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The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not ice hockey players were at risk for non-contact hip injuries in comparison with other sports. The researchers decided to investigate and examine the differences in range of motion and patterns of strength primarily in the hip complex between hockey players and soccer players. The authors and orchestrators intended to observe these differences by comparing the hockey players and soccer players and their dominant and non-dominant legs through a series of exercises to determine if there was a significant correlation.
This study had a test group of 24 male subjects all 21 years of age minus or plus a year. Out of the 24 subjects 16 were hockey players and 8 were soccer players, all subjects were roughly 183.3 cm plus or minus 7.3 cm tall, weight of subjects ranged from 74.9-84.9 kg. Subjects were required to have played at least one season of the designated sports either ice hockey or soccer and been injury free for the past three months before testing. Other requirements for participation included refraining from alcohol for 24 hours preceding testing as well as other substances.
Before starting the experiment “height and mass were taken as part of the screening process, accompanied with total limb length measured from the anterosuperior iliac spine to 2.54 cm above the lateral malleolus. Lower limb length was also taken measuring from the head of the fibula to 2.54 cm above lateral malleolus and anterosuperior iliac spine to 1 inch above the knee joint,” this was done to convert manual muscle testing into Nm/kg. Lastly participants did a 5 minute standardized submaximal ergometer warm up at 50 rpm before the experiment was started. The study was a case control design all subjects completed at least one experimental trial. The design consisted of the range of motion assessment, strength assessment, and a test for leg dominance. The range of motion assessment consisted of 1 allotted familiarization movement and 3 experimental movements meaning participants were allowed a test run of the movement before any data was actually recorded. Range of motion movements consisted of “hip adduction, abduction, flexion in sitting and lying, extension, and internal and external rotation.” The strength assessment was similar as it allowed a familiarization movement and then recorded 5 experimental movements. As for the test to determine leg dominance participants were asked to kick a ball and whichever foot they kicked the ball with was the dominate leg. The range of motion was measured using a standard Gollehon extendable goniometer, strength was tested “using the break force method using a handheld dynamometer” which allowed strength to be measured in Newtons then converted to Nm/kg. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 19, a software package used for statistical analysis and then a mixed model ANOVA was utilized to inspect interaction between hockey and soccer and dominate and non-dominate legs between athletes, as well as the differences between legs and sports for range of motion and strength. There was no training program used in this study.
As for the results of this study in regards to range of motion there was an acknowledgeable connection between sport and leg dominance. Specifically, in range of motion in adduction, basically Ice Hockey players had a greater hip adduction and range of motion in their dominant leg than Soccer players but displayed less range of motion in external rotation than the Soccer players, that was all for between sports in range of motion. But there was “also main effect differences between the legs of athletes regardless of sport. The Dom leg always displayed greater ROM in FS” which is flexion in sitting and the non-dominant leg showed greater range of motion in flexion when laying down and in internal rotation.
The results for strength showed “there was a significant interaction effect for sport and leg dominance for strength in adduction”. Ice Hockey participants had less strength in there non-dominate leg than dominate leg during adduction and less when compared to Soccer participants. Overall Ice Hockey participants had less hip-adduction strength than Soccer participants, and lastly there was a difference between the dominate and non-dominate leg adduction: abduction ratio in both sports the dominate leg showed a higher and more equal ratio.
Findings from this study suggest that Ice Hockey players may show an at risk profile for non-contact hip injuries, this can be concluded from previous literature and also when comparing tests results against soccer players. When compared Ice Hockey players showed a greater weakness in range of motion and strength in the hip area against Soccer players. The results can be connected easily when the specific demands of Ice hockey stride are considered, as during the skating stride hip adductors and flexors act as stabilizers. It was also acknowledged in the findings of the study that prior injury has less effect on strength but rather suggest that “hip-muscle injury risk depends on a pattern of muscle weakness across multiple movements”, meaning that the repetitive movements weaken muscle in certain areas. The last major conclusion to this study is that high loading patterns placed on the hip adductors used to slow down, mixed with high external forces placed on the hip when skating in stride may cause a strength deficit which is “relative and also more damaging and predisposing to injury”. The results of this study help to give insight to hip-muscle injury causes, allowing for identification of at risk players who can benefit from injury prevention techniques. Further head way with the subject of hip complex injuries would require more in depth studies with players who have been determined at risk and also the involvement of sport scientists in training and strength programs aimed at the hip complex of Ice Hockey players.
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