Neuromuscular and Endocrine Responses of Elite Players to an Australian Rules Football Match
Computing, Health and Science
Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Purpose: To examine the acute and short-term responses of variables obtained during a single countermovement jump (CMJ1); repeated countermovement jump involving 5 consecutive efforts without a pause (CMJ5); and cortisol, testosterone, and testosterone-to-cortisol ratio (T:C) to an elite Australian Rules Football (ARF) match with a view to determining which variables may be most useful for ongoing monitoring. Methods: Twenty-two elite ARF players participating in a preseason cup match performed a CMJ1 and a CMJ5 and provided saliva samples 48 h before the match (48pre), prematch (Pre), postmatch, 24 h post (24post), 72 h post (72post), 96 h post (96post), and 120 h post (120post). The magnitude of change in variables at each time point compared with Pre and 48pre was analyzed using the effect size (ES) statistic. Results: A substantial decrement in the pre- to postmatch comparison occurred in the ratio of CMJ1 Flight time:Contraction time (ES -0.65 ± 0.28). Cortisol (ES 2.34 ± 1.06) and T:C (ES -0.52 ± 0.42) displayed large pre- to postmatch changes. The response of countermovement variables at 24post and beyond compared with prematch and 48pre was varied, with only CMJ1 Flight time:Contraction time displaying a substantial decrease (ES -0.32 ± 0.26) postmatch compared with 48pre. Cortisol displayed a clear pattern of response with substantial elevations up to 24post compared with Pre and 48pre. Conclusion: CMJ1 Flight time:Contraction time appears to be the most useful variable for monitoring neuromuscular status in elite ARF players due to its substantial change compared with 48pre and prematch. Monitoring cortisol, due to its predictable pattern of response, may provide a useful measure of hormonal status.