A kinematic analysis of techniques used by elite transtibial and transfemoral amputee long jump athletes
Ciapponi, Teri Manda
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Limited biomechanical research exists regarding optimal performance techniques of transtibial (TranTib) and transfemoral (TranFem) amputee long jump athletes. As such, the purpose of this study of elite TranTib and TranFem athletes was to determine how the kinematic characteristics exhibited during long jump performances varied between higher and lower skilled long jump athletes. All of the long jump performances of the women's long jump (four TranTib and one TranFem) and the men's long jump and pentathlon competitions (six TranTib and four TranFem) were videotaped for analysis at the 1998 Ultimate Challenge Track and Field Invitational and 1999 National Summer Games, respectively. The farthest legal jump for each participant was selected for analysis. Due to the small sample sizes, nonparametric statistics (Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Mann-Whitney U, and chi-square tests) were used to analyze hypotheses related to selected techniques and skill level (p ??0.05). For the TranTib athletes, only two comparisons were statistically significant. However, these findings were influenced by gender. The men dropped while the women raised the body's COM (COMB) during the penultimate stride of the approach. Thus, it is not known if dropping the COMB is advantageous for the TranTib athletes. Although the top two TranFem athletes did not always exhibit optimal performance techniques, in general, the following performance techniques were used by the higher skilled TranTib and TranFem athletes:|1. Approach technique (TranTib and some TranFem men): COMB was lowered during the penultimate stride of the approach and then lowered further until touchdown onto the takeoff board.|2. Active landing technique onto the takeoff board: placed the takeoff foot onto the takeoff board in a backward sweeping motion.|3. Flight technique: higher skilled athletes performed the flight technique appropriate to their flight time.|4. Body position prior to landing: in general, a small lower leg landing angle was achieved by the athletes extending the knee joints and flexing the trunk about the lower vertebral joints (action) causing a reaction of hip flexion.