Changes in Creatine Kinase and Hormones over the Course of an American Football Season
The purpose of this study was to examine changes in creatine kinase and hormones over the course of an entire season of American football. A secondary purpose was to determine differences between starters and non-starters. Fasting blood samples were obtained from nineteen National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I (n = 19; 20 ± 1 years) football athletes over the course of a season beginning prior to the start of summer off-season conditioning (T1), before (T2) and after pre-season (T3) football camp, with remaining samples taken throughout the competitive season (T4-T8). A magnitude-based inference approach was used to define outcomes. Testosterone was higher in starters prior to the start of the season (T1, Effect Size [ES] = 0.8) and during pre-conference (T4; ES = 0.7). Post-Camp (T3) testosterone was lower in all players, though greater in starters (starters, 0.0%/0.3%/99.7%; non-starters, 0.2%/2.9%/96.9%). An increase cortisol relative to baseline (T1) was observed in starters early in season (T4, ES = 0.7; T5, ES = 0.5). Creatine kinase was elevated at all time-points in all athletes, with starters having higher circulating levels throughout season. These data demonstrate that changes in hormonal markers may be experienced over a season of football and differ by playing status. Differences between starters and non-starters may be indicative of greater damage and stress experienced by starters, which may result from a greater number of repetitions.