G-15K Free Communication/Poster Athlete Medical Evaluation and Care
The aim of this study was to determine if pre-season hamstring muscle weakness and inflexibility as well as poor fitness are associated with hamstring strains in rugby players.
102 male club rugby players underwent preseason fitness testing, which included flexibility tests, isokinetic testing, body composition measurements, strength endurance, agility and cardiovascular fitness testing. During the 2001 season, hamstring strains, defined as an injury preventing a player from participating in a training session or match were documented by clinical diagnosis in 9% of the players. Variables in the non-injured players (NI=91) were compared to the injured players (I=9), and within the I group the non-injured limb (NiL) was compared with the injured limb (iL).
A history of a previous hamstring injury was found to be the most significant risk factor for a hamstring injury (p = 0.0001), resulting in a player with a past history being 8.23 times more likely to sustain a hamstring strain. There were no significant differences in strength endurance, agility, cardiovascular fitness or any of the isokinetic variables between the I and NI group. There was no significant difference in isokinetic variables comparing the iL and the NiL in the I group. However, concentric hamstring strength (Nm, mean±SD) was higher (p = 0.044) in the iL compared to the NiL (iL=130±15, NiL=119±12) leg of the injured leg was significantly greater than the non-injured leg. The pain (VAS 0–10) with cervical flexion component of the slump test was reduced (I=2.7±3.0, NI=4.9±2.8) and range of motion (right leg passive straight leg raise test with ankle plantar flexion in degrees) was increased (I=92±22, NI=76±15, p = 0.006) in the I group compared with the NI group.
Other than a past history of a hamstring strain, inflexibility, decreased strength and poor fitness measurements do not predict hamstring strains in rugby players. Other factors that are associated with hamstring strains must be considered.