Background: Although fatigue is known as one of the risk factors for noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury, the effects of fatigue and recovery can be different based on the level of competition. However, it is unknown whether female recreational athletes are susceptible to fatigue or not, compared to female collegiate athletes with greater physical activity. The purpose of the present study was to examine and clarify the effects of fatigue and recovery on knee biomechanics of the drop vertical jump (DVJ) in female recreational athletes compared to female collegiate athletes. Methods: Fifteen female collegiate athletes and ten female recreational athletes were enrolled in the current study. All subjects were basketball players and Tegner activity scales were level 9 and 7, respectively. They performed DVJ before and after the fatigue protocol. Three-dimensional knee kinematics and kinetics were collected during landing phase of DVJ. The data after the fatigue protocol (first, second, and third DVJs) were compared with those before the protocol using one-way repeated measures of analysis of variance in each group. Results: Fatigue caused significant increase of knee abduction angle at initial contact (IC) and peak abduction moments within 40 ms from IC in female recreational athletes, whereas no increases of these parameters were observed in female collegiate athletes. Moreover, recovery from fatigue seemed to be more slowly in female recreational athletes than in female collegiate athletes as smaller knee flexion moment was observed even in post-fatigue third DVJ only for female recreational athletes. Conclusions: Effects of fatigue on DVJ were significantly greater and continued for a longer duration in female recreational athletes compared to female collegiate athletes.
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