Upper body anthropometrical differences amongst participants of asymmetrical (fast bowlers in cricket) and symmetrical (crawl stroke swimmers) sport and sedentary individuals in South Africa
Grobbelaar, Heinrich Wilhelm
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The prevalence of morphological asymmetry amongst sport participants and sedentary individuals has been well documented. The importance of studies in this field is accentuated by the fact that morphological asymmetry has a negative effect on the health and performance of elite athletes. The purpose of this study was, therefore, firstly to determine whether significant differences for thirty five anthropometrical measurements exist between the dominant and nondominant sides of male (n = 16) and female (n = 11) crawl stroke swimmers. Dependent t-tests were used for this purpose. All of the measurements were taken twice on both the dominant and nondominant sides of the body, according to the methods described by Norton et al. (1996). Amongst the male swimmers, the (relaxed-, tensed- and corrected-) upper arm girths, wrist girth, thigh girth and lower leg length showed statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences. Amongst the female swimmers statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences were found for the thigh girth, upper leg length and foot length. The second purpose was to compare the indices of morphological asymmetry of twenty upper body anthropometrical variables of the male swimmers to that of male fast bowlers (n = 27) and aged-matched sedentary males (n = 27). This comparison was done using an ANOVA with Tukey post hoc tests. The indices of morphological asymmetry were determined with Wolaiiski's Relative Indices of Asymmetry (RIA). The RIA for the twenty upper body measurements for the three groups in this comparison are also reported. Statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences were found for the (relaxed, tensed and corrected) upper arm girths and halfchest girth when the fast bowlers were compared to the male swimmers as well as for the comparison between the fast bowlers and the sedentary individuals. A statistically significant (p < 0.05) difference was also found for the hand length between the fast bowlers and the sedentary individuals. To conclude, all four of the measured groups showed indices of morphological asymmetry for certain anthropometrical variables, with the fast bowlers showing the highest indices and the swimmers showing the lowest indices of morphological asymmetry. These results support the notion that swimming may have preventive and therapeutic value for athletes who show a high degree of morphological asymmetry due to participation in unilateral sport types. Further research is, however, required.
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