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Exploring the Justifications for Selecting a Drop Landing Task to Assess Injury Biomechanics: A Narrative Review and Analysis of Landings Performed by Female Netball Players

  • Tyler J. CollingsEmail author
  • Adam D. Gorman
  • Max C. Stuelcken
  • Daniel B. Mellifont
  • Mark G. L. Sayers
Review Article

Abstract

When assessing biomechanics in a laboratory setting, task selection is critical to the production of accurate and meaningful data. The injury biomechanics of landing is commonly investigated in a laboratory setting using a drop landing task. However, why this task is so frequently chosen is unclear. Therefore, this narrative review aimed to (1) identify the justification/s provided within the published literature as to why a drop landing task was selected to investigate the injury biomechanics of landing in sport and (2) use current research evidence, supplemented by a new set of biomechanical data, to evaluate whether the justifications are supported. To achieve this, a comprehensive literature search using Scopus, PubMed, and SPORTDiscus online databases was conducted for studies that had collected biomechanical data relating to sport injuries using a drop landing task. In addition, kinematic and kinetic data were collected from female netball players during drop landings and maximum-effort countermovement jumps from the ground to grab a suspended ball. The literature search returned a total of 149 articles that were reviewed to determine the justification for selecting a drop landing task. Of these, 54% provided no explicit justification to explain why a drop landing task was chosen, and 15% stated it was selected because it had been used in previous research. Other reasons included that the drop landing provides high experimental control (16%), is a functional sports task (11%), and is a dynamic task (6%). Evidence in the literature suggests that the biomechanical data produced with drop landings may not be as externally valid as more sport-specific tasks. Biomechanical data showed that the drop landing may not control center of mass fall height any better than maximum-effort countermovement jumps from the ground. Further, the frequently used step-off technique to initiate drop landings resulted in kinematic and kinetic asymmetries between lower limbs, which would otherwise be symmetrical when performing a countermovement jump from the ground. Researchers should consider the limitations of a drop landing task and endeavor to improve the laboratory tasks used to collect biomechanical data to examine the injury biomechanics of landing.

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate

Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Sunshine Coast Human Research Ethics Committee (A16878). Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. This study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Data Statement

The biomechanical and justification data presented in this article are available on request.

Conflicts of Interest

Tyler Collings, Adam Gorman, Max Stuelcken, Daniel Mellifont and Mark Sayers have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.

Funding

The authors acknowledge the funding provided by the Sport Performance Innovation and Knowledge Excellence unit at the Queensland Academy of Sport. The funding party had no input into the study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data or writing of the manuscript.

Author Contributions

All authors contributed to the study design, collection of data, interpretation of data, and the writing of the manuscript.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of the Sunshine CoastSippy DownsAustralia
  2. 2.Queensland Academy of SportNathanAustralia

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