May 2015

Back pain, core weakness predict risk of sprains, strains in college football

In the moment: Sports medicine

By P.K. Daniel

Mild low back dysfunction and poor core muscle endurance are modifiable predictors of core and lower extremity sprains and strains in college football, according to a study from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that analyzed three seasons of data.

In the cohort study, 152 football players underwent mandatory physicals for three straight years prior to the start of preseason practice.

Having at least two of the three risk factors—one or more games as a starter (indicating greater exposure to game conditions), Oswestry Disability Index score equal to or greater than 4, and poor wall-sit-hold performance—predicted core or lower extremity sprain or strain with 56% sensitivity, 80% specificity, an odds ratio of 5.28, and a hazard ratio of 2.97.

The findings, epublished in April by the Journal of Athletic Training, confirm those of a single-season study from the same research group that were published in 2012 by the same journal.


Wilkerson GB, Colston MA. A refined prediction model for core and lower extremity sprains and strains among collegiate football players. J Athl Train 2015 Apr 6. [Epub ahead of print]

Wilkerson GB, Giles JL, Seibel DK. Prediction of core and lower extremity strains and sprains in collegiate football players: A preliminary study. J Athl Train 2012;47(3):264-272.

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