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Emergence of Contact Injuries in Invasion Team Sports: An Ecological Dynamics Rationale

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Abstract

The incidence of contact injuries in team sports is considerable, and injury mechanisms need to be comprehensively understood to facilitate the adoption of preventive measures. In Association Football, evidence shows that the highest prevalence of contact injuries emerges in one-on-one interactions. However, previous studies have tended to operationally report injury mechanisms in isolation, failing to provide a theoretical rationale to explain how injuries might emerge from interactions between opposing players. In this position paper, we propose an ecological dynamics framework to enhance current understanding of behavioural processes leading to contact injuries in team sports. Based on previous research highlighting the dynamics of performer–environment interactions, contact injuries are proposed to emerge from symmetry-breaking processes during on-field interpersonal interactions among competing players and the ball. Central to this approach is consideration of candidate control parameters that may provide insights on the information sources used by players to reduce risk of contact injuries during performance. Clinically, an ecological dynamics analysis could allow sport practitioners to design training sessions based on selected parameter threshold values as primary and/or secondary preventing measures during training and rehabilitation sessions.

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Notes

  1. Kipling servants in past studies include description of who (e.g. the player), what (e.g. the player’s action), where (e.g. the pitch location) and when (e.g. the match time and/or match score line) injuries happened.

  2. Emergence of contact injury is understood as a process in which a stable dyadic system state without injury suddenly changes into a de-stabilised state with an injury to either or both of the competing players.

  3. Top-down approach refers to the assumption that predictive sets of responses acquired a priori will lead to a particular outcome (an injury) during actual playing conditions.

  4. Adaptive behaviour encompasses perception, decision making, and action functions.

  5. Where adaptive behaviour (B) is a function between the person (P) and his or her environment (E) interaction.

  6. Afferent signals that travel to the central nervous system (CNS) from mechano-receptors located in the joints, among other places.

  7. The CNS exploits self-organization in a movement system to form temporarily assembled muscle complexes based on specific information picked up by the performer.

  8. Currently only available in two-dimensional coordinates.

  9. It is likely that threshold values are individual for each dyad and may change within individuals during the playing season.

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Acknowledgments

Louis Leventer would like to express a special thanks to Mr. Pini Sharon, the physiotherapist of Maccabi-Haifa CF. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare that are directly relevant to the content of this article. No funding was received by the authors to assist them in the preparation of this article.

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Leventer, L., Dicks, M., Duarte, R. et al. Emergence of Contact Injuries in Invasion Team Sports: An Ecological Dynamics Rationale. Sports Med 45, 153–159 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-014-0263-x

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