The Feasibility of Accelerometer-Derived Measures of Vertical Jump Height as a Marker of Neuromuscular Performance in Collegiate Soccer Players
In female college soccer players, there is no protocol for assessing fatigue. A total of 40 members of the Virginia Tech Women's Soccer team participated in the countermovement jump assessment to find a reliable way to gauge player fatigue and readiness in these athletes. These were tested by assessing the within and between-day similarity of a countermovement jump test as a measure of neuromuscular performance by comparing multiple jump heights during jumps performed within a single day and on separate days. Additionally, to determine the responsiveness of countermovement jump height as a marker of fatigue, we compared jump heights before and after activities thought to induce fatigue and competitive matches. All subjects wore a STATSports APEX unit that includes an 18Hz GPS, 952 Hz accelerometer, and 952 Hz gyroscope situated on the upper back over the second thoracic vertebra using a manufacturer-provided vest. After each training session or match, the data was downloaded using the manufacturer's software (APEXA). A custom MATLAB program was then used to calculate CMJ height from vertical acceleration. Results showed that CMJ heights were very reliable both within and between testing days. CMJ heights were found to accurately decrease following both high-load training sessions and a competitive soccer match. For both activities, the decrease in performance was dependent on the amount of load experienced. Lastly, CMJ height did not recover the day following high training load sessions. Across a training week, CMJ consistently decreased each day. This was followed by a recovery in performance following two off days. The results suggest that the use of a trunk-mounted, GPS-embedded accelerometer and a novel three-jump protocol is responsive to assess CMJ height. In addition, it is responsive to estimating fatigue following soccer activity.