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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 Jul 23

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11206-4


language: English

Understanding the association between external training load measures and injury risk in Elite Gaelic football

Shane MALONE 1, 2 , Kieran COLLINS 1, 2, Allistar McROBERTS 1, Dominic DORAN 1, 2

1 The Tom Reilly Building, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Henry Cotton Campus, Liverpool, UK; 2 Gaelic Sports Research Centre, Department of Science, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland


BACKGROUND: The current investigation examined the association between external training load variables and injury risk within elite Gaelic football.
METHODS: Workload and injury variables were collected from thirty-seven elite Gaelic footballers (mean ± SD age of 24.2 ± 2.9 yr) from one elite squad across a two-season observational period. External training load variables included total distance (m), High speed running (m; ≥17.1 km·h-1), Sprint distance (m; 22 km·h-1), Accelerations (n), Average metabolic power (W·kg-1), high-power distance (m; ≥ 25 W·kg-1). Cumulative 1-weekly, 2-weekly, 3-weekly and 4-Weekly training loads; Acute: Chronic workload ration(ACWR) were analysed across specific distributions of Low, Moderate and High loading with respect to a reference group of the measure quantified. General estimating equations were utilised to understand the association of these variables with injury risk.
RESULTS: Strong associations (AUC> 0.50) were observed amongst models developed for one weekly loading for relative distance, average metabolic power and high-power indices with similar trends observed for two, three and four weekly which showed a strong positive association within injury risk for all external loading metrics (AUC > 0.50), with average metabolic power, and high-power distance showing the strongest association across the three-four week loading scales (AUC > 0.60). When the ACWR was considered for external load measures these showed a positive linear association with injury risk (AUC > 0.50). When intensity measures were considered relative distance showed an associated risk for injury across one and two-weekly models but not three and four weekly models. When odds risk association was considered a consistent trend towards moderate loading across external loading measures was apparent within the observed cohort.
CONCLUSIONS: The current investigation reports for the first time the injury association for external loading measures within elite Gaelic football. Data show that a range of measures are associated with increased or decreased injury risk depending on the loading scheme applied by coaches within elite Gaelic football.

KEY WORDS: Odds ratios; Injury risk; Load monitoring; Team sports; GPS

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