Assessment of biomechanical response to fatigue through wearable sensors in semi-professional football referees

Luigi Truppa, Michelangelo Guaitolini, Pietro Garofalo, Carlo Castagna, Andrea Mannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantifying muscle fatigue is a key aspect of everyday sport practice. A reliable and objective solution that can fulfil this task would be deeply important for two main reasons: (i) it would grant an objective indicator to adjust the daily training load for each player and (ii) it would provide an innovative tool to reduce the risk of fatigue-related injuries. Available solutions for objectively quantifying the fatigue level of fatigue can be invasive for the athlete; they could alter the performance or they are not compatible with daily practice on the playground. Building on previous findings that identified fatigue-related parameters in the kinematic of the counter-movement jump (CMJ), this study evaluates the physical response to a fatigue protocol (i.e., Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1) in 16 football referees, by monitoring CMJ performance with wearable magneto-inertial measurement units (MIMU). Nineteen kinematic parameters were selected as suitable indicators for fatigue detection. The analysis of their variations allowed us to distinguish two opposites but coherent responses to the fatigue protocol. Indeed, eight out of sixteen athletes showed reduced performance (e.g., an effective fatigue condition), while the other eight athletes experienced an improvement of the execution likely due to the so-called Post-Activation Potentiation. In both cases, the above parameters were significantly influenced by the fatigue protocol (p < 0.05), confirming their validity for fatigue monitoring. Interesting correlations between several kinematic parameters and muscular mass were highlighted in the fatigued group. Finally, a “fatigue approximation index” was proposed and validated as fatigue quantifier.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Early online dateDec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Biomechanics
  • Counter-movement jump
  • Fatigue detection
  • Football
  • Wearable inertial sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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