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J Sports Sci. 2003 Mar;21(3):201-11.

Bilateral symmetry and the competitive standard attained in elite and sub-elite sport.

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Computer Simulation Laboratory, School of Health Sciences, The University of South Australia, Holbrooks Road, Underdale, SA 5032, Australia.


Deviations from perfect bilateral symmetry, in a normally symmetric organism, signal a lack of developmental precision. In adult human males, previous studies have shown that symmetry is positively associated with height, body mass and physical performance. In this study, symmetry was measured in adult male athletes from two sports, competing at two different standards. Fifty-two elite and sub-elite Australian male basketballers and soccer players, who regularly competed in the national and state leagues in the 2000-2001 season, participated in the study. All participants underwent anthropometric assessment. Both basketballers and national league athletes in general were significantly taller (P < 0.0001) and heavier (P < 0.001) (and more ectomorphic in the case of basketballers) than their soccer-playing and state league counterparts, respectively. The anthropometric traits were examined further for departures from perfect bilateral symmetry. No significant differences in size-corrected asymmetry were observed between the two competitive standards (P > 0.50), the two sports (P > 0.50) or among any of the competitive standard x sport groups (P > 0.50). Contrary to expectations, we did not find any differences in asymmetry between adult male athletes from two sports (basketball and soccer), competing at two different standards (professional national league and semi-professional state league).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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