HCBE Faculty Articles


Jeffrey J. Fountain0000-0002-2557-6511


Peter Finley0000-0003-1947-513X


Thomas Wuerzer0000-0002-8290-3785

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The Sport Journal



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Purpose: This article explored the changing body sizes of high school football linemen recruited to play for “Power 5” schools between 2003 and 2020 when factoring in the position group. This study also allowed for a cross-sectional analysis to explore body size differences within and between “Power 5” conferences. Methods: The dataset contained 7,428 linemen, and a cross-sectional design was used to examine position and conference affiliation related to the differences in height, weight, and Body Mass Index over three time periods. Statistical analysis was conducted using nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis H tests and post-hoc analysis with Bonferroni correction for pairwise comparisons. Results: The results showed that while height did not significantly change, weight continued to increase, particularly among defensive tackles, offensive centers, and guards. Conclusions: In some “Power 5” conferences, the number of linemen recruits weighing more than 300 pounds had more than doubled over this period. This adds to the player obesity discussion and the systematic issues that allow linemen to continue to play at weight levels categorized as obese, with little apparent regard for the risk of injury or long-term health implications. Application in Sport: College football decision-makers will be able to use the results of this study to demonstrate a need for new health protocols and policies that reduce the number of obese and significantly overweight linemen.



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