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Upper Extremity Sensorimotor Control Among Collegiate Football Players

Laudner, Kevin G

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 3 - p 672-676
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822a69c8

Laudner, KG. Upper extremity sensorimotor control among collegiate football players. J Strength Cond Res 26(3): 672–676, 2012—Injuries stemming from shoulder instability are very common among athletes participating in contact sports, such as football. Previous research has shown that increased laxity negatively affects the function of the sensorimotor system potentially leading to a pathological cycle of shoulder dysfunction. Currently, there are no data detailing such effects among football players. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the differences in upper extremity sensorimotor control among football players compared with that of a control group. Forty-five collegiate football players and 70 male control subjects with no previous experience in contact sports participated. All the subjects had no recent history of upper extremity injury. Each subject performed three 30-second upper extremity balance trials on each arm. The balance trials were conducted in a single-arm push-up position with the test arm in the center of a force platform and the subjects' feet on a labile device. The trials were averaged, and the differences in radial area deviation between groups were analyzed using separate 1-way analyses of variance (p < 0.05). The football players showed significantly more radial area deviation of the dominant (0.41 ± 1.23 cm2, p = 0.02) and nondominant arms (0.47 ± 1.63 cm2, p = 0.03) when compared with the control group. These results suggest that football players may have decreased sensorimotor control of the upper extremity compared with individuals with no contact sport experience. The decreased upper extremity sensorimotor control among the football players may be because of the frequent impacts accumulated during football participation. Football players may benefit from exercises that target the sensorimotor system. These findings may also be beneficial in the evaluation and treatment of various upper extremity injuries among football players.

School of Kinesiology and Recreation, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois

Address correspondence to Dr. Kevin G. Laudner,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association