First Advisor

Gary Brodowicz

Date of Publication

Summer 8-25-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Studies


Community Health




Women softball players -- Wounds and injuries, Women volleyball players -- Wounds and injuries, Posture, Pain, Sports injuries, College athletes -- Wounds and injuries



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 37 pages)


Participation in athletics is a popular pastime and form of entertainment. Children often begin to specialize in one sport at a young age in an effort to excel, which increases physical stress and the potential for injuries. Athletes participating in overhead sports are at increased risk of upper body chronic injuries, in part because the shoulder is an unstable hypermobile joint. Posture may also be affected in these athletes because of the demands placed on the upper body. The purpose of this study was to measure the upper body posture in a sample of Division I collegiate volleyball and softball athletes to investigate the prevalence of postural abnormalities and their relationship to pain or injury.

Twenty-one Division I collegiate female athletes (seven volleyball; fourteen softball) who participated in their sport during the fall 2014 to spring 2015 seasons were studied. Athletes completed a pain and injury questionnaire, after which individual upper body posture measurements were made. Measurements included resting bilateral scapula position, head position, and shoulder position. An iPad mini camera was used with a commercial application (PostureCo, Inc.) to perform a photographic plumb line posture assessment with photographs taken in anterior, posterior, and lateral views.

Posture analysis revealed a high prevalence (85.7 %) of forward head posture in this sample. Forward shoulder was noted in 42.9 % of the athletes and abnormal horizontal scapula position appeared to occur more frequently in the dominant arm (71.4 %) than in the non-dominant arm (47.6 %). Chi square tests determined that there was no statistically significant relationship between posture abnormalities and self-reported pain in this group of athletes. Results of this study -- although preliminary -- should be used to inform future research to investigate potential relationships between posture and pain/injury in overhead athletes.


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