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A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2010 September;50(3):318-25

language: English

Active cervical range of motion recovery following the rugby off-season

Lark S. 1,2, McCarthy P. 1

1 University of Glamorgan, Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, Pontypridd, Wales, UK;
2 Massey University, Institute of Food Nutrition and Human Health, Wellington, New Zealand


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AIM: It has been established that Rugby players have reduced active cervical function that further declines with increased number of playing years; noticeable even over a single season. Here we examine one possible reason, namely insufficient recovery during the off-season, which will only be exacerbated by the trend towards a decreasing off-season period.
METHODS: Twenty-six elite rugby players (12 Forwards 24.9±1.2 years; and 14 Backs 23.8±1.2 years) from two English Premiership rugby clubs had their Active Cervical Range of Motion (ACROM) measured at the end of one playing season and the beginning of the next. The ACROM was measured for flexion, extension, left and right side flexion, plus left and right rotation. Players engaged in active rehabilitation during the off- and pre-season.
RESULTS: Although, the results of paired T-test analysis showed no statistical difference in ACROM, nearly all calculated percentage changes were positive (range from -4.1% to 21%) suggesting a degree of recovery. Rugby Backs had significantly greater ACROM than the Forwards at both measurement points, but did not appear to show a greater percentage change.
CONCLUSION: Although these results indicate a degree of recovery, they reinforce the possibility that the off-season is not long enough to allow significant restoration in neck range of motion, alternatively, players do not undertake sufficient or appropriate neck related rehabilitation to aid their recovery.

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s.lark@massey.ac.nz