Kinesiology, plainly put is the study of human movement and all aspects to it. It is the science of human movement. It is comprehensive in its outlook in that it looks at being part of the physical activity (the experience), class room study of the theories and concepts that make an activity qualify as physical (scholarly) and the professional practice connected with physical practice (Hoffman, 2009). It looks at the muscles-their make up and how they contribute to human movement, the skeleton-make up and contribution to human movement, and the brain in the same context as the previous two.
It makes a practitioner of Kinesiology understand human movement from all angles – the why, what, when and which. Method: Since this study entails all aspects of the human movement, so to does its learning. The use of a high school football team was to allow sight of human movement in real time from a passive position. It brought in play the subjectivity of the human mind in the observational data collection aspect of the research. By its very nature football is a contact sport. It thus presented the research with the best tool to observe the different components that constitute human movement.
The preconceived notions of the human mind would be make for interesting reading when tested against the scientific results. Since not all the three different components could be scientifically measured at the same time, the research was focused on the head. This is from the realization that head impacts result in concussions. This is an injury that has the very real possibility of ending ones career but also could end up in death. To best investigate the impact to head injuries, the research used the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS).
This is a wireless monitoring system capable to rapidly identify athletes who have sustained an impact to the helmet that has the potential of being injurious. It is made to produce real-time post impact data and transmit the results to a computer not more than 150 yd (137m) from the helmet via radio waves. When out of range, an onboard storage unit would record up to 100 hits and transmit when back on range. HITS allows for objectivity in the research. For Kinesiology, to qualify as a science, measurement must be precise and consistent. Head impact data was captured when a single accelerometer exceeded the preset 15g threshold.
Data from 8 milliseconds pre to 32 milliseconds post impact was transmitted and stored. The dependent variables set were linear acceleration, rotational acceleration, jerk force, impulse and duration of impact. Results: From the data collected in the course of the season (68 sessions-55 practice days, 13 games), it became clear that, there were more impacts during games than during practice. The greatest number of knocks was experienced by defensive line players, offensive linemen, offensive skill players and defensive skill players in descending order.
In ascending order, the location of helmet with most frequently hits was the top, side, back and front. Game situations resulted in higher linear acceleration than practice impacts. Top of the helmet hits had the greatest linear acceleration followed by front, back and side. Again, game time impacts caused more rotational acceleration than practice. The line players experienced harder hits than skill players in this category. It was also clear that most forceful hits were as a result of front then back then side and lowest top hit.
Looking at head jerk, impact force, impact pulse and duration of the impact, the figures were higher during game times than practice. The offensive line and defensive skill players had an equal occurrence of head jerk but higher than the others. The line players had longer duration of impact, more impact impulse and force of impact than the skill players. Maximum head jerk and impact force was experienced as result of hits at the top followed by the front, back and side. For the duration of impact, the order was the same but in reverse role.
Also noted, the harder a player was hit the higher the linear acceleration, maximum jerk, force and impulse. The same was true for a soft hit. Conclusion: From the research, this paper has been able to come to some conclusions as a result of the available data. Some of the conclusions justified the subjective view in the researcher at the beginning of the undertaking while some have resulted in the researchers’ change of perception. It was clear from the data that there were higher linear acceleration collisions in high schools than from statistics available about research done on colleges.
This could be as a result of the kids wanting to impress. They clearly may not have and full knowledge of the consequences of their actions. In high schools the chance of a college scholarship, means one could have a greater chance of success in life as a result of the extra academic qualifications one acquired. The higher linear acceleration collisions have a higher concussive chance. This makes the high school football player more at risk as very few have compressive medical covers that would give them the kind of specialized treatment necessary should the worst happen.
Schools by the nature of their medical cover can not to provide this. In high school, there were more top helmet impacts than in college. It meant a higher linear acceleration and also impact force magnitude. This was a very dangerous location. It exposed the boys to a higher risk of concussion and severe cervical injury. This could easily mean career ending injury, paralysis or even death. There was need for more effort to be put into coaching. They could help teach the boys proper tackling techniques and make them understand the advantage of keeping the head high and thus avoiding helmet contact.
It could be that since the college players are more mature, they do not let blood to run into their heads. They are committed in their tackles and at the same time aware of what the consequences of their actions are if not watched properly. Since the boys in high school were still maturing, they were generally smaller in mass and height as compared to their college equivalent. The more reason why they needed to be taught well. In high school, the most dangerous positions were the Quarterback, running backs and wide receiver in decreasing severity.
They had the highest linear acceleration impacts. These could be as a result of them been always in full flight (speed) and in open field. These is unlike their counterparts the offensive line and defensive skill players. These may have the highest number of hits on them but the impact is low. The reason could be because they were always near each other and they do not achieve full acceleration before getting hit. The guys who get hit all the time were line men. These guys were involved in every play in the field.
Finally, in high school because of the small pool of players, some ended up playing more than one position. This increased the risk of injury. This research did raise some very pertinent issues. They need to have proper coaching in high schools should go along way in reducing the chances of serious injury in the field. Also, the better knowledge of head injury risks should make for better understanding of how to tackle and care for them should and when they occur. This research has given birth to invaluable knowledge for Kinesiologists.
Courtney from Study Moose
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