Comparison of Inflammatory Responses to a Soccer Match Between Elite Male and Female Players


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Abstract

Souglis, AG, Papapanagiotou, A, Bogdanis, GC, Travlos, AK, Apostolidis, NG, and Geladas, ND. Comparison of inflammatory responses to a soccer match between elite male and female players. J Strength Cond Res 29(5): 1227–1233, 2015—The aim of this study was to compare the inflammatory responses between male and female soccer players for a period of 48 hours after an official match. Blood samples were taken from 83 subjects (22 elite male and 21 elite female soccer players and 20 male and 20 female inactive individuals) in the morning of the game day, immediately after the soccer game and 24 and 48 hours after the match. Average relative exercise intensity during the match was similar in male and female players, as indicated by mean heart rate that was 86.9 ± 4.3 and 85.6 ± 2.3% of maximal heart rate (p = 0.23), respectively. Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) increased 2- to 4-fold above resting values, peaking immediately after the match. C-reactive protein (CRP) and creatine kinase peaked 24 hours after the match. Interleukin 6, CRP, and creatine kinase responses were similar in male and female players, but the peak in TNF-α was 18% higher in male players. Interleukin 6, TNF-α, and CRP at rest were lower in male and female players compared with the control subjects, suggesting a protective effect of regular exercise training regarding the inflammatory profile. The results of this study show that a soccer match induces significant inflammatory responses in both male and female players, with only TNF-α peak values being lower in females. Because of the effects of inflammatory responses on performance and health of the players, it is suggested that coaches and trainers should adjust exercise training programs after a match to promote recovery and protect the athletes' health.

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