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Adam C. Clansey, Mark J. Lake, Eric S. Wallace, Tom Feehally and Michael Hanlon

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of prolonged high-intensity running on impact accelerations in trained runners. Thirteen male distance runners completed two 20-minute treadmill runs at speeds corresponding to 95% of onset of blood lactate accumulation. Leg and head accelerations were collected for 20 s every fourth minute. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scores were recorded during the third and last minute of each run. RPE responses increased (P < .001) from the start (11.8 ± 0.9, moderate intensity) of the first run to the end (17.7 ± 1.5, very hard) of the second run. Runners maintained their leg impact acceleration, impact attenuation, stride length, and stride frequency characteristics with prolonged run duration. However, a small (0.11–0.14g) but significant increase (P < .001) in head impact accelerations were observed at the end of both first and second runs. It was concluded that trained runners are able to control leg impact accelerations during sustained high-intensity running. Alongside the substantial increases in perceived exertion levels, running mechanics and frequency domain impact attenuation levels remained constant. This suggests that the present trained runners are able to cope from a mechanical perspective despite an increased physiological demand.

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Logan A. Lucas, Benjamin S. England, Travis W. Mason, Christopher R. Lanning, Taylor M. Miller, Alexander M. Morgan and Thomas Gus Almonroeder

3 times an athlete’s body weight. 7 These impact forces generate a transient spike in acceleration which is transmitted throughout the musculoskeletal system from the foot to the head. 8 Although the lower-extremity musculature can help to attenuate these impact accelerations, passive tissues also

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Erin M.R. Bigelow, Niell G. Elvin, Alex A. Elvin and Steven P. Arnoczky

To determine whether peak vertical and horizontal impact accelerations were different while running on a track or on a treadmill, 12 healthy subjects (average age 32.8 ± 9.8 y), were fitted with a novel, wireless accelerometer capable of recording triaxial acceleration over time. The accelerometer was attached to a custom-made acrylic plate and secured at the level of the L5 vertebra via a tight fitting triathlon belt. Each subject ran 4 miles on a synthetic, indoor track at a self-selected pace and accelerations were recorded on three perpendicular axes. Seven days later, the subjects ran 4 miles on a treadmill set at the individual runner’s average pace on the track and the peak vertical and horizontal impact magnitudes between the track and treadmill were compared. There was no difference (P = .52) in the average peak vertical impact accelerations between the track and treadmill over the 4 mile run. However, peak horizontal impact accelerations were greater (P = .0012) on the track when compared with the treadmill. This study demonstrated the feasibility for long-term impact accelerations monitoring using a novel wireless accelerometer.

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Ademir F.S. Arruda, Christopher Carling, Vinicius Zanetti, Marcelo S. Aoki, Aaron J. Coutts and Alexandre Moreira

Purpose:

To analyze the effects of a very congested match schedule on the total distance (TD) covered, high-intensity-running (HIR) distance, and frequency of accelerations and body-load impacts (BLIs) performed in a team of under-15 soccer players (N = 10; 15.1 ± 0.2 y, 171.8 ± 4.7 cm, 61 ± 6.0 kg) during an international youth competition.

Methods:

Using global positioning systems, player performances were repeatedly monitored in 5 matches performed over 3 successive days.

Results:

Significant differences were observed between matches (P < .05) for the frequency of accelerations per minute, BLIs, and BLIs per minute. No differences were observed for the TD covered, TD run per minute, number of high-intensity runs, distance covered in HIR, per-minute peak running speed attained, or frequency of accelerations. The frequency of accelerations per minute decreased across the competition while BLIs were higher during the final than in all other matches.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that BLIs and acceleration might be used as an alternative means to represent the external load during congested match schedules rather than measures related to running speed or distance covered.

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Daniel W.T. Wundersitz, Paul B. Gastin, Samuel J. Robertson and Kevin J. Netto

Context:

Accelerometer peak impact accelerations are being used to measure player physical demands in contact sports. However, their accuracy to do so has not been ascertained.

Purpose:

To compare peak-impact-acceleration data from an accelerometer contained in a wearable tracking device with a 3-dimensional motion-analysis (MA) system during tackling and bumping.

Methods:

Twenty-five semielite rugby athletes wore a tracking device containing a 100-Hz triaxial accelerometer (MinimaxX S4, Catapult Innovations, Australia). A single retroreflective marker was attached to the device, with its position recorded by a 12-camera MA system during 3 physical-collision tasks (tackle bag, bump pad, and tackle drill; N = 625). The accuracy, effect size, agreement, precision, and relative errors for each comparison were obtained as measures of accelerometer validity.

Results:

Physical-collision peak impact accelerations recorded by the accelerometer overestimated (mean bias 0.60 g) those recorded by the MA system (P < .01). Filtering the raw data at a 20-Hz cutoff improved the accelerometer’s relationship with MA data (mean bias 0.01 g; P > .05). When considering the data in 9 magnitude bands, the strongest relationship with the MA system was found in the 3.0-g or less band, and the precision of the accelerometer tended to reduce as the magnitude of impact acceleration increased. Of the 3 movements performed, the tackle-bag task displayed the greatest validity with MA.

Conclusions:

The findings indicate that the MinimaxX S4 accelerometer can accurately measure physical-collision peak impact accelerations when data are filtered at a 20-Hz cutoff frequency. As a result, accelerometers may be useful to measure physical collisions in contact sports.

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Duane V. Knudson

This study examined the pattern of forces and peak loads on the hands of six advanced and six intermediate level male tennis players as they performed one-handed backhand drives. Two miniature load cells were mounted on a midsized graphite racket. The force on the thenar and hypothenar eminences of the hand were sampled at 1000 Hz. Forces on the thenar eminence in preparation for impact were significantly larger and less variable for the advanced subjects. Postimpact peak forces did not differ across skill level and were smaller than the loads reported for forehand drives. The significantly lower thenar forces the intermediate subjects used in preparation for impact may provide less resistance to the acceleration of the racket created by ball impact. A large impact acceleration may be related to a rapid stretch of the wrist extensors, which has been hypothesized to be the cause of tennis elbow.

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Janet S. Dufek, John A. Mercer, Kaori Teramoto, Brent C. Mangus and Julia A. Freedman

Context:

Impact is known to cause injury during running, while variability is thought to promote healthy performance.

Objective:

Quantify contributions of the lower extremity and back and the variability of impact generation among (1) prepubescent girls (Grp 1), (2) normally menstruating women (Grp 2), and (3) postmenopausal women (Grp 3) to address possible lifespan changes during running.

Design:

A mixed model experiment.

Setting:

Biomechanics Laboratory.

Participants:

31 healthy females owing membership to Grp1, Grp 2, or Grp 3.

Intervention:

Participants ran on a treadmill at their preferred speed (45 s) and at a speed 10% faster (45 s) while instrumented with uniaxial accelerometers.

Main Outcome Measures:

Lower extremity attenuation, back attenuation and variability of peak impact acceleration values.

Results:

Lower extremity attenuation and variability were greatest for Grp 1 while impact variability was least for Grp 2.

Conclusion:

Lifespan phases appear to affect impact attenuation strategies and variability of impact during running for females.

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Janet S. Dufek, John A. Mercer and Janet R. Griffin

The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of running speed and surface compliance on shock attenuation (SA) characteristics for male and female runners. We were also interested in identifying possible kinematic explanations, specifically, kinematics of the lower extremity at foot-ground contact, for anticipated gender differences in SA. Fourteen volunteer recreational runners (7 male, 7 female) ran at preferred and slow speeds on an adjustable bed treadmill, which simulated soft, medium, and hard surface conditions. Selected kinematic descriptors of lower extremity kinematics as well as leg and head peak impact acceleration values were obtained for 10 left leg contacts per subject-condition. Results identified significant SA values between genders across conditions and more specifically, across surfaces for females, with male runners demonstrating a similar trend. Regression modeling to predict SA by gender for surface conditions elicited unremarkable results, ranging from 30.9 to 59.9% explained variance. It appears that surface compliance does affect SA during running; however, the runner’s ability to dissipate the shock wave may not be expressly explained by our definition of lower extremity kinematics at contact.

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Matthew F. Moran, Brendan J. Rickert and Beau K. Greer

Context:

Treadmills that unload runners via a differential air-pressure (DAP) bladder (eg, AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill) are commonly used to reduce effective body weight (BW) in a clinical setting. However, the relationship between the level of unloading and tibial stress is currently unknown.

Objective:

To determine the relationship between tibial impact acceleration and level of BW unloading during running.

Design:

Cross-sectional.

Setting:

University motion-analysis laboratory.

Participants:

15 distance runners (9 male, 6 female; 20.4 ± 2.4 y, 60.1 ± 12.6 kg).

Main Outcome Measures:

Peak tibial acceleration and peak-to-peak tibial acceleration were measured via a uniaxial accelerometer attached to the tibia during a 37-min continuous treadmill run that simulated reduced-BW conditions via a DAP bladder. The trial began with a 10-min run at 100% BW followed by nine 3-min stages where BW was systematically reduced from 95% to 60% in 5% increments.

Results:

There was no significant relationship between level of BW and either peak tibial acceleration or peak-to-peak tibial acceleration (P > .05). Both heart rate and step rate were significantly reduced with each 5% reduction in BW level (P < .01).

Conclusions:

Although ground-reaction forces are reduced when running in reduced-BW conditions on a DAP treadmill, tibial shock magnitudes are unchanged as an alteration in spatiotemporal running mechanics (eg, reduced step rate) and may nullify the unloading effect.

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Niell G. Elvin, Alex A. Elvin and Steven P. Arnoczky

Modern electronics allow for the unobtrusive measurement of accelerations outside the laboratory using wireless sensor nodes. The ability to accurately measure joint accelerations under unrestricted conditions, and to correlate them with jump height and landing force, could provide important data to better understand joint mechanics subject to real-life conditions. This study investigates the correlation between peak vertical ground reaction forces, as measured by a force plate, and tibial axial accelerations during free vertical jumping. The jump heights calculated from force-plate data and accelerometer measurements are also compared. For six male subjects participating in this study, the average coefficient of determination between peak ground reaction force and peak tibial axial acceleration is found to be 0.81. The coefficient of determination between jump height calculated using force plate and accelerometer data is 0.88. Data show that the landing forces could be as high as 8 body weights of the jumper. The measured peak tibial accelerations ranged up to 42 g. Jump heights calculated from force plate and accelerometer sensors data differed by less than 2.5 cm. It is found that both impact accelerations and landing forces are only weakly correlated with jump height (the average coefficient of determination is 0.12). This study shows that unobtrusive accelerometers can be used to determine the ground reaction forces experienced in a jump landing. Whereas the device also permitted an accurate determination of jump height, there was no correlation between peak ground reaction force and jump height.