Gleeson, M., McDonald, W. A., Cripps, A. W., Pyne, D. B., Clancy, R. L., & Fricker, P. A. (1995). The effect on immunity of long-term intensive training in elite swimmers. Clinical Experimental Immunology, 102, 210-216.

The immunological characteristics of elite swimmers were studied over a 7-month training season in preparation for national championships. A non-training control group was used for comparison.

It was found that both systemic and mucosal immunity was suppressed in the swimmers. This confirms the general reduction in other-stress tolerance that is a phenomenon associated with intense specific stress adaptation.

Implication. Hard-training athletes have increased susceptibility to infection which should always be of concern to athletes and coaches. However, it should be seriously considered particularly at times of major competitions.

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