Extensive Monitoring Through Multiple Blood Samples in Professional Soccer Players


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Abstract

Heisterberg, MF, Fahrenkrug, J, Krustrup, P, Storskov, A, Kjær, M, and Andersen, JL. Extensive monitoring through multiple blood samples in professional soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 27(5): 1260–1271, 2013—The aim of this study was to make a comprehensive gathering of consecutive detailed blood samples from professional soccer players and to analyze different blood parameters in relation to seasonal changes in training and match exposure. Blood samples were collected 5 times during a 6-month period and analyzed for 37 variables in 27 professional soccer players from the best Danish league. Additionally, the players were tested for body composition, V[Combining Dot Above]O2max and physical performance by the Yo-Yo intermittent endurance submax test (IE2). Multiple variations in blood parameters occurred during the observation period, including a decrease in hemoglobin and an increase in hematocrit as the competitive season progressed. Iron and transferrin were stable, whereas ferritin showed a decrease at the end of the season. The immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgM increased in the period with basal physical training and at the end of the season. Leucocytes decreased with increased physical training. Lymphocytes decreased at the end of the season. The V[Combining Dot Above]O2max decreased toward the end of the season, whereas no significant changes were observed in the IE2 test. The regular blood samples from elite soccer players reveal significant changes that may be related to changes in training pattern, match exposure, or length of the match season. Especially the end of the preparation season and at the end of the competitive season seem to be time points were the blood-derived values indicate that the players are under excessive physical strain and might be more subjected to a possible overreaching-overtraining conditions. We suggest that regular analyses of blood samples could be an important initiative to optimize training adaptation, training load, and game participation, but sampling has to be regular, and a database has to be built for each individual player.

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