain a regulated movement speed and balance control during the performance of a curling stone delivery.

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Sabrina S.M. Lee, Gregory S. Lewis and Stephen J. Piazza

The accuracy of an algorithm for the automated tracking of tendon excursion from ultrasound images was tested in three experiments. Because the automated method could not be tested against direct measurements of tendon excursion in vivo, an indirect validation procedure was employed. In one experiment, a wire “phantom” was moved a known distance across the ultrasound probe and the automated tracking results were compared with the known distance. The excursion of the musculotendinous junction of the gastrocnemius during frontal and sagittal plane movement of the ankle was assessed in a single cadaver specimen both by manual tracking and with a cable extensometer sutured to the gastrocnemius muscle. A third experiment involved estimation of Achilles tendon excursion in vivo with both manual and automated tracking. Root mean squared (RMS) error was calculated between pairs of measurements after each test. Mean RMS errors of less than 1 mm were observed for the phantom experiments. For the in vitro experiment, mean RMS errors of 8–9% of the total tendon excursion were observed. Mean RMS errors of 6–8% of the total tendon excursion were found in vivo. The results indicate that the proposed algorithm accurately tracks Achilles tendon excursion, but further testing is necessary to determine its general applicability.

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Suzanne LaScalza, Linda N. Gallo, James E. Carpenter and Richard E. Hughes

Clinical observation suggests that shoulder pathologies such as rotator cuff disorders and shoulder instability may alter the normal shoulder rhythm or relative motions of the structures comprising the shoulder girdle. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of using a skin-mounted humeral cuff that could be used in vivo to determine Euler rotation angles and the helical axis of motion (HAM) during upper extremity movements. An in vitro model was used to compare the kinematics determined from the externally applied humeral cuff to the kinematics measured directly from the humerus. The upper extremities of five cadavers were moved through several humerus and forearm motion trials. Measurements from the humeral cuff were compared directly to the bone measurements for all trials to determine the accuracy of the Euler rotation angles. In evaluating the HAM, the orientation, location, and magnitude of rotation were compared either to the bone measurements or to the known rotational axis of the testing fixture. Euler rotation angles and the helical axis of motion determined by the measurements taken from the skin-mounted humeral cuff were very similar to those using the measurements from the bone-mounted sensor. The humeral cuff was shown to provide a viable, noninvasive method for determining the Euler rotation angles and helical axis of motion during 3-D humeral movements. The validation makes the humeral cuff a valuable tool for examining the effect of shoulder pathologies on the kinematics of the upper extremity.

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Christopher Joyce, Angus Burnett and Miccal Matthews

No method currently exists to determine the location of the kick point during the golf swing. This study consisted of two phases. In the first phase, the static kick point of 10 drivers (having identical grip and head but fitted with shafts of differing mass and stiffness) was determined by two methods: (1) a visual method used by professional club fitters and (2) an algorithm using 3D locations of markers positioned on the golf club. Using level of agreement statistics, we showed the latter technique was a valid method to determine the location of the static kick point. In phase two, the validated method was used to determine the dynamic kick point during the golf swing. Twelve elite male golfers had three shots analyzed for two drivers fitted with stiff shafts of differing mass (56 g and 78 g). Excellent between-trial reliability was found for dynamic kick point location. Differences were found for dynamic kick point location when compared with static kick point location, as well as between-shaft and within-shaft. These findings have implications for future investigations examining the bending behavior of golf clubs, as well as being useful to examine relationships between properties of the shaft and launch parameters.

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Benjamin W. Infantolino, Daniel J. Gales, Samantha L. Winter and John H. Challis

The purpose of this study was to validate ultrasound muscle volume estimation in vivo. To examine validity, vastus lateralis ultrasound images were collected from cadavers before muscle dissection; after dissection, the volumes were determined by hydrostatic weighing. Seven thighs from cadaver specimens were scanned using a 7.5-MHz ultrasound probe (SSD-1000, Aloka, Japan). The perimeter of the vastus lateralis was identified in the ultrasound images and manually digitized. Volumes were then estimated using the Cavalieri principle, by measuring the image areas of sets of parallel two-dimensional slices through the muscles. The muscles were then dissected from the cadavers, and muscle volume was determined via hydrostatic weighing. There was no statistically significant difference between the ultrasound estimation of muscle volume and that estimated using hydrostatic weighing (p > 0.05). The mean percentage error between the two volume estimates was 0.4% ± 6.9. Three operators all performed four digitizations of all images from one randomly selected muscle; there was no statistical difference between operators or trials and the intraclass correlation was high (>0.8). The results of this study indicate that ultrasound is an accurate method for estimating muscle volumes in vivo.

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Andreas Krüger and Jürgen Edelmann-Nusser

This study aims at determining the accuracy of a full body inertial measurement system in a real skiing environment in comparison with an optical video based system. Recent studies have shown the use of inertial measurement systems for the determination of kinematical parameters in alpine skiing. However, a quantitative validation of a full body inertial measurement system for the application in alpine skiing is so far not available. For the purpose of this study, a skier performed a test-run equipped with a full body inertial measurement system in combination with a DGPS. In addition, one turn of the test-run was analyzed by an optical video based system. With respect to the analyzed angles, a maximum mean difference of 4.9° was measured. No differences in the measured angles between the inertial measurement system and the combined usage with a DGPS were found. Concerning the determination of the skier’s trajectory, an additional system (e.g., DGPS) must be used. As opposed to optical methods, the main advantages of the inertial measurement system are the determination of kinematical parameters without the limitation of restricted capture volume, and small time costs for the measurement preparation and data analysis.

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Bernd J. Stetter, Erica Buckeridge, Vinzenz von Tscharner, Sandro R. Nigg and Benno M. Nigg

This study presents a new approach for automated identification of ice hockey skating strides and a method to detect ice contact and swing phases of individual strides by quantifying vibrations in 3D acceleration data during the blade–ice interaction. The strides of a 30-m forward sprinting task, performed by 6 ice hockey players, were evaluated using a 3D accelerometer fixed to a hockey skate. Synchronized plantar pressure data were recorded as reference data. To determine the accuracy of the new method on a range of forward stride patterns for temporal skating events, estimated contact times and stride times for a sequence of 5 consecutive strides was validated. Bland-Altman limits of agreement (95%) between accelerometer and plantar pressure derived data were less than 0.019 s. Mean differences between the 2 capture methods were shown to be less than 1 ms for contact and stride time. These results demonstrate the validity of the novel approach to determine strides, ice contact, and swing phases during ice hockey skating. This technology is accurate, simple, effective, and allows for in-field ice hockey testing.