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Physical Attributes and NFL Combine Performance Tests Between Italian National League and American Football Players: A Comparative Study

Vitale, Jacopo A.; Caumo, Andrea; Roveda, Eliana; Montaruli, Angela; La Torre, Antonio; Battaglini, Claudio L.; Carandente, Franca

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: October 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 10 - p 2802–2808
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001377
Original Research

Vitale, JA, Caumo, A, Roveda, E, Montaruli, A, La Torre, A, Battaglini, CL, and Carandente, F. Physical attributes and NFL Combine performance tests between Italian National League and American football players: a comparative study. J Strength Cond Res 30(10): 2802–2808, 2016—The purpose of this study was to examine anthropometric measurements and the results of a battery of performance tests administered during the National Football League (NFL) Combine between American football players who were declared eligible to participate in the NFL Combine and football players of a top Italian team (Rhinos Milan). Participants (N = 50) were categorized by position into 1 of 3 groups based on playing position: skill players (SP) included wide receivers, cornerbacks, free safeties, strong safeties, and running backs; big skill players (BSP) consisted of fullbacks, linebackers, tight ends, and defensive ends; lineman (LM) included centers, offensive guards, offensive tackles, and defensive tackles. A 1-way analysis of variance followed by the Tukey-Kramer post hoc test was used for comparisons between Italian players by playing position. Ninety-five percent CIs were used for comparisons between American and Italian football for the NFL Combine performance tests. Significant differences for all the variables between the 3 playing categories were observed among the Italian players; LM had higher anthropometric and body composition values than SP (p < 0.001) and BSP (p < 0.001), whereas LM performed significantly worse in the physical tests, except for the 225-lb bench press test when compared with SP (p < 0.002). American football players presented significantly higher anthropometric values and test performance scores when compared with Italian players. Administrators of professional football teams in Italy need to improve the player's physical attributes, so the gap that currently exists between American and Italian players can be reduced, which could significantly improve the quality of American football in Italy.

1Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy;

2Research Centre of Metabolism, San Donato Milanese General Hospital, Milano, Italy; and

3Department of Exercise and Sport Science, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Address correspondence to Jacopo A. Vitale,

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.