It has been demonstrated that expertise in sport influences standing balance ability. However, little is known concerning how physical contact in sport affects balance ability. The aim of this study was to examine whether differences between contact and limited-contact sport experiences results in differences in postural control. Twenty male collegiate athletes (10 soccer/contact, 10 baseball/limited contact) and ten male untrained students stood quietly on a force plate under various bipedal and unipedal conditions, with and without vision. Significant differences for sway area and COP speed were found between the soccer players and the other two groups for unipedal stances without vision. Soccer players were found to have superior postural control compared with participants involved in limited contact sport or no sport at all. Contact sports may lead to increased postural control through enhanced use of proprioceptive and vestibular information.
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