A Novel Method of Assessment for Monitoring Neuromuscular Fatigue Within Australian Rules Football Players

Garrett, J., Graham, S.R., Eston, R.G., Burgess, D.J., Garrett, L.J., Jakeman, J., Norton, K.

Purpose: To compare the sensitivity of a submaximal run test (SRT) with a countermovement
jump (CMJ) test to provide an alternate method of measuring neuromuscular fatigue (NMF) in
high performance sport. Methods: 23 professional and semi-professional Australian rules football (ARF) players, performed a SRT and CMJ test, pre-match, 48- and 96-hours post-
match. Variables from accelerometers recorded during the SRT were; player load 1D up (PL1Dup) (vertical vector); player load 1D side (PL1Dside) (medio-lateral vector); and playerload 1D forward (PL1Dfwd) (anterio-posterior vector). Meaningful difference was examined through magnitude-based inferences (effect-size; ES), with reliability assessed as typical error of measurements expressed as coefficient of variance (CV). Results: A small decrease in CMJH; ES -0.43  0.39 (likely) was observed 48 hours post-match before returning to baseline 96 hours post-match. This was accompanied by corresponding moderate decreases in the SRT variables; PL1Dup; ES -0.60  0.51 (likely) and PL1Dside; ES -0.74  0.57 (likely) 48 hours post-match before also returning to pre-match baseline. Conclusion: The results suggest that in the presence of NMF, players utilise an alternative running profile to produce the same external output (i.e. time). This supports changes in accelerometer variables during a SRT can be used as an alternate method of measuring NMF in high performance ARF and provides a flexible option for monitoring changes within the recovery phase post-match.

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