A LANDING IS NOT A LANDING

Differences amongst landing types and implications for injury

Not all landings are created equal! What I mean by this statement is the following: during sport, athletes perform a variety of landing maneuvers that may have significant implications for injury risk. Landing is a fundamental movement pattern that every land-based athlete will be exposed to at some point in sport (and yes, walking and running are simply repetitive landings!). In response to environmental demands, an athlete may be required to perform a bilateral (double-limb) or unilateral (single-limb) landing maneuver, often in the close proximity of teammates and / or opponents. After completing the landing phase, an athlete typically performs sequential movements based on the situation presented (e.g., completing an additional jump for a rebound or a cutting maneuver to avoid a defender). In this post, I will discuss the phases of a landing maneuver, the biomechanical differences between bilateral and unilateral landings, as well as the influence of both preparatory and sequential movements on landing patterns. From the information presented, we can understand the external loads placed on an athlete as a function of task demand. This will allow us better understand injury risk during landing, as well as appropriate training methods to mitigate this risk.

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