Latest research in football - week 3 - 2014

Latest research in football

As previous literature updates, we have performed a PubCrawler search looking for football articles in NCBI Medline (PubMed) and GenBank databases.

Following studies were retrieved for this week:



#1 Changes in the lipid profile of elite basketball and soccer players after a match
Authors: Apostolidis N, Bogdanis GC, Kostopoulos N, Souglis A, Papadopoulos Ch.
Reference: Res Sports Med. 2014 Jan-Mar;22(1):100-10. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2013.852095.
Summary:  The lipid profile of elite basketball and soccer athletes was evaluated and compared with that of inactive individuals. Total cholesterol (T-C), low and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C and HDL-C), and triglyceride (TG) concentration were measured in the morning and after a soccer or a basketball match. All parameters of lipid profile measured at a fasted and resting state, except HDL-C, were lower in the athletes compared with the controls (p < 0.01). The soccer match resulted in a greater decrease in TG (78.3 ± 6.7 to 70.7 ± 6.3, p < 0.01), T-C (179.3 ± 10.7 to 171.6 ± 9.6, p < 0.01), LDL-C (110.9 ± 8.9 to 103.5 ± 7.5, p < 0.01) compared with the basketball match that resulted only in a decrease in LDL-C (126.8 ± 9.5 to 117.3 ± 9.1, p < 0.01) and an increase in HDL-C that was similar to that observed after the soccer match (9-12%). These findings support the beneficial effects of basketball and soccer on cardiovascular health.


#2 A new method for comparing rankings through complex networks: Model and analysis of competitiveness of major European soccer leagues
Authors: Criado R, García E, Pedroche F, Romance M.
Reference: Chaos. 2013 Dec;23(4):043114.
Summary: In this paper, we show a new technique to analyze families of rankings. In particular, we focus on sports rankings and, more precisely, on soccer leagues. We consider that two teams compete when they change their relative positions in consecutive rankings. This allows to define a graph by linking teams that compete. We show how to use some structural properties of this competitivity graph to measure to what extend the teams in a league compete. These structural properties are the mean degree, the mean strength, and the clustering coefficient. We give a generalization of the Kendall's correlation coefficient to more than two rankings. We also show how to make a dynamic analysis of a league and how to compare different leagues. We apply this technique to analyze the four major European soccer leagues: Bundesliga, Italian Lega, Spanish Liga, and Premier League. We compare our results with the classical analysis of sport ranking based on measures of competitive balance.

#3 An evaluation of the levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) and bone turnover markers in professional football players and in physically inactive men
Authors: Solarz K, Kopeć A, Pietraszewska J, Majda F, Słowińska-Lisowska M, Mędraś M.
Reference: Physiol Res. 2014 Jan 8. [Epub ahead of print]
Summary: Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin during exposure to sunlight and its fundamental roles are the regulation of calcium and phosphate metabolism and bone mineralisation. The aim of our study was to evaluate serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3), PTH and bone turnover markers (P1NP, OC, beta-CTx, OC/beta-CTx) and the intake of calcium and vitamin D in Polish Professional Football League (Ekstraklasa) players and in young men with a low level of physical activity. Fifty healthy men aged 19 to 34 years were included in the study. We showed that 25(OH)D(3) and P1NP levels and OC/beta-CTx were higher in the group of professional football players than in the group of physically inactive men. The daily vitamin D and calcium intake in the group of professional football players was also higher. We showed a significant relationship between 25(OH)D(3) levels and body mass, body cell mass, total body water, fat-free mass, muscle mass, vitamin D and calcium intake. Optimum 25(OH)D(3) levels were observed in a mere 16.7% of the football players and vitamin D deficiency was observed in the physically inactive men. The level of physical activity, body composition, calcium and vitamin D intake and the duration of exposure to sunlight may significantly affect serum levels of 25(OH)D(3).

#4 Relationships between strength, sprint, and jump performance in well-trained youth soccer players
Authors: Comfort P, Stewart A, Bloom L, Clarkson B.
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jan;28(1):173-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318291b8c7.
Summary: Research has demonstrated a clear relationship between absolute and relative strength and sprint and jump performance in adult athletes; however, this relationship in younger athletes has been less extensively studied. The aim of this study, therefore, was to determine the relationships between strength, sprint, and jump performances in well-trained youth soccer players. Thirty-four young male soccer players (17.2 ± 0.6 years; body mass, 72.62 ± 7.42 kg; height, 179.27 ± 6.58 cm) performed a predicted maximal squat test, 20-m sprints, squat jumps (SJs), and countermovement jumps (CMJs). Absolute strength showed the strongest correlations with 5-m sprint times (r = -0.596, p < 0.001, power = 0.99), SJ height (r = 0.762, p < 0.001, power = 1.00), and CMJ height (r = 0.760, p < 0.001, power = 1.00), whereas relative strength demonstrated the strongest correlation with 20-m sprint times (r = -0.672, p < 0.001, power = 0.99). The results of this study illustrate the importance of developing high levels of lower-body strength to enhance sprint and jump performance in youth soccer players, with stronger athletes demonstrating superior sprint and jump performances.

#5 Static stretching can impair explosive performance for at least 24 hours
Authors: Haddad M, Dridi A, Chtara M, Chaouachi A, Wong del P, Behm D, Chamari K.
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jan;28(1):140-6. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182964836.
Summary: The aim of this study was to compare the effects of static vs. dynamic stretching (DS) on explosive performances and repeated sprint ability (RSA) after a 24-hour delay. Sixteen young male soccer players performed 15 minutes of static stretching (SS), DS, or a no-stretch control condition (CC) 24 hours before performing explosive performances and RSA tests. This was a within-subject repeated measures study with SS, DS, and CC being counterbalanced. Stretching protocols included 2 sets of 7 minutes 30 seconds (2 repetitions of 30 seconds with a 15-second passive recovery) for 5 muscle groups (quadriceps, hamstring, calves, adductors, and hip flexors). Twenty-four hours later (without any kind of stretching in warm-up), the players were tested for the 30-m sprint test (with 10- and 20-m lap times), 5 jump test (5JT), and RSA test. Significant differences were observed between CC, SS, and DS with 5JT (F = 9.99, p < 0.00, effect size [ES] = 0.40), 10-m sprint time (F = 46.52, p < 0.00, ES = 0.76), 20-m sprint time (F = 18.44, p < 0.000, ES = 0.55), and 30-m sprint time (F = 34.25, p < 0.000, ES = 0.70). The significantly better performance (p < 0.05) was observed after DS as compared with that after CC and SS in 5JT, and sprint times for 10, 20, and 30 m. In contrast, significantly worse performance (p < 0.05) was observed after SS as compared with that after CC in 5JT, and sprint times for 10, 20, and 30 m. With RSA, no significant difference was observed between different stretching protocols in the total time (F = 1.55, p > 0.05), average time (F = 1.53, p > 0.05), and fastest time (F = 2.30, p > 0.05), except for the decline index (F = 3.54, p < 0.04, ES = 0.19). Therefore, the SS of the lower limbs and hip muscles had a negative effect on explosive performances up to 24 hours poststretching with no major effects on the RSA. Conversely, the DS of the same muscle groups are highly recommended 24 hours before performing sprint and long-jump performances. In conclusion, the positive effects of DS on explosive performances seem to persist for 24 hours.

#6 The acute effect of whole body vibration on repeated shuttle-running in young soccer players
Authors: Padulo J, Di Giminiani R, Ibba G, Zarrouk N, Moalla W, Attene G, M Migliaccio G, Pizzolato F, Bishop D, Chamari K.
Reference: Int J Sports Med. 2014 Jan;35(1):49-54. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1345171. Epub 2013 Jun 18.
Summary: The aim of this study was to investigate the acute effects of whole-body vibration (WBV) on Repeated Sprint Ability (RSA). Seventeen male soccer players (16.71±0.47 y) performed three RSA tests (Randomized crossover study design). The second RSA test was done with WBV (RSA2) to assess the effect of WBV. The studied variables were: best time (BT), worst time (WT), total time (TT), the fatigue index (FI) of RSA, and post-test blood lactate (BLa). ANOVA with repeated measures showed no differences between RSA1 and RSA3, while there were significant differences in all variables studied. TT= [RSA2 0.93% and 1.68% lower than RSA1 and RSA3 respectively; p<0.05], BLa= [RSA2 16.97% and 14.73% greater than RSA1 and RSA3 respectively; p<0.001], WT= [RSA2 1.90% and 2.93% lower than RSA1 and RSA3 respectively; p<0.01], and FI = [RSA2 30.64% and 40.15% lower than RSA1 and RSA3 respectively; p<0.0001]. When comparing individual sprints, WBV showed a significant effect at the 5th sprint: RSA2 2.29 % and 2.95% lower than RSA1 and RSA3 respectively (p<0.005), while at the 6th sprint: RSA2 2.75% and 4.09% lower than RSA1 and RSA3 respectively; p<0.005. In conclusion, when applying WBV during the recovery periods of Repeated Sprint Ability efforts, most of the performance variables improved.

#7 Progression of Mechanical Properties during On-field Sprint Running after Returning to Sports from a Hamstring Muscle Injury in Soccer Players
Reference: Int J Sports Med. 2014 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Mendiguchia J, Samozino P, Martinez-Ruiz E, Brughelli M, Schmikli S, Morin JB, Mendez-Villanueva A
Summary: The objectives of this study were to examine the consequences of an acute hamstring injury on performance and mechanical properties of sprint-running at the time of returning to sports and after the subsequent ~2 months of regular soccer training after return. 28 semi-professional male soccer players, 14 with a recent history of unilateral hamstring injury and 14 without prior injury, participated in the study. All players performed two 50-m maximal sprints when cleared to return to play (Test 1), and 11 injured players performed the same sprint test about 2 months after returning to play (Test 2). Sprint performance (i. e., speed) was measured via a radar gun and used to derive linear horizontal force-velocity relationships from which the following variables obtained: theoretical maximal velocity (V 0 ), horizontal force (F H0 ) and horizontal power (Pmax). Upon returning to sports the injured players were moderately slower compared to the uninjured players. F H0 and Pmax were also substantially lower in the injured players. At Test 2, the injured players showed a very likely increase in F H0 and Pmax concomitant with improvements in early acceleration performance. Practitioners should consider assessing and training horizontal force production during sprint running after acute hamstring injuries in soccer players before they return to sports.

#8 "Decisions, decisions, decisions": transfer and specificity of decision-making skill between sports
Authors: Causer J, Ford PR.
Reference: Cogn Process. 2014 Jan 11. [Epub ahead of print]
Summary: The concept of transfer of learning holds that previous practice or experience in one task or domain will enable successful performance in another related task or domain. In contrast, specificity of learning holds that previous practice or experience in one task or domain does not transfer to other related tasks or domains. The aim of the current study is to examine whether decision-making skill transfers between sports that share similar elements, or whether it is specific to a sport. Participants (n = 205) completed a video-based temporal occlusion decision-making test in which they were required to decide on which action to execute across a series of 4 versus 4 soccer game situations. A sport engagement questionnaire was used to identify 106 soccer players, 43 other invasion sport players and 58 other sport players. Positive transfer of decision-making skill occurred between soccer and other invasion sports, which are related and have similar elements, but not from volleyball, supporting the concept of transfer of learning.

#9 Evaluation of the Match Performances of Substitution Players in Elite Soccer
Authors: Bradley PS, Lago-Peñas C, Rey E.
Reference: Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2014 Jan 10. [Epub ahead of print]
Summary: To evaluate match performances of substitute players using different research designs. English Premier League matches were analysed using a multiple-camera system. Two research designs were adopted: (1) An independent measures analysis comparing the match performance characteristics of players completing the entire match (n=810) versus substitutes (n=286) and the players they replaced (n=286) and (2) A repeated measures analysis comparing the same players completing full matches versus those in which they were introduced as a substitute (n=94). Most substitutions (P<0.05) occurred at half time and between the 60-85 min versus all first half periods and the remaining second half periods (Effect Size [ES]: 0.85-1.21). These substitutions become more (P<0.01) offensive in relation to the positions introduced as the half progressed (ES: 0.93-1.37). Independent measures analysis indicated that high-intensity running was greater (P<0.01) in substitutes compared to players who either completed the entire match or were replaced (ES: 0.28-0.67) but no differences were evident for pass completion rates (ES: 0.01-0.02). Repeated measures analysis highlighted that players covered more (P<0.01) high-intensity running when they were introduced as a substitute compared to the equivalent period of the second but not the first half period (ES: 0.21-0.47). Both research designs indicated that attackers covered more (P<0.05) high-intensity running than peers or their own performances when completing the entire match (ES: 0.45-0.71). Substitutes cover greater high-intensity running distance, this was particularly evident in attackers but pass completion rates did not differ for any position. This information could be beneficial to coaches regarding optimising the match running performances of their players but much more work needs to be undertaken to investigate the overall impact of substitutes (physical, technical indicators and contribution to key moments of matches).


#10 Soccer Boots Elevate Plantar Pressures in Elite Male Soccer Professionals
Authors: Carl HD, Pauser J, Swoboda B Prof, Jendrissek A, Brem M.
Reference: Clin J Sport Med. 2014 Jan;24(1):58-61.
Summary: The present study measured the difference in peak plantar pressure between running shoes and soccer shoes in male soccer professionals [mean (SD): age, 23 (4) years; height, 184 (7) cm; weight, 81 (6) kg]. A total of 17 elite male soccer professionals [mean (SD): age, 23 (4) years; height, 184 (7) cm; weight 81 (6) kg]. Fifteen right and left steps with sensor-loaded insoles (99 sensors, 50 Hz) while running (3.3 m/s) in running shoes and then chosen soccer shoes (12-stud profile). The players were equipped with running shoes from the supplier without any medical supervision. Changes of peak plantar pressure for 9 defined foot portions between soccer boots and running shoes for used as data measurements. A statistically significant increase of peak plantar pressure was found for the lateral midfoot (P < 0.001 for preferred and nonpreferred foot), the first metatarsal head (preferred foot: P < 0.001, nonpreferred foot: P = 0.002), the metatarsal heads 4/5 (preferred foot: P = 0.001, nonpreferred foot: P = 0.002), and the big toe (preferred foot: P = 0.001, nonpreferred foot: P < 0.001), but not for the lateral and medial hindfoot, the medial midfoot, and lesser toes. In running, soccer boots generate excessive foot loadings predominantly under the lateral midfoot, as compared with running shoes. Players should be trained with a thoughtfully designed workout regimen that allows performing as many straight running exercises as possible in running shoes instead of soccer boots. This may help to prevent fifth metatarsal stress fractures in elite male soccer players.

#11 Injuries among spanish male amateur soccer players: a retrospective population study
Authors: Herrero H, Salinero JJ, Del Coso J.
Reference: Am J Sports Med. 2014 Jan;42(1):78-85. doi: 10.1177/0363546513507767. Epub 2013 Oct 17.
Summary: Soccer is the most popular sport worldwide, with about 265 million players, both professionals and amateurs. Most research investigating soccer injuries has focused on professional players because they have greater exposure time, but most soccer players are at the recreational level. To undertake a retrospective epidemiological study of the injuries sustained in Spanish amateur soccer during the 2010-2011 season. Any injuries incurred by the 134,570 recreational soccer players (aged 18-55 years) registered with the Spanish Football Federation were reported to the federation's medical staff. A standardized medical questionnaire, based on the Fédération International de Football Association (FIFA) Medical and Research Centre (F-MARC) consensus for collection procedures in studies of soccer injuries, was used to classify the injury according to type, severity, location, and treatment. A total of 15,243 injuries were reported, with an average of 0.11 injuries per player and per year. From the total number of injuries, 67.2% were classified as injuries that resulted in time loss, while the remaining 32.7% were injuries that required medical attention. Most injuries led to a minimum of 1 competitive match being missed (87%), and only 2.5% were recurrent injuries. The rate of injuries per 1000 hours of play was double during games (1.15/1000 hours) compared with during training (0.49/1000 hours). From the total number of injuries reported, 7.7% corresponded to goalkeepers, 24.2% to forwards, 33.8% to defenders, and 34.3% to midfielders. The knee (29.9%) and ankle joints (12.4%) were the most common body locations injured, while ligament sprains and ruptures accounted for 32.1% of the total injuries attended. Older amateur players (age ≥30 years) had a greater number of injuries per year and per 1000 hours of play than their younger counterparts. The risk of injury in amateur soccer is lower than that previously reported in professional players. The most common complaints in amateur players are knee ligament injuries. Further research is needed to investigate ways of reducing the incidence of injuries in amateur soccer.

#12 Young male soccer players exhibit additional bone mineral acquisition during the peripubertal period: 1-year longitudinal study
Authors: Zouch M, Vico L, Frere D, Tabka Z, Alexandre C.

Reference: Eur J Pediatr. 2014 Jan;173(1):53-61. doi: 10.1007/s00431-013-2115-3. Epub 2013 Aug 7.
Summary: The aim of this study was to determine whether soccer could have different bone benefits in prepubescent and pubescent boys. We investigated 76 boys aged 10 to 13 years during a 1-year study. All boys were prepubescent at the beginning of the study (T0); pubescent status was determined by a complete 24-h urine hormonal assay of FSH-LH, with LH ≤ 0.31 IU/24 h and FSH ≤ 2.19 IU/24 h corresponding to prepubescent Tanner stage I and with 0.31 < LH < 0.95 IU/24 h and 1.57 < FSH < 3.77 IU/24 h corresponding to pubescent Tanner stage II. At the end of the study (T1), 35 boys remained prepubescent (22 soccer players (F1) and 13 controls (C1)), and 41 boys had entered puberty (26 soccer players (F2) and 15 controls (C2)). Soccer players completed 2 to 5 h of training plus one competition game per week during the school year, and controls only had physical education at school. Bone mineral content (BMC) was measured at T0 and T1 by DPX in the lumbar spine, total hip, and whole body (WB) for a comparison between soccer players and controls. At T0, no BMC difference was found between F1 and C1, but BMC was higher in F2 than C2 in WB and weight-bearing sites. At T1, BMC was higher in WB and weight-bearing sites in both F1 and F2 compared to their respective controls. Between T0 and T1, soccer induced a BMC gain at weight-bearing sites in both F1 and F2 compared to C1 and C2, respectively. The soccer-related bone gain was greater in WB and weight-bearing (the lumbar spine, total hip, and supporting leg) and non-weight-bearing bones (dominant arm and nondominant arm) in boys who became pubescent than in boys who remained prepubescent. In conclusion, 1-year study in young male soccer players demonstrates that the process of bone accretion at the very early phase of puberty is more intensely stimulated by the combination of physical exercise and sexual impregnation than by one of these factors alone.

#13 The incidence and nature of injuries sustained on grass and 3rd generation artificial turf: A pilot study in elite Saudi National Team footballers
Authors: Almutawa M1, Scott M2, George KP2, Drust B3.

Reference: Phys Ther Sport. 2014 Feb;15(1):47-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2013.02.004. Epub 2013 Jun 21.
Summary: To compare the incidence, severity and nature of injuries sustained by Saudi National Team footballers during match-play and training on natural grass and 3rd generation (3G) artificial turf. Injury data was collected on all Saudi National Team players competing at the Gulf Cup (Yemen December 2010: 3G) and the Asian Cup (Qatar January 2011; grass). A total of 49 players were studied (mean ± SD; Age 27 ± 4 yr; body mass 71.4 ± 6.7 kg; height 176.8 ± 6.3 cm; professional playing experience 9 ± 3 yr) of which 31 competed at the Gulf Cup, 32 at the Asian Cup (14 at both). A prospective cohort design was used to investigate the incidence, nature and severity of injuries sustained with data collected using a standardised injury questionnaire. All data were collected by the team physiotherapist with the definition of injury set at any injury that required player and clinician contact. Injury and exposure data were collected and reported for games, training and all football activity. A total of 82 injuries [incidence - 56.1 per 1000 h total game and training exposure] were recorded at the Asian Cup (grass) and 72 injuries [incidence - 37.9 per 1000 h total game and training exposure] were recorded at the Gulf Cup (3G). Incidence data for training, game and all football exposure injury rates were higher when playing on grass. The vast majority of injuries on both surfaces were very minor that, whilst requiring medical attention, did not result in loss of match/training exposure. Injuries that resulted in 1-3 days absence from training or game play had similar incidence rates (Grass: 7.4 vs. 3G: 7.4 injuries per 1000 h exposure). More severe injuries were less frequent but with a higher incidence when playing on grass. Lower limb injuries were the most common in both tournaments with a higher incidence on grass (Grass: 14.2 vs. 3G: 7.9 injuries per 1000 h exposure). Muscle injuries were the most frequent of all injuries with similar incidence rates on both surfaces (Grass: 5.4 vs. 3G: 4.7 injuries per 1000 h exposure). Injuries that involved player contact were also more common on grass (Grass: 11.5 vs. 3G: 3.2 injuries per 1000 h exposure). Whether reporting all injuries or just those that prevented players from taking part in training or match play, injury incidence rates were generally higher when Saudi National Team footballers played on grass than on 3G artificial surface. Although this is a small study, the unique quasi-repeated measures study design with elite Saudi National Team footballers, adds to the current belief that 3G artificial turf does not increase injury risk in football.

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