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A lower extremity strength-based profile of NCAA Division I women’s basketball and gymnastics athletes: implications for knee joint injury risk assessment

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Authors

Brennan J Thompson; Curtis S Cazier; Eadric Bressel; Dennis G Dolny.

Abstract

This study aimed to provide a comprehensive strength-based physiological profile of women’s NCAA Division I basketball and gymnastic athletes; and to make sport-specific comparisons for various strength characteristics of the knee flexor and extensor muscles. A focus on antagonist muscle balance (hamstrings-to-quadriceps ratios, H:Q) was used to elucidate vulnerabilities in these at-risk female athletes. Fourteen NCAA Division I women’s basketball and 13 gymnastics athletes performed strength testing of the knee extensors and flexors. Outcome measures included absolute and relative (body mass normalised) peak torque (PT), rate of torque development at 50, 100, 200 ms (RTD50 etc.) and H:Q ratios of all variables. The basketball athletes had greater absolute strength for all variables except for isokinetic PT at 240°s-1 and isometric RTD50 for the knee extensors. Gymnasts showed ~20% weaker body mass relative concentric PT for the knee flexors at 60 and 120°·s-1, and decreased conventional H:Q ratios at 60 and 240°·s-1 (~15%). These findings suggest that collegiate level gymnastics athletes may be prone to increased ACL injury risk due to deficient knee flexor strength and H:Q strength imbalance. Coaches may use these findings when implementing injury prevention screening and/or for individualised strength training programming centered around an athletes strength-related deficits.

Link

Thompson BJ, Cazier CS, Bressel E, Dolny DG. A lower extremity strength-based profile of NCAA Division I women’s basketball and gymnastics athletes: implications for knee joint injury risk assessment. J Sports Sci. 2018;36(15):1749-1756. doi:10.1080/02640414.2017.1412245

Keywords

Rate of force development; female athlete; hamstrings to quadriceps ratio; injury risk assessment; sports medicine.

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