The aim of this study was to investigate the value of magnetic resonance (MR) quantitative analysis (MR-T2 mapping technique) for the evaluation of eccentric exercise-induced skeletal muscle injury. We established an animal model of eccentric exercise-induced damage of Sprague Dawley rat skeletal muscle and evaluated the animals by MR imaging, determined the serum levels of fast skeletal troponin (fsTnI), and examined muscle histopathology, at 0, 1, 2, 4, and 7 days after eccentric exercise. The associations between MR imaging findings, and histopathological and laboratory results were evaluated. T2-weighted images (WIs) of quadriceps femoris muscles showed obvious high signal intensities after exercise, and the T2 values and serum fsTnI levels continued to increase, peaking at day 2 after exercise, p< 0.05. The histopathological findings in muscle specimens, which included swollen and ruptured cells, enlarged extracellular spaces, inflammation, and regeneration of muscle fibers, showed similar trends. After day 2, muscle specimens began to show evidence of self-repair, the T2WI signals decreased in intensity, and the T2 values and serum fsTnI levels decreased; however, at day 7 post injury, the values remained slightly higher than those in the control animals, p< 0.05. The T2 value was significantly correlated with the serum fsTnI level (r = 0.896, p< 0.01). T2 mapping technology accurately reflects the histopathological and fsTnI abnormalities and the degree of skeletal muscle damage associated with eccentric exercise followed by recovery. Because T2 mapping technology is noninvasive and can be quantitatively analyzed, it might become the preferred method for performing the diagnosis of eccentric exercise-induced skeletal muscle injury. Copyright © 2019 The Association of University Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.