The effect of previous hamstring strain injuries on the change in eccentric hamstring strength during preseason training in elite Australian footballers

Opar, David A., Williams, Morgan, Timmins, Ryan, Hickey, Jack, Duhig, Steven, & Shield, Anthony (2015) The effect of previous hamstring strain injuries on the change in eccentric hamstring strength during preseason training in elite Australian footballers. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(2), pp. 377-384.

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Hamstring strain injuries (HSIs) are the most common injury type in Australian football and the rate of recurrence has been consistently high for a number of years. Long lasting neuromuscular inhibition has been noted in previously injured athletes but it is not known if this influences athletes adaptive response to training.


To determine if elite Australian footballers with a prior unilateral HSI (previously injured group) display lesser improvements in eccentric hamstring strength during pre-season training compared to athletes without a history of HSI (control group).

Study design

Prospective cohort study.


Ninety-nine elite Australian footballers participated (17 with a history of unilateral HSI in the previous 12 month period). Eccentric hamstring strength was assessed at the start and end of pre-season training using an instrumented Nordic hamstring device. Change in eccentric strength across preseason was determine in absolute terms and normalised to start of preseason strength. Start of preseason strength was used as a covariate to control for differences in starting strength.


The left and right limbs in the control group showed no difference in absolute or relative change (left limb absolute change, 60.7±72.9N; relative change, 1.28±0.34; right limb absolute change, 48.6±83.8N; relative change, 1.24±0.43) . Similarly, the injured and uninjured limbs from the previously injured group showed no difference for either absolute or relative measures of change (injured limb absolute change, 13.1±57.7N; relative change, 1.07±0.18; uninjured limb absolute change, 14.7±54.0N; relative change, 1.07±0.22N). The previously injured group displayed a significantly lesser increase in eccentric hamstring strength across the preseason (absolute change, 13.9±55.0; relative change, 1.07±0.20) compared to the control group (absolute change, 54.6±78.5; relative change, 1.26±0.39) for both absolute and relative measures (p < 0.001), even after controlling for differences in start of pre-season eccentric hamstring strength, which had a significant effect on strength improvement.


Elite Australian footballers with a unilateral HSI history displayed lesser improvements in eccentric hamstring strength across preseason training. The smaller improvements were not restricted to the previously injured limb as the contralateral limb also displayed similarly small improvements in eccentric strength. Whether this is the cause of or the result of injury remains to be seen, but it has the potential to contribute to the risk of hamstring strain re-injury.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
4 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 78597
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Hamstring, Muscle injury, Eccentric strength, Nordicv hamstring exercise
DOI: 10.1177/0363546514556638
ISSN: 1552-3365
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Sports Medicine (110604)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 12 Nov 2014 01:26
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2015 07:24

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