Pre-season screening of the upper body and trunk in Australian football players: A prospective study



Publication Details

Schwab, L., McGhee, D., Franettovich, M., Mendis, M. & Hides, J. (2020). Pre-season screening of the upper body and trunk in Australian football players: A prospective study. Physical Therapy in Sport, 46 120-130.


© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Objective: To determine whether screening tests of upper body, trunk region, and of whole-body function could prospectively identify community AFL players who sustain in-season shoulder/head/neck injuries. Additionally, to present screening test reference values. Design: Prospective cohort; Setting: Community sport; Participants: 142 male community AFL players (range 15–37 years). Main outcome measures: (i) isometric shoulder external and internal rotation (ER/IR) strength; (ii) upper body combined elevation functional ROM; (iii/iv) whole-body functional jump ROM; (v) static thoracic spine angle; (vi) cervical joint proprioception, and (vii) trunk muscle size and function. Results were compared among players with (n = 21) and without (n = 121) an in-season shoulder, head, or neck injury. ROC analysis and odds ratios were used to determine the predictive values. Results: Two screening tests predicted an in-season shoulder, head, or neck injury; dominant and non-dominant isometric ER strength (AUC 0.629, 95%CI 0.51–0.74; optimal cut point 182 N and AUC 0.619, 95%CI 0.50–0.74; optimal cut point 184 N, respectively). The adjusted odds ratio for the strongest predictor: dominant ER muscle strength was 6.02 (95%CI 1.8–19.9). Conclusion: Greater ER strength was associated with in-season shoulder/head/neck injuries in community AFL players; however, further research is required to determine the clinical significance of this finding.

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