Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 423 - 429

Research article
What is the Safest Sprint Starting Position for American Football Players?
Bruno Bonnechere , Benoit Beyer, Marcel Rooze, Jan Serge Van Sint
Author Information
Laboratory of Anatomy, Biomechanics and Organogenesis [CP 619], Lennik Street 808, 1070 Brussels - Belgium

Bruno Bonnechere
✉ Laboratory of Anatomy, Biomechanics and Organogenesis (LABO), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Publish Date
Received: 26-11-2013
Accepted: 05-02-2014
Published (online): 01-05-2014
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The main objective of this study was to perform a biomechanical analysis of three different sprint start patterns to determine the safest position in term of neck injury and Sport-Related Concussion (SRC). The second objective was to collect data on the learning process effect between football players and non-players. Three different sprint initial positions adopted by football players were studied (i.e., 4-, 3- and 2-point positions). Twenty five young healthy males, including 12 football players, participated to this study. A stereophotogrammetric system (i.e., Vicon) was used to record motion patterns and body segments positions. Various measurements related to head and trunk orientation, and player field-of-view were obtained (e.g., head height, trunk bending, time to reach upright position, head speed (vertical direction) and body speed (horizontal direction)). Learning process was found to have no influence on studied parameters. Head redress is also delayed when adopting a 4-point position leading to a reduce field-of-view during the start and increasing therefore the probability of collision. Concerning the three different positions, the 4-point position seems to be the more dangerous because leading to higher kinetic energy than the 2- and 3-point start positions. This study proposes a first biomechanical approach to understand risk/benefit balance for athletes for those three different start positions. Results suggested that the 4-point position is the most risky for football players.

Key words: Sports, sports medicine, brain concussion, biomechanics

           Key Points
  • Motion analysis and biomechanical analysis of the initial start position of the sprint could be used to increase the safety of the football players.
  • Analysis of kinematic and trajectory of the head and the time to reach the upright position could be used to determine whether or not a player can return to play after concussion.
  • A balance needs to be found between player’s safety (2-point start) and speed (4-point start).
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