Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Cervical Vertebrae; Swimming


The purpose of this study was to establish data on active cervical range of motion for collegiate freestyle swimmers, to determine if training has an effect on cervical range of motion, and to investigate if breathing style influences cervical rotation to the right and left after training. The sample consisted of 29 varsity swim team members from the University of North Dakota (12 females and 17 males) who had participated in experiment IRB-9504-257. This past study was performed at the start of the competitive swim season, and its measurements used as pre-season data. The same CROM device was used to measure cervical rotation in both experiments.

A related-samples t test for matched pairs showed no significant difference in right rotation (p=.5119) and total rotation (p=.0756) with training. A significant increase did occur in left rotation (p=.0211) after training. Following an ANOVA, no significance in cervical range of motion based on breathing style was found (p<.05). However, trends showed increased left cervical rotation in left unilateral breathers after training. It could not be established if increases specific to breathing patterns were significant due to the small sample size of bilateral, right unilateral and left unilateral breathers (n=12, n=14, n=3 respectively). A t-test for independent samples showed no significant differences (p<.05) in cervical range of motion after training based on the gender of the subjects. With these findings, it was speculated that increases in left cervical rotation were a result of training.

Increased values in cervical rotation may identify a swimmer prone to developing musculoskeletal injury. Specific normative values may be indicated when interpreting data of a swimmer who participates at high training levels. Taking these precautions will provide a more accurate diagnosis and give better direction in treatment planning for a swimmer with cervical pathology.