Reliability of Triaxial Accelerometry for Measuring Load in Men’s Collegiate Ice Hockey

van Iterson E.H., Fitzgerald J.S., Dietz C.C., Snyder E.M., Peterson B.J.

Wearable microsensor technology incorporating triaxial accelerometry is used to quantify an index of mechanical stress associated with sport-specific movements termed PlayerLoad. The test-retest reliability of PlayerLoad in the environmental setting of ice hockey is unknown. The primary aim of this study was to quantify the test-retest reliability of PlayerLoad in ice hockey players during performance of tasks simulating game conditions. Division I collegiate male ice hockey players (N = 8) wore Catapult OptimEye S5 monitors during repeat performance of 9 ice hockey tasks simulating game conditions. Ordered ice hockey tasks during repeated bouts included acceleration (forward or backward), 60% top-speed, top-speed (forward or backward), repeated shift circuit, ice coasting, slap shot, and bench sitting. Coefficient of variation (CV), intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), and minimum difference (MD) were used to assess PlayerLoad reliability. Test-retest CVs and ICCs of PlayerLoad were as follows: 8.6% and 0.54 for forward acceleration, 13.8% and 0.78 for backward acceleration, 2.2% and 0.96 for 60% top-speed, 7.5% and 0.79 for forward top-speed, 2.8% and 0.96 for backward top-speed, 26.6% and 0.95 for repeated shift test, 3.9% and 0.68 for slap shot, 3.7% and 0.98 for coasting, and 4.1% and 0.98 for bench sitting, respectively. Raw differences between bouts were not significant for ice hockey tasks (p > 0.05). For each task, between-bout raw differences were lower vs. MD: 0.06 vs. 0.35 (forward acceleration), 0.07 vs. 0.36 (backward acceleration), 0.00 vs. 0.06 (60% top-speed), 0.03 vs. 0.20 (forward top-speed), 0.02 vs. 0.09 (backward top-speed), 0.18 vs. 0.64 (repeated shift test), 0.02 vs. 0.10 (slap shot), 0.00 vs. 0.10 (coasting), and 0.01 vs. 0.11 (bench sitting), respectively. These data suggest that PlayerLoad demonstrates moderate-to-large test-retest reliability in the environmental setting of male Division I collegiate ice hockey. Without previously testing reliability, these data are important as PlayerLoad is routinely quantified in male collegiate ice hockey to assess on-ice physical activity.

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