Is Poor Hamstring Flexibility a Risk Factor for Hamstring Injury in Gaelic Games?

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Hamstring injuries are a leading cause of injury in Gaelic games. Hamstring flexibility as a risk factor for hamstring injury has not yet been examined prospectively in Gaelic games. Objective: To examine whether hamstring flexibility, using the modified active knee extension (AKE) test, and previous injury are risk factors for hamstring injury in Gaelic players and to generate population-specific AKE cutoff points. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: School and colleges. Patients (or Other Participants): Adolescent and collegiate Gaelic footballers and hurlers (n = 570). Intervention(s): The modified AKE test was completed at preseason, and hamstring injuries were assessed over the course of one season. Any previous hamstring injuries were noted in those who presented with a hamstring injury. Main Outcome Measures: Bilateral AKE scores and between-leg asymmetries were recorded. Receiver operating characteristic curves were implemented to generate cutoff points specific to Gaelic players. Univariate and backward stepwise logistic regression analyses were completed to predict hamstring injuries, hamstring injuries on the dominant leg, and hamstring injuries on the nondominant leg. Results: Mean flexibility of 64.2° (12.3°) and 64.1° (12.4°) was noted on the dominant and nondominant leg, respectively. Receiver operating characteristic curves generated a cutoff point of < 65° in the AKE on the nondominant leg only. When controlled for age, AKE on the nondominant leg was the only predictor variable left in the multivariate model (odds ratio = 1.03) and significantly predicted hamstring injury (χ2 = 9.20, P = .01). However, the sensitivity was 0% and predicted the same amount of cases as the null model. It was not possible to generate a significant model for hamstring injuries on the dominant leg (P > .05), and no variables generated a P value < .20 in the univariate analysis on the nondominant leg. Conclusions: Poor flexibility noted in the AKE test during preseason screening and previous injury were unable to predict those at risk of sustaining a hamstring strain in Gaelic games with adequate sensitivity.

O’Connor, McCaffrey, Whyte, and Moran are with the School of Health & Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland. Fop and Murphy are with the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

O’Connor (siobhan.oconnor@dcu.ie) is corresponding author.
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