Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

PHSE303 Biomechanics of Sports Injury

Provides a background to the biomechanical reasons why injuries occur in sport, specifically relating to the biological property of tissues and the estimation of forces in biological structures.

Sports injury is the disruption or failure of biological tissue in response to mechanical loading during sporting endeavours. In this paper we study the biomechanical relationship between sporting endeavours and failure of biological tissue. We will explore basic tissue mechanics, focusing on loading response and failure mechanisms in bone, ligament, muscle-tendon and cartilage. We also explore the basic material properties of protective sporting equipment and how it provides protection to human tissue. Further, we study the shoes and the mechanisms of shoe-surface interaction in mechanical injury risk for athletes.

Paper title Biomechanics of Sports Injury
Paper code PHSE303
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1400
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $969.22
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,368.00

^ Top of page

PHSE 202
PHSE 503
Limited to
Suitable for students interested in biomechanics, sports injuries, physiotherapy, sports medicine and sport and exercise science.
Students with sufficient maths or physics background are also eligible.
Teaching staff
Course Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Dr Melanie Bussey
Paper Structure
The paper is divided into 4 modules:
  • Mechanical principles: kinetics, work-energy, stress-strain
  • Tissue mechanics
  • Equipment and surfaces
  • Calculating loads - inverse dynamics
Teaching Arrangements
Laboratory attendance is compulsory.
Required text: Bartlett, R.M & Bussey, M.D. (2012). Sports Biomechanics: reducing injury risk and improving sports performance, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Self-motivation, Life-long learning.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
On completing the paper students should demonstrate:
  • Knowledge and appropriate understanding of biomechanical terminology related to tissue function and failure
  • An understanding of material properties of human tissue, including response to loading and failure mechanism
  • A good understanding of sports injury mechanisms and techniques for prevention based on sound biomechanical principles and investigation

^ Top of page


First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22
Friday 12:00-12:50 9-12, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
P1 Wednesday 14:00-16:50 12, 16, 18, 20
P2 Friday 14:00-16:50 11, 15, 17, 19
P3 Friday 14:00-16:50 12, 16, 18, 20