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A dynamic model of the head acceleration associated with heading a soccer ball

Riches, P.E. (2006) A dynamic model of the head acceleration associated with heading a soccer ball. Sports Engineering, 9 (1). pp. 39-47. ISSN 1369-7072

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This study develops a dynamic model of head acceleration, which incorporates physiologically related neck muscle contributions, to further the understanding of the mechanical behaviour of the head-neck system during soccer heading. An inverted pendulum is combined with a linear visco-elastic element to model the head-neck system following a half-sine input force. Model parameter values were varied to obtain agreement with previously published experimental data (Naunheimet al., 2003), and were subsequently compared to literature values. The model predicted the same mechanical angular kinematics as observed experimentally both during and post impact. The greatest acceleration was in the anterior direction at the instant the ball left the head, attributed to the elastic stiffness of the neck musculature. The head-neck stiffness and damping coefficients determined from the model (350 N m rad-1 and 4 N m s rad-1, respectively) were similar to those reported elsewhere when subjects were asked to resist maximally. The model may be subsequently used to investigate differences in technique and ability with respect to the salient model parameters to further our biomechanical understanding of soccer heading.