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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2023

Beyond the Injury: The Association Between Physical Characteristics and Injury in Competitive High School Dance Team Athletes

Lauren Blume

Senior, Psychology


Past research has reported that lower extremity injuries account for 30% of all injuries in pre-professional dancers. However, associations between physical attributes and lower extremity injury in high school team dancers has not been studied. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the association between physical characteristics and injury incident and risk in competitive high school dance team athletes. Participants (n=81) were recruited through athletic directors and sport coaches at regional high schools. Parental consent and participant assent were obtained. Height, weight, body composition, cardiovascular endurance, balance, flexibility, neuromuscular control via drop jump from a 20” box, and grip strength assessments were taken prior to the 2022-23 competitive season. Lower extremity injuries were tracked through February 2023 (n=6). An equation to predict injury was developed via stepwise binomial logistic regression: Y=-7.9+(0.56*GripStrength)-(0.1205*KneeValgus)-(0.199*KneeExtension)+0.347(KneeROM); R2=0.5043 (p≤0.10). Due to missing data, 1 injured and 9 non-injured participants were not included in the model. Values for injured and non-injured, respectively,were: grip strength 26.0kg, 25.0kg; maximum knee valgus during landing 14.2°, 19.8°; knee extension upon landing 151.7°, 146.6°; and knee ROM during landing 14.9°, 15.1°. Mann-Whitney U tests revealed that only knee ROM during landing was significantly different between injured and non-injured participants (p≤0.05). Grip Strength, knee valgus, knee extension, and knee ROM account for 50.43% of the variance in determining injured versus non injured dancers. Based on these findings, and using this predictive model, coaches have the ability to adapt their conditioning sessions and practices to prevent injury.

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