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ORIGINAL ARTICLES  EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2010 December;50(4):486-93

Copyright © 2010 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Maturity status in male child and adolescent athletes

Moore S. A., Moore M., Klentrou P., Sullivan P., Falk B.

Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada


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AIM: Early-maturing individuals may be at an advantage in some sports. The purpose of this study was to compare maturity status between competitive male child (10-12 years old) and adolescent (14-16 years old) athletes and minimally-active, age-matched controls.
METHODS: In total, 224 males were included in the study. Children (n=115) included minimally-active boys (n=34), soccer players (n=26), gymnasts (n=25) and hockey players (n=30). Adolescents (n=109) included minimally-active adolescents (n=31), soccer players (n=30), gymnasts (n=17) and hockey players (n=31). Sexual maturity was assessed using secondary sex characteristics and salivary testosterone concentration (sT). Skeletal age was also assessed, using quantitative ultrasound (Sunlight BonAgeTM).
RESULTS: Within each age group, no differences were observed between sport groups in chronological age, sT or pubertal age. In children, hockey players were more skeletally mature (12.43±1.36 years) than all other groups (11.0±1.0; 11.6±1.4 and 11.7±1.4 years for soccer, gymnasts and controls, respectively). In adolescents, hockey players and gymnasts had higher skeletal maturity (16.8±1.5 and 16.9±1.6 years, respectively; P<0.05) than controls (15.99±1.13 years).
CONCLUSION: While sexual and hormonal maturity does not appear to differ between similar-aged athletes of different sports, the results suggest greater skeletal maturity in hockey players, even before puberty.

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