Serum Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein Levels in Collegiate Soccer Athletes over the Duration of an Athletic Season: A Pilot Study

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Objective:The primary objective of this study was to measure serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (sCOMP) levels weekly in a group of collegiate soccer athletes over the duration of a spring soccer season and 2 weeks following the conclusion of the season while documenting minutes of exercise participation as a measure of exercise intensity.Design:A repeated-measures study design was employed. A volunteer sample of 6 female soccer athletes participated in this study. Serum samples were collected on 10 separate occasions, 1 week prior to the start of the season (baseline), once a week during the 8-week season (PX1-PX8), and once a week for 2 weeks following the conclusion of the season (postseason; PS1 and PS2). Minutes of participation were documented following all spring soccer activities for each week. Once all samples were collected, sCOMP concentrations were determined using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.Results:The results of Friedman test revealed a significant effect for time (P = 0.003). Post hoc analysis revealed no significant differences between baseline and practice or postseason levels. A qualitative analysis of the sCOMP levels and minutes indicated higher sCOMP levels occurred when the athletes’ participation in soccer-related activities was higher.Conclusions:Qualitatively, our findings suggest that as minutes of participation increased, sCOMP levels increased. However, no statistically significant differences were identified. We speculate these increases were an increase in cartilage turnover and an interesting observation related to increases in physical activity. However, the implications are unclear as there was a return to near baseline levels.

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