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A comparison of the musculoskeletal assessments of the shoulder girdles of professional rugby players and professional soccer players

Ian G Horsley1*, James Pearson2, Ann Green3 and Christer Rolf4

Author Affiliations

1 English Institute of Sport, Manchester, UK

2 Sheffield Centre for Sports Medicine, Sheffield, UK

3 Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry, UK

4 Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

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Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology 2012, 4:32  doi:10.1186/1758-2555-4-32

Published: 10 September 2012



To identify posture types that exist in professional rugby players, and compare them with a population of non-overhead athletes in order to identify possible relationships towards the potential for shoulder injuries.


Observational design Setting: Sports Medicine Clinic Participants: Convenience sample Methodology: Static assessment of posture was carried out in standing, active and passive range of glenohumeral motion, and isometric strength was carried out in accordance with previously recorded protocols.


Nil Outcome Measures: Observational classification of posture, active and passive range of glenohumeral joint range of motion, isometric strength of selected muscle groups, selected muscle flexibility and Hawkins and Neer impingement tests.


There was a significant difference on range of motion between the two groups (0.025–0.000), isometric middle (0.024–0.005), and lower trapezius (0.01–0.001). Conclusion: There were significant differences between strength and flexibility of muscles around the shoulder girdle between professional rugby players and a control group of professional non-overhead athletes.