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Jump performance and movement quality in 7- to 15-year-old competitive alpine skiers: a cross-sectional study.

Annals of Medicine 2024 December
INTRODUCTION: Injury rates in competitive alpine skiing are high. With current methods, identifying people at risk is expensive and thus often not feasible at the youth level. The aims of this study were (1) to describe the jump performance and movement quality of youth competitive alpine skiers according to age and sex, (2) to compare the jump distance among skiers of different sexes and movement quality grades, and (3) to assess the inter-rater grading reliability of the qualitative visual movement quality classification of such jumps and the agreement between live and video-based post-exercise grading.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional study is based on an anonymized dataset of 301 7- to 15-year-old competitive alpine skiers. The skiers performed two-legged forward triple jumps, whereby the jump distance was measured, and grades were assigned by experienced raters from the frontal and sagittal perspectives depending on the execution quality of the jumps. Furthermore, jumps were filmed and ultimately rated post-exercise. Differences in jump distance between various groups were assessed by multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVAs). Reliability was determined using Kendall's coefficient of concordance.

RESULTS: The jump distance was significantly greater in U16 skiers than in U11 skiers of both sexes and in skiers with good execution quality than in those with reduced or poor execution quality. Overall, jump distance in U16 skiers significantly differed between female (5.37 m with 95% CI [5.21, 5.53]) and male skiers (5.90 m with 95%CI [5.69, 6.10]). Slightly better inter-rater grading reliability was observed for video-based post-exercise ( strong agreement) ratings than for live ratings ( moderate agreement).

CONCLUSION: In competitive alpine skiers aged 7 to 15 years, jump performance increases with age, and around puberty, sex differences start to manifest. Our results highlight the importance of evaluating both jump distance and movement quality in youth skiers. To improve test-retest reliability, however, a video-based post-exercise evaluation is recommended.

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