Are internal load measures associated with injuries in male adolescent Gaelic football players?
Ní Chéilleachair, Niamh J.
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This study aimed to examine internal loads in male adolescent Gaelic footballers and their association with musculoskeletal injury. Written training diaries were completed by 97 male adolescent Gaelic footballers weekly and injuries, defined as any injury sustained during training or competition causing restricted performance or time lost from play, were assessed by a Certified Athletic Therapist. Daily load was determined for each player (session rating of perceived exertion by session duration) and summed to give weekly load. Univariate and multiple logistic regressions were conducted to determine the association with injury. Twenty-two injuries were recorded with match injuries significantly more common than training injuries. Periodic variations in weekly load and injuries were evident throughout the season. Univariate analysis identified weekly load (OR = 2.75; 95%CI = 1.00-7.59), monotony (OR = 4.17; 95%CI = 1.48-11.72) and absolute change in load (OR = 3.27; 95%CI = 1.15-9.32) greater than the team average were significant injury risk factors. Multiple logistic regression with 2-weekly and 3-weekly cumulative loads, absolute change, monotony, strain, ACWR and age as independent variables identified internal load measures (monotony, strain and absolute change) were associated with injury with high specificity (96.0%) but low sensitivity (25.0%). The findings highlight the need to monitor team and individual loads to avoid sudden week-to-week changes or excessive weekly loads. Open communication between players, parents, coaches and sports medicine clinicians enables effective load monitoring that can reduce injury risk and may subsequently minimise dropout, improve team success and overall sport enjoyment and promote life-long sports participation.
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