Effects of the COVID-19 confinement period on hip strength, flexibility and muscle injury rate in professional soccer players

Demir C., Subasi B., HARPUT G.

PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00913847.2021.1985384
  • Keywords: COVID-19, hip joint, football, hamstring muscle, injury, NORDIC HAMSTRING EXERCISE, PERFORMANCE ADAPTATIONS, FOOTBALL, RISK


Objectives This study aimed to examine the effects of COVID-19 confinement on hamstring eccentric strength, hip adduction-abduction strength, and posterior chain flexibility in professional male soccer players. We also aimed to investigate whether muscle strength and flexibility would change when the players returned to play after COVID-19 confinement. Methods Thirty professional male soccer (Age; 24.9 +/- 4.8 yrs, BMI; 22.7 +/- 1.4 kg/m(2)) players participated in this study. Hamstring eccentric strength, hip abduction-adduction strength and posterior chain flexibility (PCF) were measured before (time 1) and after the home confinement period (time 2) and after return to play (time 3). Repeated measures of ANOVA was used for statistical analysis. Results PCF decreased from time 1 to time 2 (p = 0.005) but it increased from time 2 to time 3 (p = 0.03). Hamstring eccentric strength decreased from time 1 to time 2 for both dominant (p = 0.002) and non-dominant (p = 0.04) limbs and no difference was observed between time 2 and time 3 (p > 0.05). Hip abductor and adductor strength did not change between time 1 and time 2 (p > 0.05) but they increased from time 2 and time 3 in the dominant limb (p < 0.05). Five players (16%) had muscle injuries including hamstrings and adductors when they returned to play. Conclusion This study showed that 8-week COVID-19 confinement had an adverse effect on hamstring eccentric strength and PCF and 3 players had hamstring muscle injuries when they returned to play. Therefore, soccer players can be at risk of hamstring muscle injuries due to long-term detraining. Hip abductor and adductor strength seem not to be negatively affected by 8-week COVID-19 confinement. However, 2 players had adductor strain when they returned to play.