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Ergonomics. 2005 Sep 15-Nov 15;48(11-14):1462-72.

Regional placement of bone mineral mass, fat mass, and lean soft tissue mass in young adult rugby union players.

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University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Cyncoed, Cardiff CF23 6XD, UK.


The purpose of the present study was to ascertain whether differences existed in the regional placement of bone mineral mass (BMM), fat mass (FM) and lean soft tissue mass (LSTM) between playing units in Rugby Union Football and between players and control subjects. Thirty young adult rugby players and 21 controls participated in the study. Players were assigned to groups as either forwards (n = 15) or backs (n = 15). Control subjects were matched (n = 15) to rugby players using the mean BMI of forwards and backs. BMM, FM and LSTM were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The digital image of each subject was partitioned into regional anatomical segments comprising the head, right and left arms, trunk, and right and left legs. Measurements were summed for the arms and legs respectively. One-way ANOVA was used to differentiate between- and within-groups; Tukey's post-hoc test was applied to identify pairwise differences. The alpha level was set throughout at p = 0.01. Principal components analysis was utilized to contrast the regional segments of each tissue in each of the groups. Forwards exhibited larger absolute (kg) amounts of BMM, FM and LSTM than backs or controls. In relative terms (%) there were no significant differences in BMM(%) between forwards, backs and controls in the arms and legs, but differences did occur between backs and controls at the trunk (2.9 vs. 2.5%). Backs had a significantly larger LSTM(%) than forwards at the arms (84.4 vs. 76.5%), legs (80.0 vs. 71.9%) and trunk (89.2 vs. 79.0%), whereas forwards had a greater FM(%) than backs at the arms (18.7 vs. 10.6%), legs (23.1 vs. 14.7%), and trunk (18.4 vs. 8.0%). The distribution of BMM showed a lower body-upper body contrast in forwards, a trunk-extremity contrast in backs and an arm-lower body contrast in controls. FM exhibited a trunk-extremity contrast in all three groups, while LSTM displayed an arm-lower body contrast in all three groups. It is concluded that there are significant regional tissue differences between forwards and backs, which may be related to playing function, and also differences between rugby players and controls.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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