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Body composition asymmetries in university ice hockey players and their implications for lower back pain and lower limb injury

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Introduction: Right to left asymmetries in body composition has been examined across many sports, suggesting possible implications for lower back pain (LBP) and decreased level performance. However, we are not aware of any study that has examined the presence and implications of morphological asymmetries in ice hockey players. The purpose of this study was to 1) investigate body composition asymmetries in female and male university level ice hockey players and 2) examine whether the degree of body composition asymmetry is associated with the history of LBP and lower leg injury (LLI).

Methods: A total of 32 players (female=18, male=14) were included in this cross-sectional (e.g., university research center setting). Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) was used to acquire body composition measurements. The parameters of interest included bone mass, lean body mass and fat mass, for the right and left sides and body segments (e.g. arm, leg, trunk, total), separately. History of LBP and LLI was obtained using a self-reported demographic questionnaire.

Results: Our findings revealed significant side-to-side asymmetry in arm and total bone mass in females, with higher values on the right side. Both males and females also had significantly greater trunk lean body mass on the left side. With the exception of greater arm bone mass asymmetry being associated with LBP in the past 3-months, there was no other significant association between the degree of asymmetry with LBP and LLI. Conclusion: The present study provides novel data regarding the presence of laterality in body composition in university level ice hockey players.


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