Perceived Wellness Associated with Practice and Competition in NCAA Division I Football Players

Wellman, A.D., Coad, S.C., Flynn, P.J., Siam, T.K., McLellan, C.P.

The present study assessed the influence of movement demands resulting from weekly practice sessions and games, on perceived wellness measurements taken post-game (Sunday) and 48 hours pre-game (Thursday) throughout the in-season period in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I football players. Thirty players were monitored using GPS receivers (Catapult Innovations OptimEye S5, Melbourne, Australia) during 12 games and 24 in-season practices. Movement variables included low-intensity distance, medium-intensity distance, high-intensity distance, sprint distance, total distance, player load, and acceleration and deceleration distance. Perceived wellness, including fatigue, soreness, sleep quality and quantity, stress, and mood, was examined using a questionnaire on a 1-5 Likert scale. Multi-level mixed linear regressions determined the differential effects of movement metrics on perceived wellness. Post-hoc tests were conducted to evaluate the pair-wise differentials of movement and significance for wellness ratings. Notable findings included significantly (p < 0.05) less player load, low-intensity distance, medium-intensity distance, high-intensity distance, total distance, and acceleration and deceleration distance at all intensities, in those reporting more favorable (4-5) ratings of perceived fatigue and soreness on Sunday. Conversely, individuals reporting more favorable Sunday perceived stress ratings demonstrated significantly (p < 0.05) higher player load, low-intensity and medium-intensity distance, total distance, low-intensity and medium-intensity deceleration distance, and acceleration distance at all intensities than individuals reporting less favorable (1-2) perceived stress ratings. Data from the present study provide a novel investigation of perceived wellness associated with college football practice and competition. Results support the use of wellness questionnaires for monitoring perceived wellness in NCAA Division I college football players.

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