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Decelerate to vaccinate: putting the brakes on sports injury
Paper Title: Deceleration Training in Team Sports: Another Potential ‘Vaccine’ for Sports-Related Injury
Publication: Sports Med
Publication date: October 2021
Sprinting improves performance and reduces the risk of injury. Deceleration precedes a change of direction (COD) and reduces momentum when slowing down while running. High-intensity deceleration occurs more often than acceleration in team sports, such as football, hockey, rugby, and soccer. At the same time, deceleration training involves high-impact braking ground reaction forces that predispose the lower limb to tissue damage, loss of stiffness, and neuromuscular fatigue. In addition, athletes require coping strategies to handle the high-intensity deceleration demands of matches and training. Therefore, deceleration training may provide clinicians with an alternative strategy to reduce injury risk.
This narrative review provides a background for deceleration training to improve performance and reduce injury. In addition, the authors investigated theoretical frameworks to develop deceleration training methods.
High-intensity horizontal decelerations are performed frequently in team sport match play and possess unique biomechanical and physiological characteristics.
|Deceleration Properties||Injury Consideration||Performance Consideration|
|Deceleration increases the:|
1. Magnitudes of horizontal braking impulse in foot
2. Impact peak force and loading rates
3. Joint angular velocity
|1. Increase musculoskeletal loading|
2. Eccentric power absorption in the lower body
|Helps in force application for re-acceleration into a new direction|
|Eccentric training forces are greater than those in concentric or isometric training||Increased force leads to muscle damage and greater neuromuscular and mechanical fatigue||Increased mechanical & metabolic efficiency|
|Increased quadriceps and greater relative hamstring activation||Reducing the risk of anterior displacement of the tibia ultimately reduces the risk of ACL injury||Increase braking force|
|Increased pre-impact muscle activation and mechanical buffering capacity of the tendon||Reduce the rate of active muscle fascicle lengthening and eccentric force inputs||Increased ability to generate and attenuate intense braking forces|
|Increase sarcomeres in series and tissue tolerance||Reduce the adverse effects of muscle damage and neuromuscular fatigue||Increased expression of force-velocity characteristics|
Team sport requires athletes to develop robust musculoskeletal capacity and adapt to high-intensity horizontal deceleration. Clinicians should carefully monitor athletes’ deceleration training load, assess compensatory movement strategies, and formulate acceleration-deceleration profiles to maximize performance and reduce injury risk. The use of high-speed cameras, radar technology, and satellite tracking systems may improve evaluation and monitoring during deceleration training. Future research needs to investigate the optimal deceleration training dose.