The impact of track related parameters on catastrophic injury rate of racing greyhounds

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
9th Australasian Congress on Applied Mechanics, ACAM 2017, 2017, 2017-November
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© 2017 National Committee on Applied Mechanics. All Rights Reserved. Greyhounds can travel twice as fast as human athletes, attaining constant average running speeds of ~65 km/h vs ~29 km/h. Their locomotion is also different from human sprinters, and more similar to cyclists. Unlike human sprinters where the muscles powering the locomotion are also supporting the weight, locomotion of greyhound are powered by torque about the hip. Agile, high-speed quadrupeds, such as the greyhound, experience extreme ground-limb contact forces while negotiating turns; leading to an increased susceptibility to injuries. Added to this, rapid, high velocity changes in direction and extreme turning angles magnify the lateral acceleration forces experienced on the limbs and torso. In this paper, the rate of severe musculoskeletal injuries of racing greyhounds at 34 tracks in New South Wales, Australia, were obtained for the year of 2016. The correlation of parameters, namely bend radius, bend camber, bend length and back straight length and the catastrophic injury rate are statistically analyzed . Track injury locations were obtained from race video footage No correlation was seen between catastrophic injury rate and bend radius, bend camber, bend length and back straight length. Analyses revealed the highest injury rate based on location to be at the first turn. Footage lends support to this being caused by the immediate clustering of the greyhounds towards the inner ‘lure’ rail.” The results of this study support previous findings that greyhounds racing in an anti-clockwise direction most commonly suffer musculoskeletal injuries to their right hind limbs which is consistent with knowledge of the forces that occur on the leading limbs of these dogs as they maintain their speed around bends.
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