The effect of concrete and artificial turf surfaces on lower limb muscle fatigue among UFS netball players
Van Jaarsveld, Gawie
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Objective: The present study sought to determine the effect of synthetic and concrete surface on lower limb muscle fatigue on UFS netball players. Fatigue increases the risk for injuries and play surfaces with less absorbing qualities leads to an increased incidence of injuries. The hypothesis of this study was that the less absorbing concrete surface will have a more significant effect on lower limb muscle fatigue by means of jumping performance and muscle activation, which leads to an increased incidence of injuries. Design: This study was an experimental crossover study, which assessed lower limb muscle fatigue on two different netball play surfaces (concrete and synthetic turf). Nine netball players from the University of the Free State senior netball team where recruited. The vertical jump performance (jump height, peak power, peak velocity) were measured with a Tendo power analyser and lower limb muscle activation with surface Electromyography. Measurements were taken before and after a fatiguing protocol on the two separate surfaces over the span of two days. Results: The results did not find any significant change in vertical jumping performance or muscle activation after the fatiguing protocol on the two separate surfaces, except for a significant decrease of Tibialis Anterior (TA) activation after the fatiguing protocol (FP) on the concrete surface during the propulsion phase of the vertical jump (VJ) (p = 0.03). There was however also a significant difference in muscle activation of Semitendinosis (ST) prior the FP on the two separate surfaces during the landing phase of the VJ (p = 0.03). Conclusion: This study could not determine that the less absorbing concrete surface had a more significant effect on muscle fatigue than the synthetic surface. It could however be postulated 1) that the concrete surface had a greater effect on the post-activation potentiation and jumping performance than the synthetic surface; 2) the differences in activation of the ST before and after the FP on the synthetic surface during the landing phase of the jump was possibly due to a change in biomechanics in response to the surface and should be investigated in future research, and 3) the concrete surface had a significant effect on TA activation during the propulsion of the jump, but whether the change is brought on by fatigue and whether TA shows the first signs of fatigue compared to other muscle groups is still debatable.