THE EFFECTS OF SPORTS MASSAGE EFFLEURAGE ON HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY IN RUGBY PLAYERS
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of sports massage (effleurage) on hamstring flexibility in rugby players. Previous research has discovered that the majority of time lost on pitch for rugby players was related to the development of hamstring strains. It has been suggested that the focal cause for such injuries was due to poor flexibility of the hamstring muscles. Sports massage is a therapeutic modality that has been proposed to aid in the increase of muscle flexibility through various physiological effects. This study focused on using a sports massage intervention to examine its effect upon the active knee extension test and used the findings to support the use of sports massage as a preventative measure towards injury. This study met the research aims through the implementation of practical research. This was carried out using the active knee extension test to assess hamstring flexibility and the use of sports massage as an intervention protocol. Active knee extension test results were analysed using SPSS software to identify any significant differences between subjects pre and post scores. This research produced a number of key findings: subjects had an average knee displacement angle of 63.17° for pre-test results, whereas it was 76.39° for post-test results. Analysis of the findings demonstrated that the massage intervention had a significant effect on hamstring flexibility in all subjects (t (14) = -7.45, p < 0.05). The main conclusion drawn from this study was that the physiological effect of sports massage in relation to increasing muscle flexibility was fully supported. By supporting its use, it has demonstrated that massage was an effective way to increase hamstring flexibility in rugby players during pre-event situations to reduce the risk of injury occurring to the hamstring muscles and therefore decreasing the time lost on pitch. This research argued that despite the lack of scientific evidence from previous studies, it has been proven that sports massage physically increased hamstring flexibility and that no other external variables could have affected the results. Therefore, the need for sports massage to be integrated into an athlete’s training regime could be extremely beneficial as a modality to reduce injury rates. .
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