Hamstring strain often occurs when an opponent unanticipatedly perturbs an athlete’s movements. We examined the neuromuscular responses of hamstring and trunk muscles during unanticipated trunk perturbations in athletes with and without a history of hamstring strain injury. Male college athletes (11 with a history of a unilateral hamstring injury and 10 without prior injury) knelt while wearing a chest harness attached to a cable that was pulled backward. They were instructed to resist the force isometrically and maintain their position when the perturbations were applied. The pressure was released with or without a cue (CUE or NoCUE). We measured trunk acceleration, three-dimensional kinematic data, and surface electromyography (EMG) signals of the erector spinae, internal oblique, gluteus maximus, biceps femoris long head, and semitendinosus muscles. Maximum trunk acceleration and displacement were greater with NoCUE in both groups (p < 0.05). EMG amplitude did not differ after perturbation of any investigated muscle. The injured group demonstrated a delayed onset of the gluteus maximus and erector spinae muscles in NoCUE versus CUE stimuli (p < 0.05). Athletes with a history of hamstring strain injury exhibited a reduced neuromuscular coordination of the lumbopelvic muscles in response to unanticipated trunk movement.
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