Caution using data from triaxial accelerometers housed in player tracking units during running

Suzi Edwards, Samuel White, Seaton Humphreys, Robert Robergs, Nicholas O’Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Usage of accelerometers within player tracking devices in sport to quantify load, vertical ground reaction force (vGRF) or energy expenditure is contrary to placement guidelines. This study aimed to determine whether trunk-mounted accelerometers were a valid and reliable method to estimate thoracic segment or centre of gravity (COG) acceleration or vGRF, and the whether the elasticised harness contributes to the overestimation of acceleration. Ten male amateur rugby players performed five linear running tasks per lower limb at three speeds, twice, each with a different player tracking unit. Three-dimensional data were recorded and triaxial accelerometers were attached lateral to the device on the harness and skin and both shanks. Accelerometers demonstrated poor reliability (ICC:0.0–0.67), high variability (CV%:14–33%) and change in mean (41–160%), and were not valid to estimate vertical acceleration of the COG and thoracic segment nor vGRF. Caution is advised when utilising trunk-mounted triaxial accelerometer data as it is not a valid or reliable means to estimate peak vertical acceleration for its thoracic location nor whole-body COG acceleration or vGRF during running. To improve player tracking instrument validity and reliability, a new attachment method and/or harness material(s), that reduce or eliminate extraneous acceleration during running, are urgently required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-818
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number7
Early online date11 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 03 Apr 2019

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