Proprioceptive abilities improve in expert skiers and snowboarders from early-season to mid-season

Tracey J Dickson, Jeremy Witchalls, F. Anne Terwiel, Rachel Jaros, Gordon Waddington, Braden McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives
To determine whether the proprioceptive ability of advanced and expert snowsport participants increased with time on-snow, and whether gender, age, snowsport discipline and/or previous ankle injury were factors in proprioceptive ability at the start of the winter snow season (T1, n = 80) compared to mid- season (T2, n = 39).

Design
Observational study

Method
Participants completed a questionnaire at T1, and proprioception was measured at T1 and T2 by the active movement extent discrimination apparatus (AMEDA), which tests lower limb proprioception.

Results
At T1 there was no significant difference between the proprioception scores of the two cohorts of advanced and expert snowsport participants, between females and males, younger and older age groups, nor between alpine skiers and snowboarders. At T2, after a minimum of 5 weeks on-snow, the whole group had improved their proprioception by 0.04 as measured by the AMEDA. Groups undertaking different snowsport disciplines achieved different gains across the season, with minimal change of 0.02 in skiers, while snowboarders and mixed ski/snowboard participants gained 0.05 and 0.06 (η2 .63 and 0.47 respectively). Males, females, instructors and elite youth participants all improved their proprioception by mid-season (η2 0.29−0.46).

Conclusions
Amongst an established group of snowsports participants, lower limb proprioception is a consistent skill that is equally well developed in all cohorts. Several weeks of regular snowsport exposure improves this proprioceptive acuity amongst snowboarders, and those who mix snowboarding with skiing. Exposure to a prolonged period of snowsport improves proprioception, with benefits to neuromuscular control mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2020

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