Article Text

Results of a musculoskeletal preparticipation screening programme in BUCS Super 8 Rugby League players
  1. K Evans,
  2. K Cady,
  3. A Dobson,
  4. P Towers
  1. Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Care, University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Campus, Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK


The physiological demands of rugby league are complex, requiring players to concomitantly develop speed, agility, muscular strength, power and aerobic capacity. Studies indicate that injury rates are higher in rugby league than other collision sports. The incidence of injury in semiprofessional rugby league players has been reported to be as high as 825 per 1000 player-position game hours. Sports teams with a common epidemiology of injuries often undertake musculoskeletal preparticipation screening (MPPS) in an attempt to reduce the incidence of these injuries. The aim of this study was to undertake a general MPPS for a Super 8 BUCS Rugby League team. 30 players volunteered to undertake a MPPS at the start of preseason training. The MPPS consisted of 10 assessments including (1) single-leg supine bridge hold (transversus abdominis stability), (2) straight leg raise (hamstring flexibility) (3) modified Thomas test (abductor, iliopsoas and rectus femoris contracture), (4) gluteus maximus and hamstring muscle recruitment for hip extension, (5) manual muscle test of gluteus medius and minimus, (6) plumbline assessment of standing posture, (7) Trendelenburg test, (8) overhead squat with shoulder width grip, (9) in-line lunge and (10) single-leg squat. Results showed a prevalence of poor physical preparedness. All subjects were deficient in transversus abdominis, gluteus medius and single-leg strength. All subjects were hypertonic in hip abductors, iliopsoas and hamstrings. All subjects recruited hamstrings before gluteus maximus for hip extension. None of the subjects could perform a single-leg squat, nor achieve all of the competencies required in the overhead squat. All subjects demonstrated shoulder protraction in standing posture. A prehabilitation programme was implemented for all players after assessment with modifications to strength and conditioning programmes.

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