RESEARCH SUMMARY: Eccentric hamstring strength and hamstring injury risk in Australian footballers (Opar et al., 2014)

Research SummaryLast Updated:

Title: Eccentric hamstring strength and hamstring injury risk in Australian footballers

Author/s: Opar (@davidopar), Williams (@drmorgs), Timmins (@ryan_timmins), Hickey (@JackHickey89), Duhig (@duhigs), Shield (@das_shield)

Year: 2014

Journal: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (ISSN: 0195-9131)

Question: Does eccentric weakness put AFL Players at greater risk of hamstring strain injury?

Key Takeaway: High levels of eccentric strength correlated with significantly lower risk of hamstring strain injury, and somewhat mitigated non-modifiable risk factors such as age and previous injury.


Summary: Are eccentric hamstring strength and/or between-limb imbalance in eccentric strength, measured during the Nordic hamstring exercise, risk factors for hamstring strain injury (HSI) in Elite Athlete Players? 210 players from 5 AFL clubs had their eccentric strength assessed on the NordBord and were followed during preseason training and the subsequent season.

Key Findings:

  • Twenty-eight hamstring strain injuries were recorded from a cohort of 210 elite Australian Rules footballers.
  • Low levels of eccentric hamstring strength at the start (<256N) and end (<279N) of preseason were associated with an increased risk of hamstring strain injury (2.7-fold relative risk and 4.3-fold relative risk respectively), but a between limb imbalance in strength of greater than 10% was not.
  • Older players and previously injured players with high levels of eccentric strength had significantly less risk of re-injury than those with lower levels of strength


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