Muscle Damage, Endocrine, and Immune Marker Response to a Soccer Match

Thorpe R, Sunderland C

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the concurrent changes in muscle damage, endocrine markers, and immune markers in response to a competitive soccer match, providing valuable insights into the physiological responses of semiprofessional soccer players during gameplay.

Methodology: Seven semiprofessional soccer players participated in a competitive league match, during which blood and saliva samples were collected 1 hour before kick-off and immediately post-match. Global positioning system (GPS) equipment was utilized to measure heart rate and activity profile data throughout the match.

Key Findings: The study revealed significant increases in creatine kinase (CK) and myoglobin (MYO) concentrations post-match, indicating muscle damage. Specifically, the percentage increase in CK and MYO concentrations was correlated with the number of sprints performed during the match. Cortisol levels showed a notable increase post-match, while testosterone levels also increased significantly. However, no significant differences were observed in the testosterone to cortisol ratio or in immune markers (IgA, IgM, IgG) pre-match compared to post-match.

Implications: The findings suggest that sprinting during a soccer match may be associated with muscle damage in semiprofessional players, as evidenced by increases in CK and MYO concentrations. Additionally, the observed changes in cortisol and testosterone levels indicate physiological stress and potential adaptations to match demands. Understanding these responses can aid coaches and practitioners in developing appropriate training and recovery strategies to optimize player performance and minimize the risk of injury.

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