Article Title



Clare M. Kinney, Elizabeth I. Ackley. Roanoke College, Salem, VA.

BACKGROUND: Researchers have demonstrated that the high prevalence of back pain reported by collegiate pole vaulters is associated with poor mechanics during the take-off phase of the vault or due to limited mobility in hips and shoulders. The combined association between vaulting mechanics and mobility on low back pain has not been explored. METHODS: Five collegiate pole vaulters were recruited to explore the impact of vaulting mechanics and mobility on self-reported back pain. Subjects completed two vaulting trials and a subsequent range of motion analysis using the GoPro HERO8 video camera and were analyzed using Dartfish Software (7.5). Vaulting mechanics were measured as a function of body position during the plant and take-off phases of an active vault; active and passive range of motion were used to quantify shoulder, hamstring, and hip mobility in lead- and non-lead limbs. Subjects were stratified according to the presence (n = 3) or absence (n = 2) of back pain. Two one-way ANOVA’s were performed to assess differences in vaulting mechanics and mobility factors between groups. RESULTS: Differences in vaulting mechanics (p > 0.05) and mobility factors (p > 0.05) did not occur according to the presence or absence of back pain; however, non-significant trends suggest that mobility factors (specifically, active hamstring flexibility/hip flexion (p = 0.06) and passive hip extension (p = 0.09) in the non-lead leg) may be associated with back pain in collegiate vaulters. CONCLUSION: While limited by a small sample, this study serves as the first-known exploration of the association between vaulting mechanics and mobility factors on back pain within a sample of collegiate pole vaulters. While no association was observed, findings suggest that mobility factors in the non-lead leg may be associated with the presence of back injuries in collegiate vaulters. These observations differ from prior literature reporting associations between back pain and mobility factors on the lead leg, suggesting a need for further investigation.

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