Title

Reducing biomechanical risk factors associated with injury during landing and improving performance in 11-13 year old netball athletes

Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (Sports Science)

School

School of Medical and Health Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Greg Haff

Second Advisor

Dr Chris Joyce

Third Advisor

Dr Rhodri Lloyd

Abstract

Study 1: Neuromuscular training improves movement competency and physical performance measures in 11-13 year old female netball athletes

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a neuromuscular training program on movement competency and measures of physical performance in youth female netball players. It was hypothesized that significant improvements would be found in movement competency and physical performance measures following the intervention. Twenty-three junior female netball players (age, 12.17 ± 0.94 yrs; height, 1.63 ± 0.08 m; weight, 51.81 ± 8.45 kg) completed a test battery before and after a six-week training intervention. 13 of these athletes underwent six weeks of neuromuscular training, which incorporated plyometrics and resistance training. Trained athletes showed significant improvements in 20 m sprint time, 505 agility time, countermovement jump height and peak power (p ≤ 0.05, g > 0.8). Additionally, trained athletes significantly improved their score in the Netball Movement Screening Tool (NMST) (p < 0.05, g > -1.30); while the athletes also demonstrated increased reach in the anterior and posteromedial directions for the right and left leg, and in the posterolateral direction for the left leg only in the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) (p < 0.05, g > -0.03). Control subjects did not exhibit any significant changes during the 6-week period. Significant negative correlations were found between improved score on the NMST and decreased 5 m, 10 m and 20 m sprint time, and 505 change of direction time (r > 0.4, p ≤ 0.05). Results of the study affirm the hypothesis that a six-week neuromuscular training intervention can improve performance and movement competency in youth netball players

Study 2: Neuromuscular training improves lower extremity biomechanics associated with knee injury during landing in 11-13 year old female netball athletes.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a neuromuscular training program on lower extremity biomechanics in youth female netball athletes. The hypothesis was that significant improvements would be found in landing biomechanics of the lower extremities, commonly associated with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Twenty-three athletes (age = 12.2 ± 0.9 yrs; height = 1.63 ± 0.08 m; weight = 51.8 ± 8.5 kg) completed two testing sessions separated by six weeks. Thirteen athletes underwent six weeks of neuromuscular training, while the remaining 13 served as controls. Three dimensional lower extremity kinematics and kinetics were measured during two landing tasks. Neuromuscular training significantly improved hip abduction angle and bilateral knee valgus motion in the bilateral landing task at maximum knee-flexion range of motion and knee internal rotation angle during the unilateral landing at maximum knee flexion-extension range of motion (p ≤ 0.05, g > 1.00). Additionally, the experimental group showed large, significant decreases in vertical ground reaction force in both landing tasks (p ≤ 0.05, g > -1.30). Control participants did not make any significant changes during the six-week study period. Results of the study affirm the hypothesis that a six week neuromuscular training program can enhance movement biomechanics associated with ACL injury.

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