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Profiling of translational and rotational head accelerations in youth BMX with and without neck brace.Objectives To investigate the influence of BMX helmets and neck braces on translational and rotational accelerations in youth riders. Design Mixed model, repeated measure and correlation. Methods Twenty three competitive youth BMX riders classified by age group (6–9 years, 10–13 years and 14–18 years) completed 6 laps of an indoor BMX track at race pace, 3 laps without a neck brace (NB) and 3 without brace (WB). A triaxial accelerometer with gyroscope was placed behind the right ear to determine the mean number of accelerations, translational and rotational, of the head between conditions and by age group. Results Significant reductions by condition (p = 0.02) and by age (p = 0.04) were found for the number of accelerations, though no interactions (condition × age) were revealed. Significant increases by age (p = 0.01) were revealed for translational accelerations, whilst significant increases by condition (p = 0.02) were found for rotational accelerations. In addition, significant correlations were revealed between relative helmet mass and age (r = 0.83; p = 0.001) and relative helmet mass and number of accelerations (r = 0.46; p = 0.03). Conclusions Accelerations at the head decreased with increased age, possibly due to the influence of greater stabilising musculature. Additionally, neck braces also significantly reduced the number of accelerations. However, the magnitude of accelerations may be influenced by riding dynamics. Therefore, the use of neck braces combined with strength work to develop neck strength, could aid in the reduction of head accelerations in youth BMX riders.
Stretching of active muscle elicits chronic changes in multiple strain risk factors.INTRODUCTION: The muscle stretch intensity imposed during "flexibility" training influences the magnitude of joint range of motion (ROM) adaptation. Thus, stretching while the muscle is voluntarily activated was hypothesized to provide a greater stimulus than passive stretching. The effect of a 6-wk program of stretch imposed on an isometrically contracting muscle (i.e., qualitatively similar to isokinetic eccentric training) on muscle-tendon mechanics was therefore studied in 13 healthy human volunteers. METHODS: Before and after the training program, dorsiflexion ROM, passive joint moment, and maximal isometric plantarflexor moment were recorded on an isokinetic dynamometer. Simultaneous real-time motion analysis and ultrasound imaging recorded gastrocnemius medialis muscle and Achilles tendon elongation. Training was performed twice weekly and consisted of five sets of 12 maximal isokinetic eccentric contractions at 10°·s. RESULTS: Significant increases (P < 0.01) in ROM (92.7% [14.7°]), peak passive moment (i.e., stretch tolerance; 136.2%), area under the passive moment curve (i.e., energy storage; 302.6%), and maximal isometric plantarflexor moment (51.3%) were observed after training. Although no change in the slope of the passive moment curve (muscle-tendon stiffness) was detected (-1.5%, P > 0.05), a significant increase in tendon stiffness (31.2%, P < 0.01) and a decrease in passive muscle stiffness (-14.6%, P < 0.05) were observed. CONCLUSION: The substantial positive adaptation in multiple functional and physiological variables that are cited within the primary etiology of muscle strain injury, including strength, ROM, muscle stiffness, and maximal energy storage, indicate that the stretching of active muscle might influence injury risk in addition to muscle function. The lack of change in muscle-tendon stiffness simultaneous with significant increases in tendon stiffness and decreases in passive muscle stiffness indicates that tissue-specific effects were elicited.