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David Egan
04-02-1997, 11:52 PM
As part of an undergraduate sports biomechanics project, I am investigating
injury potential in netball.

The rules of netball require players to halt suddenly as soon as they receive
the ball. This means that ground reaction forces on landing after catching
the ball are relatively high compared to other activities. Netball has a
high injury rate (when compared with basketball, for example), with most
injuries occurring at the ankle and knee. Our experiment has attempted to
evaluate the injury potential for two conditions: catching a ball aimed at
chest level, and catching a ball aimed 2.5 m high. In both cases, the
subject landed on a force plate and took no more than one and a half steps
after landing. Ground reaction forces were plotted against time. Approach
speed was controlled.

Steele and Milburn (1988a) found that on landing after high passes compared
with chest level passes there was: a lower magnitude of initial peak vertical
ground reaction force (VGRF), greater attenuation of peak VGRF, and lower
horizontal braking forces. They recommended the promotion of a high passing
game style to reduce injuries. In their 1989 study, Steele & Milburn
suggested that this greater dampening of landing forces after high passes was
because subjects tended to land on their forefoot, allowing an additional
body segment to play an active role in force attenuation. Neal and
Sydney-Smith (1992) pointed out that approach speed was not controlled in
Steele and Milburn's work. They concluded that the modulating effect of a
high pass is related to lower approach speeds, and suggested that jumping to
catch a high pass may negate the attenuating effects of a forefoot landing on
peak VGRF

[Steele, J.R., Milburn, P.D. Reducing the risk of injury in netball:
changing rules or changing techniques? NZ journal of health physical
education and recreation 21 (1): 17-21. Steele, J.R., Milburn, P.D. A
Kinetic Analysis of Footfall Patterns at Landing in Netball. Australian
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 21 No.1 March 1989. Neal RJ,
Sydney Smith M The effects of footfall pattern and passing height on ground
reaction forces in netball. Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in
Sport. September 1992.]