Sensory organisation and reactive balance control of amateur rugby players: A cross-sectional study

Chi Ching CHOW, Wai Yee Joanne CHUNG, Wai Wing Ada MA, Duncan James MACFARLANE, Shirley Siu Ming FONG

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Purpose: This study compared the sensory organisation and reactive balance control of amateur rugby players and a control group. Methods: Forty-one amateur rugby players (22 males: 19 females; mean height ± SD = 168.8 ± 8.8 cm; mean weight ± SD = 63.9 ± 12.5 kg) and 31 control participants (22 males: 9 females; mean height ± SD = 171.5 ± 10.3 cm; mean weight ± SD = 63.8 ± 10.3 kg) completed the study. Their sensory organisation and standing balance performance were evaluated using a sensory organisation test (SOT), and their reactive balance performance was quantified using a motor control test (MCT). The SOT equilibrium scores (ES) and sensory ratios and the MCT motor response latencies were the major outcome measures. Results: The results revealed that compared to the controls, amateur rugby players had lower SOT ESs under different sensory environments (P < .001, Ƞ²p  = 0.142–0.254) and prolonged reactive motor response times in the MCT (P < .001, d = 0.890). The vestibular and visual ratios were also lower in the rugby group (P = .005, Ƞ²p  = 0.107 and 0.108, respectively). No significant difference was found in the somatosensory ratio (P = .853, Ƞ²p < 0.001) between the two groups. Conclusions: Amateur rugby players demonstrated inferior standing balance performance compared to their non-trained counterparts. They relied less heavily on vestibular and visual inputs to maintain standing balance under different sensory environments. In addition, they reacted more slowly to postural disturbance, reflecting their suboptimal reactive balance ability in standing. Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-406
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number4
Early online dateNov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017



Chow, G. C. C., Chung, J. W. Y., Ma, A. W. W., Macfarlane, D. J., & Fong, S. S. M. (2017). Sensory organisation and reactive balance control of amateur rugby players: A cross-sectional study. European Journal of Sport Science, 17(4), 400-406.


  • Rugby
  • Postural control
  • Sensory organization
  • Motor control