Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Exercise and Sport Sciences


Female non-contact ACL injury rates are high in gymnastics. Gymnastics rules prioritize aesthetic quality over athlete safety, contributing to injury risk along with biological risk factors. Gymnasts experience ground reaction forces up to fourteen times body weight when landing, increasing risk of injury. Developing an effective and efficient tool to assess injury risk in gymnasts may be important. The drop vertical jump (DVJ) is a “land and go” task often used to screen for lower extremity injury risk in field and court sport athletes as it mimics motions typical of these sports. However, it is not known whether the DVJ parallels “land-and-go” tasks in gymnastics, like the round off back handspring (ROBHS). Therefore, it is unknown whether coaches and clinicians should use the DVJ to screen for lower extremity injury risk in gymnasts. The purpose of this study is to identify differences in lower extremity biomechanics between the DVJ and the ROBHS and to correlate Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) scores of the DVJ to landing mechanics during the ROBHS. Fifteen female gymnasts completed three trials of the ROBHS and the DVJ. Trials were captured using a three-dimensional motion capture system consisting of twenty high speed cameras capturing at a speed of 240 Hz (Vicon MX™T-series cameras, Vicon Motion Analysis Inc., Oxford, UK). Additionally, trials of the DVJ and ROBHS were captured with a two-dimensional video camcorder in the frontal and sagittal planes. Angular kinematic data was processed from the three-dimensional capture and DVJ trials were scored using the LESS from the two-dimensional video. Paired samples T-tests were used to compare dorsiflexion, knee flexion and abduction, and hip flexion, abduction, and internal rotation between the DVJ and ROBHS. Results showed significant differences in most of these angular measures, iv except frontal plane motion. In the frontal plane, there was no significant difference in knee abduction between the DVJ and ROBHS at initial contact (IC) (t(16) =1.09, p =.29, d = 0.26) or maximum displacement (Dmax)(t(16) = 2.04, p =.06, d = 0.50). Thus, it may be appropriate to use the DVJ to screen gymnasts for frontal plane injury risk. However, future research is necessary to determine if this screening tool can predict future injury risk.



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