Research Dominance Definitions May Not Identify Higher Risk Limb for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in NCAA D3 Student-Athletes.
Cacolice PA, Starkey BE, Carcia CR, Higgins PE.
Background/Purpose: Recent work has identified non-significant correlations of established limb dominance to the lower extremity (LE) at greater risk for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in an active, non-athletic sample. The most common LE dominance definition is preferred leg to kick a ball. Athletes develop a unilaterality pattern different from their active, non-athlete peers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the correlation between the LE used to kick a ball with and the limb identified at greater risk of ACL injury in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III athletes.
Design: An Observational Descriptive study design
Methods: Forty-six student-athletes that were active on their NCAA Division III football, field hockey, volleyball, and soccer team rosters were recruited. Upon completing consent, participants performed two tasks (kicking a ball; unilateral land) in a counterbalanced order. Data were entered into and analyzed with a commercial statistical software package where a phi coefficient and Chi-squared analysis were performed.
Results: Of the 46 student athletes who participated (Female=32, Male=14, 19.48±1.26years, 171.75±10.47cm, 77.26±18.74kg), 25 participants kicked and landed with the same limb. Twenty participants chose kicking and landing with different limbs. The Phi Coefficient (Φ= 0.001; P= 0.97) indicated little to no relationship between the LE a participant kicked and landed with. Likewise, the Chi-square statistic revealed no statistical differences between observed and expected frequencies (χ2= 0.001; p= 0.97).
Discussion/Conclusion: NCAA Division III athletes display a statistical absence of preferred limb predictability utilizing the most common dominance definition (kicking a ball) as it relates to identifying LE at risk of ACL injury. The results suggest that the prevalent LE dominance definition is problematic when exploring ACL injury risk in this population.