Abstract: Background: Hamstring injuries are common in Gaelic football and have been associated with reduced flexibility in other sports. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between lower-limb-flexibility and previous hamstring injury in male Gaelic footballers as this has not been previously investigated. Methods: Eighteen male club-level Gaelic footballers (9 previously injured, 9 non-injured) underwent four different muscle length tests bilaterally, using standard goniometry or a tape measure. Hamstring muscle length was measured using the passive-knee-extension test. Gastrocnemius muscle length was measured using the dorsi-flexion lunge test. Iliopsoas and rectus femoris muscle lengths were measured using the modified Thomas test. Results: Hamstring and gastrocnemius flexibility were significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the non-injured limb compared to the injured limb in the injured group. There were no significant differences in flexibility (p > 0.05) for any of the other named muscle groups for within-subject or between subject comparisons. Conclusion: This group of Gaelic footballers with a history of hamstring injury who had returned to full sporting participation demonstrated significantly reduced hamstring and gastrocnemius flexibility of their injured limb when compared to their non-injured limb. The retrospective study design did not allow for interpretation of whether these changes were present before or after injury. Prospective research on a larger sample size is needed to examine the association of lower limb flexibility and hamstring injury further.
Keywords: Flexibility, Hamstring Injury, Gaelic football