French, D. M., Kraemer, W. J., VanHeest, J. L., Sharman, M. J., Gomex, A. L., Rubin, M. R., Ratamess, N. A., volek, J. S., Scheett, T. P., Howard, R., Martin, G. J., Anderson, J., & Maresh, C. M. (2003). Physiological damage and stress of a competitive NCAA Division I football Games. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5), Supplement abstract 1774.

Football players (N = 28) were studied before and after a late-season football game to examine the extent of physiological damage and stress.

Creatine kinase was elevated before the game and the value soon after the game was higher than before or two days after the game. No significant changes in testosterone or cortisol were observed. Starters and non-starters were similar on all variables.

Although the creatine kinase levels suggested some degree of tissue damage, the minimal hormonal stress responses suggests the players are somewhat "contact adapted". This implies the potential for injury could lessen as the season progresses which might be a result of the accumulated effects of sport-specific training.

Implication. Football players appear to be more resilient to injury and tissue damage late in the season. [One could assert that the NCAA restriction on the amount of practice that can be experienced before the first game predisposes athletes to injury. It is only later in the season that sufficient practice effects have been experienced when the stress of competition is lessened.]

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