Published: “Validity of an upper-body-mounted accelerometer to measure peak vertical and resultant force during running and change-of-direction tasks”


Wundersitz, D., Netto, K., Aisbett, B., Gastin, P. (2013). Validity of an upper-body-mounted accelerometer to measure peak vertical and resultant force during running and change-of-direction tasks. Sports Biomechanics, 12(4), 403–412.


In this study, we assessed the accuracy of an accelerometer contained within a GPSports SPI ProX wearable device for measuring peak impacts during running and change of direction tasks. The accelerometer was compared to a force platform, which is considered an accurate measure of impact events in laboratory settings.


Coaches and scientists need to accurately monitor how hard athletes train and compete. This information improves our understanding of sporting demands, and can be used to design training / recovery programs to optimally prepare athletes for competition. The results of this study suggest that the accelerometers typically used in sport can overestimate peak impacts, but filtering improves accuracy.


The results of this study support the use accelerometers to measure peak impacts in sports with appropriate data filtering. However, impact events are only one component of the overall physical demands that athletes experience. Coaches and scientists should consider accelerometer data in combination with other sensors (e.g. GPS) to improve their understanding of training and competition demands in team sports.


If you’d like to learn more about this and Daniel’s other work in the use of wearable technology in sport, feel free to contact him via the following channels:

Published: “Validity of an upper-body-mounted accelerometer to measure peak vertical and resultant force during running and change-of-direction tasks”

Published: “What is normal? Female lower limb kinematic profiles during athletic tasks used to examine ACL injury risk: A systematic review”

Over the coming months, we will be showcasing first-author papers written by C-ESS HDR students that have been published or accepted for publication during the course of their postgraduate studies. We are proud to contribute to the diversity and quality of the research done within C-ESS!

Full citation

Fox, A.S., Bonacci, J., McLean, S.G., Spittle, M., & Saunders, N. (2014). What is normal? Female lower limb kinematic profiles during athletic tasks used to examine ACL injury risk: A systematic review. Sports Medicine, 44(6), 815–832.

Tell us what your article is about.

This systematic review uses data from previous biomechanical studies to create “normal” or expected ranges for hip and knee kinematic variables during athletic tasks commonly examined in lab environments. The paper focuses on standard athletic tasks – unilateral drop landings, bilateral drop vertical jump-landings, and side-step cutting – as these tasks are commonly used to examine anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury risk factors in the lab.

Why is this work important?

A number of studies have examined lower limb kinematics in laboratory environments with the purpose of identifying “at-risk” athletes or “high-risk” mechanics. At times, increases or decreases in kinematic values are deemed to fit into these categories, when they may simply be representative of how that athletic sub-population or gender performs that task normally. The results from this review provide evidence-based values for identifying anomalies in athletic task performances, or when these task performances could be considered “abnormal”.

How would you like to see your work make an impact in the field?

The values provided in this review can be used as a means to identify, classify, or stratify the level of biomechanical risk for ACL injury when task performances are observed in laboratory environments. Having the ability to identify anomalous or abnormal task performances may allow us to link certain muscular activation strategies or other injury risk factors to these high-risk situations.

Learn more…

Next Monday, Aaron will present the findings from this systematic review at the 9th Australasian Biomechanics Conference (ABC). Aaron is presenting during the poster session on December 1st, from 6:00–7:30PM (poster #14).

If you are not attending the 9th ABC but you’d like to learn more about this and Aaron’s other work in ACL injury risk factors, feel free to get in touch via the following channels:

Published: “What is normal? Female lower limb kinematic profiles during athletic tasks used to examine ACL injury risk: A systematic review”

Thoughts of a young researcher on #ESSA14

Reflections on the 6th Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Conference and Sports Dieticians Australia (SDA) Update: Research to Practice (Adelaide, South Australia; 10 – 12 April 2014).  Written by Anna Saw (@annaesaw).

Exercise & Sports Science AustraliaFirstly, I’d like to acknowledge Exercise & Sports Science Australia and Sports Dietitians Australia for all the work that went in to organising a very successful conference. Over 1000 delegates attended with diverse backgrounds, from those working to improve the health of clinical populations to those aiming to optimise the training and nutritional practices of athletes for peak performance. There was also a good balance between basic (mechanistic) and applied research. In amongst this diversity, there were some common themes I noted:

1. The ancient Greeks and Romans were on to something.

Acclaimed researchers such as Dr Michael Joyner, Prof Mark Hargreaves, and Prof Simon Gandevia (@SimonGandevia), all of whom have been working in their respective fields for decades, each paid homage to the evolution of their field. Ancient philosophers provided wise words which are still applicable today, whilst early athletes tried various training and supplementation regimes to get an edge in competition.

2. The practices of athletes and coaches are often ahead of the science.

The drive to get that edge on competitors sees athletes and coaches making decisions based on anecdotal evidence or from an “n of 1”. This is true whether athletes and coaches are trialling training regimes and dietary supplements, or experimenting with clandestine doping strategies, as highlighted by Prof John Hawley (@JohnAHawley) and Dr Dan Eichner, respectively. The challenge for researchers is how to conduct sufficiently rigorous research in applied settings, while managing the unique issues of feasibility and ethical conduct. Until these competing interests can be resolved, the empirical evidence that explains mechanisms and true effects will continue to lag behind practice.

3. Everything comes back to the individual.

Another reason why scientific evidence is lagging is that outliers are an inconvenient truth. Some presenters would despair that their findings are not as strong as they could be due to some “non-responders” in the sample. Given such individuality in responses, Dr Shona Halson, Prof Aaron Coutts (@AaronJCoutts), and Dr David Buttifant (@ButtersO2)were among several prominent researchers who stressed the importance of considering the individual and personalising strategies accordingly.

4. Data has to have a purpose.

In the Friday afternoon session focused on athlete monitoring, Prof Coutts opened his talk with the following quote: “If it’s measurable, measure it. If it’s controllable, control it. If it’s both, record it”. With technological advancements including GPS, accelerometers, and actigraphy, there is a wealth of data that can be recorded. The challenge, then, is how to best analyse and make use of this data, with the need to develop complex algorithms and use non-traditional statistical techniques. We should also be mindful of potential drawbacks of such data.  Prof Tim Olds raised the concern of privacy issues with activity tracking and Dr Halson cautioned that conveying too much data may cause unnecessary anxiety or may be used as an excuse by athletes.

5. Don’t forget to ask “How do you feel?”.

Despite all this objective data, sometimes the richest information we can gain comes from simply talking to a client or athlete. Strong relationships built on trust and a supportive team environment are essential. On this note, it was a privilege to hear Dr David Martin and Olympic gold medallist Anna Meares (@AnnaMeares) sharing their insights into the workings of a high performance team.

Regardless of our varied backgrounds, I’m sure these themes will continue to ring true and are important for us all to keep in mind as we head back to our roles as researchers and practitioners.

Thoughts of a young researcher on #ESSA14

ACSMS 2013: Day 4

Post co-authored by Aaron Fox (AF) and Jacquie Tran (JT).

AF, 9:30-10:30AM: The Keynote of the final day featured Jiri Dvorak presenting FIFA’s global health initiative. He discussed how FIFA is using a structured program in an attempt to reduce the number of injuries, prevent sudden cardiac deaths, catch drug cheats, and promote a healthy lifestyle. The really interesting thing about this lecture was how far reaching sport can be in promoting healthy living. FIFA (with the help of a few of the worlds biggest soccer stars) appears to be doing a great job with their school based program in promoting health messages to the next generation using soccer as a medium.

AF, 11:30 AM-12:00 PM: Jacquie was back presenting some additional data from her research. This time, Jacquie presented her work examining the training characteristics of elite rowers. She began by highlighting that the current data on elite rowers training patterns is there, however isn’t as specific as it needs to be. An interesting finding from her study was the large percentage of training rowers perform off water (non-specific) across all phases of training.

AF, 7:00PM-LATE: It was finally time for the biggest social event of the conference, the Conference Dinner. We were greeted with the usual drinks; as well as the unusual – a baby elephant.

The Conference Dinner was a great night for all involved. The Asics Medal was awarded to Prof. Wendy Brown for her presentation title ‘Population attributable risk factors in women: Should we be investing more in the promotion of physical activity?’ After the formalities, everyone enjoyed food, drink, more food, and more drinks; soaking up the last night of the conference on a warm Phuket night.

After it was all said and done, Sports Medicine Australia had put on another great conference in a brilliant location. Make sure you keep your ears open for all the info needed to attend ‘Be Active 2014’ next year in Canberra.

ACSMS 2013: Day 4

ACSM 2013: Day 3

Post co-authored by Aaron Fox (AF) and Jacquie Tran (JT).

Thursday brought a number of presenters from Deakin to the stage. Paul Gastin, Jacquie Tran and Anna Neumaier were all presenting their work on Day 3 of ACSMS 2013.

AF, 1.30-3:00 PM: A fortunate time change allowed us to go and see the “Injury and Football Codes” session, where a number of interesting studies were presented. Paul Gastin kicked the session off with a presentation examining risk factors for injury in elite Australian Rules football. Some key findings were that players who had lower levels of endurance and were slower over 40m were at greater risk of injury. Additionally, playing as a backman reduced injury risk, while playing as a forward increased injury risk. Caroline Finch was back next, continuing her busy week presenting an evaluation of their FootyFirst implementation plan using the RE-AIM framework. However, she appeared more focused on what other people were doing in the session.

Two presentations by Christina Ekegren highlighted some interesting developments in the area of injury epidemiology in community sport. Firstly, Christina presented a potential new method for collecting injury data, via SMS. Football players had a high compliance with reporting injuries by text message, with an interesting finding of the research showing players tended to report more injuries than their club doctors. Later on was a presentation examining injury surveillance in community football over the past 30 years. Interestingly, a difference in the number and types of injury was evident when examining data from different sources, highlighting the need to collect injury data using a range of methods (such as SMS!).

AF, 3:30-5:00PM: Deakin was well represented in the “Sports and Health Psychology” session late on Day 3, with Jacquie Tran and Anna Neumaier both presenting work from their respective PhD’s. Jacquie began by highlighting the association between motivation and athlete burnout in sub-elite rowers. Her findings showed that amotivation may be associated with pre-competition burnout, however was sure to note that athlete burnout is a multi-dimensional issue and all factors need to be considered. Anna followed with her presentation surrounding the perceptions of key stakeholders of self-report measures. She found that athlete self-report measures increased communication between athletes and coaches (which is a good thing), and that an understanding of the potential benefits of self-report measures could promote their usage. Both Jacquie and Anna presented and answered questions well, and gave a great example of the research currently being undertaken within the Centre for Exercise and Sport Science at Deakin University.

ACSM 2013: Day 3

ACSMS 2013: Day 2

Post co-authored by Aaron Fox (AF) and Jacquie Tran (JT).

JT, 1.32 PM: Good session coming up this arvo: “Injury Prevention” at Lagoon Hall B.  Excited to hear from Caroline Finch, Dara Twomey, and Deakin’s own Aaron Fox.

AF, 1:30-3:00 PM: Really interesting data presented in the “Injury Prevention” session today. Chris Carty (an eventual finalist for the Asics Medal) presented some biomechanical data that can aid in the prevention of falls, while Dara Twomey shed some light on the factors that need to be considered when attempting to implement an injury prevention program in a community setting. This research has great practical implications; as there are always hurdles that need to be overcome, and sharing experiences in how these hurdles are cleared will help future injury prevention efforts. I also happened to be presenting in this session and managed to get through unscathed, while receiving some good feedback on my presentation.

JT, 9:27 AM: Magical things happen in the space between sessions.  Case in point: while awaiting the start of Per Aagaard’s keynote on neuroplastic adaptations to training, Aaron has come up with a conference hashtag that scientists around the world will appreciate: #YOCO (you only conference once).  Examples:

ACSMS 2013: Day 2

ACSMS 2013: Day 1

Post co-authored by Aaron Fox (AF) and Jacquie Tran (JT).

Note: Despite our best intentions, we’ve had to reign in our ambitions to run a live blog at this year’s ACSMS conference due to intermittent wifi access at the conference venue. So you’ll just have to settle for our after-the-fact blog posts, recapping our highlights from each day… 🙂

  • JT: Beautiful venue, hard to complain with warm weather, Thai hospitality, and sumptuous surrounds of the Hilton.

On the 2013 Refshauge Lecture, presented by Dr Craig Purdam:

  • JT: Always great to hear from Craig’s unique perspective: an active clinician with a thorough appreciation of historical and current research.  Love how Craig presented the findings of past research not necessarily to debunk their contentions, but to show respect for these early works and the platform they have provided to our current knowledge, while also iterating the gaps that remain pertinent with incisive comments about “where to next?”Combining clinical experience and research engagement, Craig is an exemplar of keeping your finger on the pulse and staying focused on the practical implications, without losing sight of what has come before and what still holds water.  A great reflection of the value that comes from zooming the lens in AND out.
  • AF: In agreement with JT surrounding Craig Purdam’s Refshauge Lecture. Touching on research into tendinopathy over the past few decades gave an interesting overview of the progress made across the years. More importantly, Dr. Purdam posed a number of questions that researchers will be aiming to answer into the future. Even for someone outside of the research area it was easy to see there are some exciting times ahead for tendinopathy researchers.

ACSMS 2013: Day 1