The discovery could be worth a fortune to football codes, with hamstring strain injuries accounting for most non-contact injuries in Australian rules football, football and rugby union, as well as track events like sprinting.
Using an innovative field device, a research team led by Dr Anthony Shield, from QUT’s School — Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, and former QUT PhD student, Dr David Opar, now at the Australian Catholic University, measured the eccentric hamstring strength of more than 200 AFL players from five professional clubs.
The in-demand device, the only portable ‘machine’ in the world capable of measuring strength during the Nordic hamstring curl, has attracted attention from some of the world’s biggest sporting teams, including French football giants Paris Saint-Germain and several top English Premier League sides, and National Football League teams in the United States.
The researchers found that higher levels of eccentric hamstring strength in pre-season could dramatically reduce a player’s chances of suffering a hamstring injury during the season.
The results have been e-published in leading sports medicine journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and accepted for publication in an upcoming print edition.
“We showed, for the first time, that hamstring injury risk can be quantified by measuring an athlete’s hamstring strength when they’re performing the Nordic hamstring curl exercise,” Dr Shield said.