Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


College of Engineering


Michael D. Whitt

Advisor Department

Biomedical and General Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of ACL injuries is increasing in previous years. One of the most common studied kinematic risk factors related to ACL injuries is a resultant weak, leg axis alignment known as the dynamic knee valgus angle presented during a vertical drop jump [8, 14, 15]. Hewett et. al. concluded that a knee valgus angle was a primary predictor of the mechanism that leads to an ACL rupture [8]. By increasing the excessive knee valgus angle during a two-legged DVJ, an athlete is in turn increasing the possibility of a high knee valgus moment, which can increase the anterior tibial translation as well as the load on the ACL several-fold and the chances for an ACL tear [4].

METHODS: In our study, ten collegiate female participants, including ballet and non-ballet athletes performed two-legged DVJs for 6 different flexor and extensor muscles while digital recordings of knee valgus angle were captured at initial contact and push off with simultaneous collection of EMG data.

RESULTS: Results displayed statistical significance for the average valgus angle to estimated GRF ratio for the non-dominant leg at push-off between the ballet and non-ballet athletes (0.8 ± 0.43 vs. 1.8 ± 0.33 degrees/N, p < 0.05). In addition, we also found that the hip extensor activity significantly increased for the non-ballet group and that the lateral thigh CCI noticeably increased for the non-dominant leg for the non-ballet group, which could be indicative of the noticeable difference in the biceps femoris muscle activation for the non-ballet group when comparing sports type. In addition, statistically significant interactions between sports type and leg type for vastus medialis and gluteus maximus were produced. Observed results also indicated that there was an increase in overall variability for the dominant leg of the non-ballet athletes amongst all studied muscles and for the non-dominant leg for the ballet group specifically studying the gluteus maximus muscle activity.

DISCUSSION: Relatively, the non-ballet group could be at a higher risk for increase in femoral adduction, hip adduction, and tibial external rotation, and overall predict a larger knee valgus moment; therefore, the non-ballet group could potentially be at a higher risk for an ACL injury than the ballet group. In addition, there is potential in continued research of neuromuscular differences between ballet and non-ballet athletes to further investigate the vastus medialis and the gluteus maximus muscle activations as well as to investigate the knee valgus moment values.