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Clin Sports Med. 1984 Jan;3(1):185-97.

The profiling of professional football players.


We examined one professional football team over the course of the 1979 season in an attempt to divide the team into four basic positional categories of Line, TE-LB, OB, and DB-WR. Numerous significant differences could be found between these groups with regard to speed, anthropometric data, strength, and performance tests. This indicates a great deal of homogeneity by position within the professional football roster. We then employed a statistical treatment called "discriminant analysis," which, based upon combinations of four variables (two for size, one for fat, one for strength), could place each player into his position with a very high degree of accuracy. This has important implications for selection of players when they make the transition from college to professional football. Finally, we again employed discriminant analysis within the positions, adding variables of muscle deficits, injury history, and playing time and were able to rank players into either the injured or noninjured categories. These equations had a sensitivity of 93.7 per cent and specificity of 96.1 per cent, with the overall injury rate of 38 per cent. This indicates that some characteristics may abet injury. The discriminant analysis allows for selection of variables to statistically profile the football player. This technique addresses the multiple factors that contribute to the success or injury of the player and should be of use in profiling any sport, especially on the professional level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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