Radiographic findings of femoroacetabular impingement in National Football League Combine athletes undergoing radiographs for previous hip or groin pain

Arthroscopy. 2012 Oct;28(10):1396-403. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of radiographic findings of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) in elite football players with a history of hip pain or groin injury who underwent radiographs.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of athletes undergoing hip radiography at the National Football League Combine from 2007 to 2009. Radiographs were obtained in athletes with a history of hip pain or injury. Anteroposterior pelvis and frog-lateral radiographs were obtained in 123 hips (107 players) that met our inclusion criteria. Radiographic indicators of cam-type FAI (alpha angle, head-neck offset ratio) and pincer-type FAI (acetabular retroversion, center-edge angle, acetabular inclination) were recorded. Findings were correlated with clinical factors (previous groin/hip pain, position, race, and body mass index).

Results: The most common previous injuries included groin strain (n = 57) and sports hernia/abdominal strain (n = 21). Markers of cam- and/or pincer-type FAI were present in 94.3% of hips (116 of 123). Radiographic evidence of combined cam- and pincer-type FAI was the most common (61.8%, 76 hips), whereas isolated cam-type FAI (9.8%, 12 hips) and pincer-type FAI (22.8%, 28 hips) were less common. The most common deformities included acetabular retroversion (71.5%) and an abnormal alpha angle (61.8%). A body mass index greater than 35 was associated with the presence of global overcoverage (46.2% v 17.3%, P = .025).

Conclusions: Radiographic indicators of FAI are very common among athletes evaluated at the National Football League Scouting Combine subjected to radiographic examination for the clinical suspicion of hip disease. Elite football athletes with significant or recurrent pain about the hip should be evaluated clinically and radiographically for FAI, because pain from FAI may be falsely attributed to or may be present in addition to other disorders.

Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic case series.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Femoracetabular Impingement / diagnostic imaging*
  • Football / injuries*
  • Groin
  • Hip
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult