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Markers of postmatch fatigue in professional Rugby League players
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by C McLellan, D Lovell, Gregory Gass
The aim of the present study was to identify neuromuscular, biochemical, and endocrine markers of fatigue after Rugby League match play. Seventeen elite Rugby League players were monitored for a single match. Peak rate of force development (PRFD), peak power (PP), and peak force (PF) were measured during a countermovement jump (CMJ) on a force plate pre and postmatch play. Saliva and blood samples were collected 24 hours prematch, 30 minutes prematch, 30 minutes postmatch, and then at 24-hour intervals for a period of 120 hours to determine plasma creatine kinase concentration ([CK]) and salivary cortisol concentration ([sCort]). There were significant (p<0.05) decreases in PRFD and PP up to 24 hours postmatch with PF significantly (p<0.05) decreased immediately postmatch. The [sCort] significantly (p<0.05) increased from 24 hours prematch to 30 minutes prematch and up to 24 hours postmatch compared with 24 hours prematch. Plasma [CK] significantly (p<0.05) increased 30 minutes postmatch with a peak occurring 24 hours postmatch and remained elevated above 24 hours prematch for at least 120 hours postmatch. There were significant (p<0.05) correlations between the increase in [CK] and reduction in PRFD 30 minutes postmatch and 24 hours postmatch. The [sCort] was significantly (p<0.05) correlated with the reduction in PF 30 minutes postmatch. Results demonstrate that neuromuscular function is compromised for up to 48 hours after match play. Elevated [CK] despite 120-hour recovery indicate that damage to muscle tissue after Rugby League match play may persist for at least 5 days postmatch. Despite the prolonged presence of elevated [CK] postmatch, strength training 48 hours postmatch may have resulted in a compensatory increase in PRFD supporting the inclusion of strength training during the short-term postmatch recovery period.