Neck kinematics and electromyography while wearing head supported mass during running

Matthew M. Hanks, Jo Ellen M. Sefton, Gretchen D. Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Advanced combat helmets (ACH) coupled with night-vision goggles (NVG) are required for tactical athletes during training and service. Head and neck injuries due to head supported mass (HSM) are a common occurrence in military personnel. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of HSM on neck muscle fatigue that may lead to chronic stress and injury of the head and neck. METHODS: Subjects wore an ACH and were affixed with electromagnetic sensors to obtain kinematic data, as well as EMG electrodes to obtain muscle activations of bilateral sternocleidomastoid, upper trapezius, and paraspinal muscles while running on a treadmill. Subjects performed a 2-min warmup at a walking pace, a 5-min warmup jog, running at a pace equal to 90% maximum heart rate until absolute fatigue, and lastly a 2-min cooldown at a walking pace. Kinematic and EMG data were collected over each 2-min interval. Days later, the same subjects wore the same ACH in addition to the NVG and performed the same protocol as the first session. RESULTS: This study showed significant differences in muscle activation of the right upper trapezius [F(1,31) = 10.100] and both sternocleidomastoid [F(1,31) = 12.280] muscles from pre-fatigue to absolute fatigue. There were no significant differences noted in the kinematic variables. DISCUSSION: This study suggests that HSM can fatigue bilateral neck flexors and rotators, as well as fatigue the neck extensors and rotators on the contralateral side of the mounted NVG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalAerospace medicine and human performance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • EMG
  • Fatigue
  • Helmet
  • Night vision goggles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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