High Chronic Training Loads and Exposure to Bouts of Maximal Velocity Running Reduce Injury Risk in Elite Gaelic Football

Malone S., Roe M., Doran D.A., Gabbett T.J., Collins K.

To examine the relationship between chronic training loads, number of exposures to maximal velocity, the distance covered at maximal velocity, percentage of maximal velocity in training and match-play, and subsequent injury risk in elite Gaelic footballers.

Prospective cohort design.

Thirty-seven elite Gaelic footballers from one elite squad were involved in a one-season study. Training and game loads (session-RPE multiplied by duration in minutes) were recorded in conjunction with external match and training loads (using global positioning system technology) to measure the distance covered at maximal velocity, relative maximal velocity, and the number of player exposures to maximal velocity across weekly periods during the season. Lower limb injuries were also recorded. Training load and GPS data were modeled against injury data using logistic regression. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated based on chronic training load status, relative maximal velocity, and number of exposures to maximal velocity with these reported against the lowest reference group for these variables.

Players who produced over 95% maximal velocity on at least one occasion within training environments had a lower risk of injury compared to the reference group of 85% maximal velocity on at least one occasion (OR: 0.12, p = 0.001). Higher chronic training loads (≥4750AU) allowed players to tolerate increased distances (between 90 to 120 meters) and exposures to maximal velocity (between 10 to 15 exposures), with these exposures having a protective effect compared to lower exposures (OR: 0.22, p = 0.026) and distance (OR = 0.23, p = 0.055).

Players who had higher chronic training loads (≥4750AU) tolerated increased distances and exposures to maximal velocity when compared to players exposed to low chronic training loads (≤4750AU). Under- and over-exposure of players to maximal velocity events (represented by a U-shaped curve) increased the risk of injury.

View this research