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Knee injuries may start with strain on the brain, not the muscles
Date:7/24/2009

hile both men and women suffer an epidemic of ACL injuries, women are two to eight times likelier to tear this ligament than men while playing the same sport. However, the study showed that men and women showed significant changes in lower limb mechanics during unanticipated single leg landings. Again, the findings point to the brain, McLean says.

During testing, a flashing light cued the subjects to jump in a certain direction, and the more fatigued the subjects became, the less likely they were able to react quickly and safely to the unexpected command.

The research suggests that training the brain to respond to unexpected stimuli, thus sharpening their anticipatory skills when faced with unexpected scenarios, may be more beneficial than performing rote training exercises in a controlled lab setting, which is much less random than a true competitive scenario. In this case, expanding the anticipated training to include shorter stimulus-response times could improve reaction time in random sports settings.

"If you expose them to more scenarios, and train the brain to respond more rapidly, you can decrease the likelihood of a dangerous response," he said. It's analogous to how a seasoned stick shift driver versus a novice learner might both respond to a sudden stall. The inexperienced driver might make a slow or even incorrect decision.


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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-746-1552
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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