Cervical joint position sense in rugby players versus non-rugby players

Phys Ther Sport. 2010 May;11(2):66-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Mar 15.


Objective: To determine whether cervical joint position sense is modified by intensive rugby practice.

Design: A group-comparison study.

Setting: University Medical Bioengineering Laboratory.

Participants: Twenty young elite rugby players (10 forwards and 10 backs) and 10 young non-rugby elite sports players.

Interventions: Participants were asked to perform the cervicocephalic relocation test (CRT) to the neutral head position (NHP) that is, to reposition their head on their trunk, as accurately as possible, after full active left and right cervical rotation. Rugby players were asked to perform the CRT to NHP before and after a training session.

Main outcome measurements: Absolute and variable errors were used to assess accuracy and consistency of the repositioning for the three groups of Forwards, Backs and Non-rugby players, respectively.

Results: The 2 groups of Forwards and Backs exhibited higher absolute and variable errors than the group of Non-rugby players. No difference was found between the two groups of Forwards and Backs and no difference was found between Before and After the training session.

Conclusions: The cervical joint position sense of young elite rugby players is altered compared to that of non-rugby players. Furthermore, Forwards and Backs demonstrated comparable repositioning errors before and after a specific training session, suggesting that cervical proprioceptive alteration is mainly due to tackling and not the scrum.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Football / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Young Adult