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1993 Publications

Cross Sectional Study of Age-Related Musculoskeletal and Physiological Changes in Soccer Playersby Malachy P. McHugh, MA., Gilbert W. Gleim, Ph.D., S. Peter Magnusson, P.T., and James A. Nicholas M.D.Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, Lenox Hill Hospital, 130 East 77th Street, New York, NY 10021. - last modified 2013-02-09 00:00
Med Exerc Nutr Health 1993;2:261-268


The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to compare specific musculoskeletal and physiological variables in soccer players differing in age. Subjects from three teams were studied: Group 1 (n = 8) was a college team, age = 20.5 +/- 0.7 years; Group 2 (n = 8) was an amateur team, age = 26.4 +/- 0.7 years; Group 3 (n = 8) was over-30s team, age = 35.3 +/- 1.5 years.

Each subject completed a series of tests measuring aerobic capacity, anaerobic power, body composition, lower-extremity strength, musculoskeletal flexibility, and balance in single-limb stance. Significant between-group differences were found for all variables, with the exception of aerobic capacity.

Group 3 was significantly heavier than Group 2 and Group 1 and had significantly greater percent body fat than Group 2. Group 3 had significantly less knee extension/flexion strength, mean anaerobic power, and a longer time out of balance in single-limb stance than Group 2 and Group 1. Group 3 also had significantly less lumbar flexion and hip rotation flexibility than Group 1. Group 2 had significantly less knee extension strength than Group 1.

Continued participation in competitive soccer beyond the age of 30 years was associated with an aerobic capacity comparable to younger players.

However, marked knee extension and flexion weakness, decreased anaerobic power, lumbar flexion, and hip rotation tightness and balance deficits were noted in the older players.