USING MOBILE DEVICES TO MONITOR HEALTH AND WELLBEING, IN AND OUT OF COMPETITION, IN ELITE INTERNATIONAL WOMENS SOCCER

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Abstract

Background

In recent years mobile devices (smartphones) have been used to gather subjective and objective international athlete health and wellbeing data via athlete self-report measures (ASRM).

Objective

To implement a system of ASRM in elite women's international soccer players.

Design

Prospective observational study.

Setting

Scotland women's soccer national squad.

Participants

Elite women international soccer players.

Interventions

Players were asked to provide data on a daily basis via a hand held mobile device both during periods of international duty and when with their domestic clubs.

Main Outcome Measurements

ASRM require players to rate their perceived level of fatigue, motivation, stress, sleep quality on a 10 point scale and objective data such as sleep hours, illness/injury and menstrual cycle.

Results

26 international soccer players compiled this data over a period of six months. The adherence rate overall was 48% (home based players 64%, exiles 38%). Strengths of this process include decreased administration time for support staff, quantification of athlete wellbeing providing the ability to analyse this longitudinally and decrease both observer and peer bias. Weaknesses of this form of data collection include poor compliance, unstandardised timing of completion and decreased face-to-face conversations leading to a reduction in the identification of changes to body language.

Conclusions

ASRM have proved an invaluable tool for the quantification of health and wellbeing within the Scottish women's national soccer team. They have provided important initial ‘red flags’ for many illness and injury situations during international and club duty. However, they cannot remove face-to-face wellbeing conversations completely and require practitioners to communicate the results obtained from ASRM for continued athlete buy-in.

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