Hydration and Fluid Replacement Knowledge, Attitudes, Barriers, and Behaviors of NCAA Division 1 American Football Players

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Judge, LW, Kumley, RF, Bellar, DM, Pike, KL, Pierson, EE, Weidner, T, Pearson, D, and Friesen, CA. Hydration and fluid replacement knowledge, attitudes, barriers, and behaviors of NCAA Division 1 American football players. J Strength Cond Res 30(11): 2972–2978, 2016—Hydration is an important part of athletic performance, and understanding athletes' hydration knowledge, attitudes, barriers, and behaviors is critical for sport practitioners. The aim of this study was to assess National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 (D1) American football players, with regard to hydration and fluid intake before, during, and after exercise, and to apply this assessment to their overall hydration practice. The sample consisted of 100 student-athletes from 2 different NCAA D1 universities, who participated in voluntary summer football conditioning. Participants completed a survey to identify the fluid and hydration knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, demographic data, primary football position, previous nutrition education, and barriers to adequate fluid consumption. The average Hydration Knowledge Score (HKS) for the participants in the present study was 11.8 ± 1.9 (69.4% correct), with scores ranging from 42 to 100% correct. Four key misunderstandings regarding hydration, specifically related to intervals of hydration habits among the study subjects, were revealed. Only 24% of the players reported drinking enough fluids before, during, immediately after, and 2 hours after practice. Generalized linear model analysis predicted the outcome variable HKS (χ2 = 28.001, p = 0.045), with nutrition education (Wald χ2 = 8.250, p = 0.041) and position on the football team (χ2 = 9.361, p = 0.025) being significant predictors. “Backs” (e.g., quarterbacks, running backs, and defensive backs) demonstrated significantly higher hydration knowledge than “Linemen” (p = 0.014). Findings indicated that if changes are not made to increase hydration awareness levels among football teams, serious health consequences, including potential fatalities, could occur on the field, especially among heavier linemen.

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