Background Professional American football players (PAFP) are at high risk for musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries during their season. Little is known about how artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced force plate countermovement jump (CMJ) indices measure musculoskeletal and physiological change, and if these changes across seasons contribute to increased injury risk, especially after an extended layoff from training and participation such as occurred with the Covid-19 lockdown.
Objective Examine longitudinal changes in force plate CMJ measures in PAFP over multiple seasons and to determine if these measures were valid indicators of MSK health. Hypotheses tested: force plate CMJ indices are a valid measure of MSK health and these measures would decrease as injury risk would increase after Covid-19 lockdown.
Design Longitudinal force plate study
Setting Professional American Football
Patients (or Participants) 483 PAFP
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Force plate measures in PAFP
Main Outcome Measurements CMJ force plate measures in PAFP
Results 483 unique individuals scanned over four pre-seasons. 109 unique individuals had repeat pre-seasons during that time. 949 force plate CMJ tests were performed over those four pre-seasons. The AI-generated conglomerate variable MSK_Health was on average 47.8 ± 9.7 in 2017, 47.4 ± 10.1 in 2018, 47.5 ± 10.1 in 2019, and 45.0 ± 11.2 in 2020 post-Covid lockdown. ANOVA showed that 2020 measures of MSK_Health were significantly decreased relative to the 3 prior seasons. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated a significant effect of the MSK_Health variable on MSK injury risk.
Conclusions Across multiple seasons of force plate CMJ measures in PAFP, MSK_Health decreased following Covid-19 lockdown, which may be associated with higher risk for MSK injury. This greater understanding of the changes in longitudinal CMJ force plate measures in PAFP across seasons and after extended layoffs may assist in the development of effective MSK injury reduction measures.
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