Evaluation of the Back-in-Action test Battery In Uninjured High School American Football Players.

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Evaluation of the Back-in-Action test Battery In Uninjured High School American Football Players.

Rohde M, Ruhlemann A, Busch A, Grunwald U, Jaeger M, Mayer C.



Background: Return to sport testing is an established routine, especially for athletes who have ruptured their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Various tests are performed, often combined in test batteries, such as the Back-in-action (BIA) test battery. Unfortunately, pre-injury performance is often unknown, and only few athletes pass the high demands of these test batteries.

Purpose: The aim of the study was to determine the performance of under 18 American football players on the BIA to establish pre-injury sport specific benchmarks for future RTS testing and to compare these values to data from an age-matched reference group.

Methods: Fifty-three healthy male American football players underwent a functional assessment using the “Back-in-action” test battery evaluating agility, speed (Parkour-Jumps and Quick-Feet test), balance (using a PC based balance board), and power (Counter-Movement-Jump [CMJ]) as objective measures. Their results were compared with a previously tested reference group (RP) and within the american football players (AF) through three subgroups according to field playing position.

Results: Overall, the American football (AF) athletes showed lower balance scores for both legs (AF: 3.71/3.57/3.61; RP: 3.4/3.2/3.2; p<0.002) compared to the reference population (RP). CMJ height and Quick-Feet results were not statistically different (p>0.05), Parkour-Jump times (AF: 8.18/ 8.13 sec.; RP: 5.9/5.9sec.; p<0.001) were significantly slower. Power output in all CMJ’s (AF: 46.86/36.94/37.36 W/kg; RP: 43.2/29.5/29 W/kg; p<0.001) was significantly higher than the RP. Passing and running game involved players (G2 & G3) showed significantly better balance scores (G2+G3: 3.36/3.27/3.33; G1: 4.22/4.06/4.10; p<0.001), higher jump height (G2&G3: 38.87/24.02/24.96 cm; G1: 32.03/19.50/18.96 cm; p<0.001) and more watts/kg (G2&G3: 48.83/37.21/37.64 W/kg; G1: 43.95/36.88/36.53 W/kg; p<0.001) compared to blocking players like Linemen (G1) and to the age matched reference population (RP).

Conclusion: Only 53% of the healthy athletes would have been cleared for sport using the BIA test criteria, which highlights the challenging passing criteria. Despite significantly greater power measurements, scores of balance and agility were poorer compared to the reference group, especially for linemen. These data may serve as sport and position specific reference for high school American football players, instead of using the non-specific reference group data.

Study Design: Cross-sectional Study

Level of Evidence: IIb