Eccentric Hamstring Strength and Hamstring Injury Risk in Australian Footballers
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Purpose: Is eccentric hamstring strength and between limb imbalance in eccentric strength, measured during the Nordic hamstring exercise, a risk factor for hamstring strain injury (HSI)? Methods: Elite Australian footballers (n=210) from five different teams participated. Eccentric hamstring strength during the Nordic was taken at the commencement and conclusion of preseason training and in season. Injury history and demographic data were also collected. Reports on prospectively occurring HSIs
... ely occurring HSIs were completed by team medical staff. Relative risk (RR) was determined for univariate data and logistic regression was employed for multivariate data. Results: Twenty-eight HSIs were recorded. Eccentric hamstring strength below 256N at the start of preseason and 279N at the end of preseason increased risk of future HSI 2.7 (relative risk, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 to 5.5; p = 0.006) and 4.3 fold (relative risk, 4.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 11.0; p = 0.002) respectively. Between limb imbalance in strength of greater than 10% did not increase the risk of future HSI. Univariate analysis did not reveal a significantly greater relative risk for future HSI in athletes who had sustained a lower limb injury of any kind within the last 12 months. Logistic regression revealed interactions between both athlete age and history of HSI with eccentric hamstring strength, whereby the likelihood of future HSI in older athletes or athletes with a history of HSI was reduced if an athlete had high levels of eccentric strength. Conclusion: Low levels of eccentric hamstring strength increased the risk of future HSI. Interaction effects suggest that the additional risk of future HSI associated with advancing age or previous injury was mitigated by higher levels of eccentric hamstring strength. KEY WORDS: Nordic hamstring exercise, prospective, muscle injury, epidemiology.