Standing balance ability of Japanese collegiate rugby union players with past cervical injuries

Yoshiyuki Imoo, Masahiro Takemura, Takuo Furukawa, Tatsuya Shimasaki, Ryo Ogaki and Shumpei Miyakawa

[Received September 13, 2011 ; Accepted September 4, 2012] 

Rugby players have high incidence of cervical pain or cervical injuries, and therefore might
have impaired standing balance due to accumulated microtrauma in the cervical area. This
study aimed to clarify whether past cervical problems influence the static standing balance
in rugby players. The study included 44 rugby union players (20.7±1.0 years old) from one
university club, who could participate in all competitions and/or training. The players were
divided into two groups by cervical disorder for the past season. The first group consisted of
players who had no cervical injury (no injury group: NI), and the second group consisted of
players who had sustained a cervical injury within the past year (cervical injury group: CI).
All participants were measured for center of foot pressure when standing on both legs, using
a stable computerized force platform. Results showed that CI had greater postural sway in an
anterior direction than NI because rugby players might have altered cervical joint position
sense by accumulated microtrauma of cervical muscles, joints and nerves. However, it was not
clear which mechanisms affected the static standing balance in detail. Further study must be
undertaken to investigate how cervical disorder affects lack of postural control.

Keywords: Standing balance, Rugby, Cervical injuries

[Football Science Vol.10, 1-9, 2013]