The effects of chronological age and stage of maturation on landing kinematics in elite male youth soccer players
De Ste Croix, Mark
Lloyd, Rhodri S.
National Athletic Trainers' Association
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Context: Despite the high frequency of knee injuries, there is a paucity of research to show the effects of chronological age and stage of maturation on knee joint kinematics in male youth soccer players. Objective: To employ a ‘coach friendly’ screening tool to examine knee valgus scores for players of different ages and stage of maturation. Design: Cross sectional study Setting: Academy soccer clubs Patients or other participants: 400 elite male youth soccer players aged between 10-18 years, categorized by chronological age and stage of maturation (pre, circa or post puberty) based on their years from peak height velocity (PHV). Main outcome measures: Knee valgus was evaluated during the tuck jump assessment via two-dimensional analysis. Participants were subjectively classified as minor (<10°), moderate (10-20°), or severe (>20°) and using these classifications, scored as follows: 0 = no valgus; 1 = minor; 2 = moderate; 3 = severe. Results: A trend of higher valgus scores were shown in the younger age groups and pre-PHV players. The lowest frequency of “no valgus” were in the U18s and post-PHV players. The highest percentage of “severe” scores were in the U13s. Knee valgus scores were significantly lower in the U18s on both legs than all other age groups (p < 0.001), except for the U16s. Post-PHV players’ scores were significantly lower than pre-PHV youth on the right leg (p <0.001), and both pre- and circa-PHV players on the left leg (p <0.001). Noteworthy inter-limb asymmetries were evident in the U14s, U15s and circa-PHV players. Conclusions: Reductions in knee valgus with incremental age and during the later stages of maturation indicate that this risk factor is more prevalent in younger players. Inter-limb asymmetry may also emerge around the time of the peak growth spurt and early adolescence, potentially increasing the risk of traumatic injury.
Journal of Athletic Training;
Read, P.J., Oliver, J.L., De Ste Croix, M.B., Myer, G.D. and Lloyd, R.S. (2017) 'The Effects of Chronological Age and Stage of Maturation on Landing Kinematics in Elite Male Youth Soccer Players', Journal of Athletic Training (in Press)
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
- Sport Research Groups 
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