Effects of Fall Technique Training on Impact Forces when Falling from Standing

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Virginia Tech


As falls and fall-related injuries are a major cause of injuries, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether, and to what extent, the stage combat fall technique training could reduce the impact forces of falls from standing.

Twenty-six healthy young adults (14 males and 12 females) participated in our study, and were randomly assigned to either a training group or non-training (control) group. Both groups completed a pre-intervention and a post-intervention fall testing session, separated by two weeks, in which they performed naturalistic falls. The training group performed identical pre-intervention fall testing as the control group, and was then required to receive four 1-hour training sessions in the course of two weeks, led by a certified stage combat fall technique training instructor. The training group then completed a post-intervention fall testing session where they performed naturalistic falls and also falls using the fall technique they learned. Falls were induced in both forward and backward directions using a tether-release protocol. Differences between control and training groups at pre-training, and group differences in the change in dependent measures with training, were examined using Mann-Whitney U tests.

The results showed that, following stage-combat fall training, the training group exhibited 32% and 35% reduction in median impact forces for forward and backward falls respectively, while the control group exhibited 5% and 2% reductions (p = 0.002 and <0.001). In addition, the training group showed shorter backward fall duration as well as longer impact time, larger impulse, and longer or larger center-of-pressure based measures for both directions of falling than the control group. However, training was not associated with reduced impact force during the naturalistic falls of the training group.

To our knowledge, this was the first study to investigate the stage combat fall technique training and demonstrate its effectiveness as an intervention to reduce impact forces of falls, thereby exploring the potential to reduce the number of fall-related injuries. While these falls were induced from standing, whether these results would transfer to an unanticipated fall while walking due to a slip/trip remain to be explored.



biomechanics, center-of-pressure, fall duration, fall-related injuries, impact area, impact time, impulse, kinematics, kinetics, older adults, stage combat