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Eccentric Hamstring Muscle Strength during Home Confinement Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Football Competition Resumption in Professional Football Referees: A Prospective Observational Study

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Sports Research Center, Miguel Hernandez University of Elche, 03202 Alicante, Spain
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Center for Translational Research in Physiotherapy, Department of Pathology and Surgery, Miguel Hernandez University of Elche, 03202 Elche, Spain
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Physical Therapy Department, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, 08017 Barcelona, Spain
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FC Barcelona Second Team, Sport Performance Area, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
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reQ, Return to Play and Sports Training Center, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
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FC Barcelona First Team, Sport Performance Area, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
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Faculty of Sport Sciences, Universidad Europea de Madrid, 28670 Madrid, Spain
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Comité Técnico de Árbitros (CTA), Real Federación Española de Fútbol, 28230 Las Rozas, Spain
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Centre for Sport Studies, Rey Juan Carlos University, 28943 Fuenlabrada, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Filipe Manuel Clemente and Adilson Marques
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9737; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189737
Received: 29 July 2021 / Revised: 8 September 2021 / Accepted: 10 September 2021 / Published: 15 September 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a major disruption for professional football leagues that has affected the physical preparation of both football players and referees. In Spain, health authorities decreed home confinement for eight weeks, supressing the normal training routines of professional referees. After home confinement, referees had four weeks to retrain as the national football league was set to resume matches to complete the 11 games remaining. The aim of the present investigation was to assess changes in eccentric hamstring muscle strength during football competition suspension/resumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 21 professional football referees (mean ± SD, age: 33.4 ± 5.1 years; height: 182.4 ± 5.0 cm; body mass: 75.1 ± 4.4 kg). Eccentric hamstring muscle strength was measured with the Nordic hamstring exercise at four time points. During home confinement, referees presented the lowest value of bilateral eccentric muscle strength (300 ± 14 N). Eccentric muscle strength increased by 13.2 ± 3.7% one week after the end of home confinement (339 ± 16 N; p = 0.001, effect size (ES) = 2.8) and remained stable before the first match (343 ± 17 N; p = 0.001, ES = 3.1) and after the end of the national league (328 ± 13 N; p = 0.001, ES = 2.0). In summary, home confinement produced detraining effects in professional football referees associated with hamstring muscle weakness. In this regard, strength-based activities with body loads may be insufficient to avoid muscle weakness and other means (e.g., weights) may be necessary to maintain muscle strength. However, the 4-weeks retraining period was sufficient to resolve hamstring muscle weakness induced by the restrictions of home confinement. This information may be helpful in the case of future sport competition suspension or home quarantine due to new waves of COVID-19 pandemic. View Full-Text
Keywords: strength; injury risk; muscle performance; exercise performance; muscle weakness strength; injury risk; muscle performance; exercise performance; muscle weakness
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MDPI and ACS Style

Moreno-Pérez, V.; Madruga-Parera, M.; Romero-Rodríguez, D.; Sanchéz-Sanchéz, J.; Felipe, J.L.; Marcè-Hernández, L.; Recasens-Sarrà, E.; Del Coso, J. Eccentric Hamstring Muscle Strength during Home Confinement Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Football Competition Resumption in Professional Football Referees: A Prospective Observational Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9737. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189737

AMA Style

Moreno-Pérez V, Madruga-Parera M, Romero-Rodríguez D, Sanchéz-Sanchéz J, Felipe JL, Marcè-Hernández L, Recasens-Sarrà E, Del Coso J. Eccentric Hamstring Muscle Strength during Home Confinement Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Football Competition Resumption in Professional Football Referees: A Prospective Observational Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(18):9737. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189737

Chicago/Turabian Style

Moreno-Pérez, Víctor, Marc Madruga-Parera, Daniel Romero-Rodríguez, Javier Sanchéz-Sanchéz, José L. Felipe, Lluis Marcè-Hernández, Eudald Recasens-Sarrà, and Juan Del Coso. 2021. "Eccentric Hamstring Muscle Strength during Home Confinement Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Football Competition Resumption in Professional Football Referees: A Prospective Observational Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 18: 9737. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189737

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