Latest research in football - week 46 - 2023

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


Following studies were retrieved for this week:

#1 Hamstring muscle fibre typology is not associated with hamstring strain injury history or performance in amateur male soccer players: a retrospective magnetic resonance spectroscopy study

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1177-1186. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.126663. Epub 2023 May 31.

Authors: Joke Schuermans, Erik Witvrouw, Evi Wezenbeek, Eline Lievens

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Summary: Hamstring strain injuries (HSI) are still the most common injuries in soccer. Recent research has been focusing on the role of hamstring muscle morphology and architecture. The hamstring's fibre type composition might play a role as well, but this has never been investigated in the light of HSI risk in an athletic population. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between hamstring muscle fibre type, hamstring strain injury history (HSIH), performance and isokinetic strength in a population of amateur male soccer players. In this cross-sectional observational study, 44 male soccer players (22 with and 22 without HSIH) participated. The research consisted of a non-invasive fibre composition evaluation using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS), functional performance (evaluated by means of maximal jumping height, maximal sprinting speed and hamstring muscle strength endurance (single leg hamstring bridge testing)), and isokinetic strength testing. The results revealed that hamstring carnosine concentration demonstrated a high inter-individual variability within this soccer population and was not significantly associated with either HSIH or with any of the functional performance parameters. The only secondary outcome measure presenting a significant association with the intramuscular carnosine content was the hamstrings' explosive strength production capacity, objectified by means of the time to peak torque (TPT), measured concentrically at an angular velocity of 240 degrees/second (°/s) during isokinetic strength testing. This TPT was significantly shorter in players presenting higher carnosine concentrations (p = 0.044). The findings indicate that in male amateur soccer players (1) the hamstrings have no distinct fibre type dominance and (2) fibre typology in this population does not relate to HSIH or performance.



#2 Match running performance characterizing the most elite soccer match-play

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):949-958. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.124847. Epub 2023 Feb 3.

Authors: Toni Modric, Sime Versic, Ryland Morgans, Damir Sekulic

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Summary: In order to identify match running performance (MRP) characterizing the most elite soccer match-play, this study aimed to examine position-specific differences in the MRP of players competing in "big five" (BFLTs) and "non-big five" league teams (N-BFLTs). The data were obtained from 24 teams (BFLTs; n = 14, N-BFLTs; n = 10) during the UEFA Champions League (UCL) matches (n = 20) in the 2020/21 season using a semiautomatic video system. The differences in MRP between BFLTs and N-BFLTs, while controlling for contextual factors, were examined using linear mixed model. No differences in overall MRP between fullbacks, central midfielders, wide midfielders and forwards from BFLTs and their peers from N-BFLTs were found, while only central defenders from BFLTs covered more high-intensity running than central defenders from BFLTs (moderate effects size). For players on all playing positions from BFLTs, total- and low-intensity distance covered were lower in offensive phase of game and greater in defensive phase of game compared to their peers from N-BFLTs (all large effect sizes). This study demonstrated that the most elite match-play in soccer is characterized by increased efforts in defensive phase of game, and decreased efforts in offensive phase of game. Soccer training programmes should be adapted accordingly.



#3 Physical qualities and body composition predictors of running performance in national level women's official soccer matches

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1187-1195. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.118026. Epub 2022 Sep 15.

Authors: Eero H J Savolainen, Tomi Vänttinen, Johanna K Ihalainen, Simon Walker

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Summary: The purpose of the study was to (1) determine match running performance, anthropometry and various physical qualities of national level women soccer players and (2) identify key physical qualities and anthropometric predictors of match running profile during a competitive season. Twenty-five national level Finnish soccer players participated in the study. Players performed countermovement jump, loaded squat jumps, 30-meter sprint, maximum isokinetic knee flexor and extensor contractions, an incremental treadmill test and underwent body composition assessment in the lab. Match running performance was analyzed from 115 match observations during competitive league matches over 11 weeks after the laboratory tests. Pearson's correlation was used to determine bivariate relationships between match running variables and physical qualities and anthropometric variables. Identified significant bivariate relationships were then entered into multiple regression analyses to identify the best predictors of match running performance. Physical qualities and anthropometric variables predicted 65% of very high-intensity (VHIR) (> 19 km/h) and 63% of high-intensity (HIR) (13-19 km/h) running distances covered during matches, but only 22% of low-intensity (LIR) and 43% of total distances. Body fat percentage and high-speed knee flexor concentric strength were the most important predictors to VHIR and HIR while aerobic capacity-related variables were most important predictors to LIR and total distance. Physical qualities and anthropometry can predict a large portion of players' VHIR and HIR performance during matches in women's national level soccer. To increase player's VHIR and HIR distance, coaches could aim to develop players' high-speed (especially knee flexor concentric) strength and optimize player's body composition.



#4 Effective playing time affects physical match performance in soccer: An analysis according to playing position

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):967-973. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.123320. Epub 2023 Feb 3.

Authors: Stefan Altmann, Leon Forcher, Alexander Woll, Sascha Härtel

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Summary: This study aimed to analyse the influence of effective playing time on physical match performance according to playing position in professional soccer. Official match data from 267 matches (3,731 single observations) during the 2018/2019 season of the German Bundesliga were used and the effective playing time (duration of play after subtracting the time taken up by stoppages, substitutions, injuries, and goals) was captured for each match. The physical match performance parameters total distance, high-intensity distance, sprinting distance, maximum velocity, and accelerations were analysed. Players were categorized as central defender, wide defender, central defensive midfielder, central offensive midfielder, wide midfielder, and forward. Effective playing time influenced physical match performance, with total distance and accelerations (r = 0.48-0.61) being the most and high-intensity distance, sprinting distance, and maximum velocity (r = -0.17-0.03) the least affected parameters. Players covered on average 10% more total distance and performed 13% more accelerations, while sprinting 7-10% less in matches with long (> 65 min) compared to short (< 50 min) effective playing times. The influence of effective playing time was rather similar between playing positions. Still, physical performance of wide midfielders and forwards partly deviated from the pattern observed in the other positions. Coaches and practitioners should be aware that effective playing time influences physical match performance in the German Bundesliga, while special attention should be given to wide midfielders and forwards. Effective playing time and its general and position-specific effects should be taken into account when interpreting physical match performance, thereby facilitating load management practices and training design.



#5 Effects of free play or artificial rules on young soccer players' individual tactical behaviour: a one-by-one analysis

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1069-1078. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.124845. Epub 2023 Mar 6.

Authors: Asier Gonzalez-Artetxe, Hugo Folgado, José Pino-Ortega, Markel Rico-González, Asier Los Arcos

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Summary: This study assessed the effects of playing freely and introducing artificial rules on individual tactical behaviour during the team-possession game phase in two youth soccer categories. Thirty-two developmental players from U-14 and U-16 teams participated in the study, which consisted of four identical training sessions and two test sessions performed before and after the intervention. Each team was divided into two balanced groups, free-play and conditioned, that faced each other during three eight-a-side games (Gk + 7 vs 7 + Gk) in all training sessions. The free-play groups played freely, while the conditioned ones did so constrained by artificial rules. Individual tactical behaviour was assessed during a non-constrained eight-a-side match by the distance to centroid, spatial exploration index, their entropy measures, and the regularity of each player's displacement on the length and width of the pitch using a local positioning system. In addition to the average outcomes of all the players all together, the one-by-one analysis considered the mean values of each player to appraise individual responses. While the average outcomes of all the players in both groups and categories barely changed (Cohen's d ≤ small), with a very high inter-player variability, the one-by-one analysis revealed that the training intervention affected each player's tactical behaviour differently. Introducing artificial rules decreased and raised considerably (Cohen's d ≥ moderate) in-width and exploratory regularities of most U-14 and U-16 players, respectively. Therefore, assessing the training effects of game-based interventions from the individual to the whole team may provide unique and meaningful insight regarding the tactical competence of each player.



#6 Relationships between external loads, sRPE-load, and self-reported soreness across a men's collegiate soccer season

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1141-1150. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.125587. Epub 2023 Apr 6.

Authors: Nicholas M Kuhlman, Margaret T Jones, Andrew R Jagim, Mary Kate Feit, Richard Aziz, Thomas Crabill, Jennifer B Fields

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Summary: The purpose was to examine relationships between external loads (ELs), perceived exertion, and soreness. Collegiate men soccer players (n = 19) were monitored for 72 sessions (training: n = 53; matches: n = 19). Likert scale assessments (0-6) of lower body soreness were collected prior to each session, and ELs were collected using positional monitoring technology. Session rate of perceived exertion (sRPE-load) was calculated by multiplying perceived exertion values (Borg CR-10 Scale) by respective session duration to determine internal load. Multiple analyses of variance were used to determine differences in ELs across seasons (pre-season, in-season, post-season) and sessions (training, match). Bivariate Pearson correlation coefficients and linear regression analyses were used to evaluate relationships among soreness, ELs, and sRPE-load. Greatest ELs were observed during pre-season and post-season phases (p < 0.001). Sessions with high perceived exertion and low soreness were associated with higher ELs (p < 0.05). Duration (t = 16.13), total distance (t = 9.17), sprint distance (t = 7.54), player load (t = 4.22), top speed (t = 4.69), and acceleration (t = 2.02) positively predicted sRPE-load (F = 412.9, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.75). Soreness was weakly and trivially correlated with ELs (p < 0.05). The very strong relationship between ELs and sRPE-load highlights the utility of sRPE-load as a practical means to estimate workload; however, more research into the relationship between soreness and workload is warranted.



#7 Validity and reproducibility of match-derived ratios of selected external and internal load parameters in soccer players: A simple way to monitor physical fitness?

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1039-1046. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.124850. Epub 2023 Mar 6.

Authors: Jan Schimpchen, Paulo Freitas Correia, Tim Meyer

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Summary: The study aim was to assess whether match-derived external-to-internal load ratios are a valid and reliable tool to measure physical fitness. Sixteen elite youth soccer players (17 ± 1 years) performed two maximal fitness tests. Subsequently, players participated in three intra-squad soccer matches in three consecutive weeks. Three GPS-based parameters of external load (total distance, PlayerLoad, high-intensity distance) were divided by three heart rate-based parameters of internal load (iTRIMP, Banister TRIMP, average percentage heart rate reserve) for the ratio calculations. Validity was established by comparing the ratios with results of the fitness tests, while between-athlete and within-athlete reliability were quantified. Most integrated load ratios were moderately-to-largely correlated with the various fitness parameters. Overall, a ratio consisting of PlayerLoad and average percentage heart rate reserve demonstrated the most consistent correlations with maximum treadmill speed (r = 0.69, P = 0.003) and the speeds associated with 4 mmol/L of blood lactate (r = 0.56, P = 0.024) and 80% of heart rate reserve (r = 0.54, P = 0.031). Most of the ratios displayed acceptable levels of reproducibility (intraclass correlation coefficient > 0.8 and coefficient of variation < 10%), with the minimal detectable change of all ratios ranging between 7.1 and 37.8%. Given their associations with physical fitness and non-invasive nature, certain external-to-internal load ratios may be used to monitor physical fitness in soccer players. However, the ratios may not be sensitive enough to detect small yet practically relevant alterations in player fitness.



#8 Quantification of training load across two competitive seasons in elite senior and youth male soccer players from an English Premiership club

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1197-1205. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.126667. Epub 2023 Jun 12.

Authors: Ryland Morgans, Dave Rhodes, Jose Teixeira, Toni Modric, Sime Versic, Rafael Oliveira

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Summary: This study aimed to compare the daily training load (TL) in first-team and U-18 soccer players from an English Premiership club. 36 first-team (age 23.2 ± 5.9 years, weight 75.2 ± 8.1 kg, height 1.83 ± 0.06 m), and 22 U-18 players (age 17.5 ± 1.1 years, weight 71.1 ± 8.2 kg, height 1.78 ± 0.08 m) participated. GPS metrics were measured during all pitch training sessions throughout the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. Linear mixed-effect model analyses revealed that, irrespective of training day, U-18 players covered greater total and explosive distance than first-team players, and performed a higher number of accelerations and decelerations, whereas first-team players covered greater sprint distance. Irrespective of the team, all examined variables were greater at match-day (MD)-3, while the number of accelerations and decelerations were higher at MD-4. Significant team-by-training day interactions revealed that U-18 players covered greater total and high-intensity distances than first-team players at MD-4, MD-2, and MD-1, whereas first-team players covered greater total and high-intensity distances at MD-3. Sprint distance was greater for first-team players at MD-3 and MD-4, while explosive distance was greater for U-18 players at MD-2. Also, U-18 players performed a higher number of accelerations than first-team players at MD-3 and MD-2, and a higher number of decelerations at MD-4. The present results provide novel information on TL patterns in English Premiership soccer and contribute to understanding how training methods to physically develop players are implemented in different countries and leagues.



#9 Different pitch configurations constrain the external and internal loads of young professional soccer players during transition games

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1047-1055. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.124848. Epub 2023 Apr 7.

Authors: Jose A Asian-Clemente, Alberto Rabano-Muñoz, Luis Suarez-Arrones, Bernardo Requena

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Summary: The aims of this study were to compare the influence of transition game (TG) size on the external and internal loads of young professional soccer players and to describe the high-speed profile of these drills in response to pitch dimensions. Eighteen young professional soccer players (age: 16.1 ± 0.3 years; height: 178.3 ± 5.4 cm; weight: 70.1 ± 6.2 kg) performed a 3vs2 TG on pitches measuring 40 × 30 m (TG30), 40 × 50 m (TG50) and 40 × 70 m (TG70) m. Distance covered (DC); accelerations-decelerations above 1.0 m · s-2 and 2.5 m · s-2; rate of perceived exertion (RPE); maximal heart rate and time above 90%; DC at 18.0 to 21.0 km · h-1 (DC 18-20.9 km · h-1); DC at 21.0 to 23.9 km · h-1 (DC 21-23.9 km · h-1); DC above 24.0 km · h-1 (DC > 24 km · h-1); and peak speed and sprint profile (duration, distance and maximal speed) were measured. TG30 achieved lower DC, DC above 18 km · h-1, peak speed, sprint distance and RPE than TG50 and TG70 (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05) and lower sprint duration and maximal speed sprint than TG70 (p < 0.01). TG30 and TG50 achieved higher Acc > 1.0 and > 2.5 m · s-2 respectively than TG70 (p < 0.05). TG70 showed greater DC above 21 km · h-1, peak speed, sprint distance and maximal speed sprint than TG50 (p < 0.01). Soccer coaches should use larger TGs to overload variables related to high speed and sprint demands during training and smaller TG formats to stimulate the accelerations of the soccer players.



#10 Does player age influence match physical performance? A longitudinal four-season analysis in Spanish Soccer LaLiga

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1097-1106. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.124844. Epub 2023 Mar 21.

Authors: Tomás García-Calvo, Florentino Huertas, José Carlos Ponce-Bordón, Roberto López Del Campo, Ricardo Resta, Rafael Ballester

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Summary: This study aims to analyse the evolution of match running performance in relation to the age distribution of professional soccer players using a large-scale analysis. An explorational-longitudinal and retrospective study was designed and a total of 36,883 individual match observations were collected on outfield players competing across four consecutive Spanish LaLiga seasons (from 2015/16 to 2018/19), using an optical tracking system (ChyronHego). Soccer players were divided into 3 age groups: young (18-24 years old), middle-aged (25-30 years old), and seniors (31-41 years old). Relative total distance (TD/min), distance covered at 21-24 km · h-1 (HIRD/min), and > 24 km · h-1 per minute (VHIRD/min) were analysed; also, the number of efforts at 21-24 km · h-1 (Sp21) and > 24 km · h-1 (Sp24) were taken into consideration. Seasons were divided into four phases (P): P1 (matches 1-10), P2 (11-19), P3 (20-29), and P4 (30-38). The results showed that young players covered significantly greater TD, HIRD and VHIRD than the rest of the players (p < .05) in all season phases. In addition, TD significantly decreased along season phases in all player age group (p < .01). Crucially, young players performed significantly greater numbers of Sp21 and Sp24 than the rest of the players (p < .05) in all season phases. In addition, Sp21 and SP24 significantly decreased in middle-aged (p < .01) and senior players (p < .05) across the seasons. This study demonstrated that players' match running performance decreases with increasing years, especially in high-intensity running distances.



#11 Sand and grass surfaces are equally effective in promoting positive adaptations in the sprint performance of elite young soccer players

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):993-1001. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.123324. Epub 2023 Feb 3.

Authors: Lucas A Pereira, Renan F H Nunes, Tomás T Freitas, Carlos A Paes, Juan H S Conde, Luiz F Novack, Thiago Kosloski, Rodrigo L P Silva, Paulo H S M Azevedo, Irineu Loturco

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Summary: This study compared the effects of two sprint-jump training programmes, performed on either sand or grass surfaces, on the sprint and jump performance of elite young soccer players over an 8-week training period. Fifteen under-20 soccer players were randomly allocated to the sand (n = 7) or grass (n = 8) group. Athletes performed 12 training sessions, comprising vertical and horizontal jump exercises, and linear and change-of-direction (COD) sprint drills. Pre- and post-measurements were completed in the following order: vertical jump, sprint speed at 10 m and 17 m, curve sprint (CS), and modified Zigzag COD tests. Between-group differences were determined using a two-way ANOVA with repeated measures and effect sizes (ES). No improvements in jump performance were found in either group. Significant increases were observed in the sand group for acceleration in 0-10 m and for 10- and 17-m linear sprint velocity (ES = 1.15, 1.16, and 1.81, respectively; P < 0.05). In contrast, no significant differences were detected for acceleration and linear sprint velocity in the grass group, comparing pre- and post-tests (ES ranging from 0.01 to 0.47; P > 0.05). Both sand and grass groups revealed similar increases in the CS and COD velocities after the training period (ES ranging from 0.98 to 1.93; P < 0.05). In conclusion, sprint-jump training programmes performed on both grass and sand surfaces elicited significant improvements in CS and COD performances, whereas acceleration and linear sprint velocity increased only in the sand group, after a short-term training period. The sand training surface was proven to be a practical strategy to improve sprint performance in all its forms in soccer players, which is of great interest and importance for coaches and sport scientists working in elite soccer.



#12 The Effects of Melatonin Supplementation on Professional Football Player Performance: A Systematic Review

Reference: Nutrients. 2023 Oct 21;15(20):4467. doi: 10.3390/nu15204467.

Authors: Antonio Almendros-Ruiz, Alejandro Lopez-Moro, Javier Conde-Pipò, Alfredo Santalla, Bernardo Requena, Miguel Mariscal-Arcas

Summary: Melatonin is a hormone that has shown anti-inflammatory actions, reduced oxidative stress, and has effects on physical performance, so the aim of this study was to review the effects of melatonin supplementation on the performance of professional soccer players. Critical and systematic review. Data were obtained by performing searches in the following bibliographic databases: Web of Science, MEDLINE (via PubMed), Embase, Cochrane Library, and Scopus. The terms used were "Soccer Athlete", "Melatonin", and "Soccer Performance", using "Humans" as a filter. The search update was in May 2023. Having applied the inclusion and exclusion criteria, eight articles were selected out of 59 retrieved references. The dose of melatonin administered in the studies ranged between 5 and 8 mg. The outcomes showed a decrease in oxidative stress, muscle damage, and inflammatory markers in the melatonin-treated group. Exogenously administered melatonin seems to attenuate some of the effects derived from physical exercise, such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and muscle damage, in professional football players, and since it has no potential adverse effects, it could be interesting to apply it in this population. However, the direct effects of melatonin supplementation on physical performance have not been demonstrated, so more research is needed on the intervention period and effective dose and with larger participant populations.



#13 Bone Health, Body Composition and Physiological Demands in 70-85-Year-Old Lifelong Male Football Players

Reference: Sports (Basel). 2023 Oct 18;11(10):205. doi: 10.3390/sports11100205.

Authors: Domenico Martone, Daniela Vitucci, Annamaria Mancini, Georgios Ermidis, Jeppe Panduro, Loretta Francesca Cosco, Morten Bredsgaard Randers, Malte Nejst Larsen, Magni Mohr, Pasqualina Buono, Peter Krustrup

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Summary: The effects of lifelong football training on bone health, body composition and physiological demands were evaluated. A total of 20 veteran football players (VPG; 73.4 ± 3.7 years) and 18 untrained age-matched men (CG; 75.6 ± 4.2 years) were enrolled. Whole-body and regional dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans of arms, legs, proximal femur and lower spine (L1-L4) were recorded in all participants. We observerd higher bone mineral density (BMD) in the whole-body, arms and femoral regions and higher bone mineral content (BMC) in the legs and lower spine compared to the CG (p < 0.05), also higher total lean body mass (p < 0.05) and lower total body fat percentage (p < 0.05), were found. No differences in food habits were evidenced between the VPG and the CG, as evaluated using 3-day food records. Resting heart rate (RHR), blood pressure (BP) and activity profile during a football match were recorded using a global positioning system only in the VPG. The mean heart rate (HR)of theoretical maximal HR (ThHRmax), and peak of ThHRmax were 83.9 ± 8.6% and 98.6 ± 10.2%, respectively; the mean of total distance covered was 3666 ± 721 m, and the means of accelerations and decelerations were 419 ± 61 and 428 ± 65, respectively. Lifelong participation in football training improves regional BMD and BMC in legs, femur and lumbar spine compared to the CG. A high number of intense actions in term of HR and accelerations and decelerations suggests an elevated energy expenditure that in turn correlates to the healthier body composition observed in the VPG compared to the CG.



#14 Retracted: Evaluation of Football Teaching Quality Based on Big Data

Reference: Comput Math Methods Med. 2023 Oct 18:2023:9782167. doi: 10.1155/2023/9782167. eCollection 2023.

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#15 The effects of simulated vision impairment on performance in football

Reference: J Sports Sci. 2023 Oct 25:1-13. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2023.2273093. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Oliver R Runswick, Alexander Rawlinson, Peter M Allen, Benjamin T Sharpe, Chris Pocock, Naomi Datson, Phil Birch, Richard Bruce, David L Mann

Summary: Footballers with vision impairment (VI) are eligible to compete in the Para sport if they meet a minimum impairment criteria (MIC) based on measures of their visual acuity (VA) and/or visual field. Despite the requirements of the International Paralympic Committee Athlete Classification Code that each sport uses an evidence-based classification system, VI football continues to use a medical-based system that lacks evidence to demonstrate the relationship between impairment and performance in the sport. The aim of this study was to systematically simulate vision loss to establish the minimum level of impairment that would affect performance in futsal. Nineteen skilled sighted players completed tests of individual technical skill and anticipation performance under six levels of simulated blur that decreased both VA and contrast sensitivity (CS). VA needed to be reduced to a level of acuity that represents worse vision than that currently used for inclusion in VI football before meaningful decreases in performance were observed. CS did not have a clear effect on football performance. These findings produce the first evidence for the minimum impairment criteria in VI football and suggest a more severe degree of impairment may be required for the MIC.



#16 Internal workload in elite female football players during the whole in-season: starters vs non-starters

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1107-1115. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.124849. Epub 2023 Mar 7.

Authors: Blanca Romero-Moraleda, Jaime González-García, Esther Morencos, Verónica Giráldez-Costas, José María Moya, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo

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Summary: The aim of this study was to quantify weekly internal workload across the in-season and compare the workload variables between starter and non-starter Spanish female first league (Liga Iberdrola) football players. Twenty-six participants belonging to the same team (age, height, and mass: 25.4 ± 6.1 years, 167.4 ± 4.8 cm and 57.96 ± 6.28 kg, respectively) participated in this study. Training loads (TL) and match loads (ML) were assessed through breath-cardiovascular (RPEbreath), leg-musculature (RPEleg) and cognitive (RPEcog) rating of perceived exertion (RPE0-10) for each training session and match during the in-season phase (35 weeks). Session-RPE (sRPE) was calculated by multiplying each RPE value by session duration (minutes). From these, total weekly TL (weekly TL+ML), weekly TL, weekly ML, chronic workload, acute:chronic workload ratio, training monotony, and training strain were calculated. Linear mixed models were used to assess differences for each dependent variable, with playing time (starter vs non-starter players) used as a fixed factor, and athlete, week, and team as random factors. The results showed that total weekly TL (d = 1.23-2.04), weekly ML (d = 4.65-5.31), training monotony (d = 0.48-1.66) and training strain (d = 0.24-1.82) for RPEbreath, RPEleg and RPEcog were higher for starters in comparison with non-starters (p = 0.01). Coaches involved in elite female football should consider implementing differential sRPE monitoring strategies to optimize the weekly load distribution for starters and non-starters and to introduce compensatory strategies to equalise players' total weekly load.



#17 Exposures to near-to-maximal speed running bouts during different turnarounds in elite football: association with match hamstring injuries

Reference: Biol Sport. 2023 Oct;40(4):1057-1067. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.125595. Epub 2023 Mar 6.

Authors: Martin Buchheit, Maxime Settembre, Karim Hader, Derek McHugh

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Summary: The aim was to describe the occurrence of near-to-maximal sprinting speed (near-to-MSS) running bouts during training and hamstring injuries during the consecutive match of the same turnaround in elite football (soccer). Retrospective data from 36 team-seasons (16 elite teams performing in top European leagues) were analyzed (627 players, 96 non-contact time loss match hamstring injuries). We described 1) the occurrence of > 85%, > 90% or > 95% MSS exposures during training within each turnaround and match hamstring injuries and 2) whether the above-mentioned injury occurrences differed depending on the day(s) of the turnarounds (i.e., the period separating two consecutive matches, which is generally from 3 to 8 days) when these speed exposures occurred. The longer the length of the turnarounds and the lower the speed thresholds, the greater the number (and proportion) of near-to-MSS exposures (e.g., 18%, 45% and 72% of turnarounds with > 85% runs for 3, 5 and 7-turnarounds, respectively). For half of the turnarounds examined, there were no match hamstring injuries when players were exposed to running bouts > 95% MSS during training (e.g., injury rates: 0; CI: 0-15). Injuries still occurred during 85% of the turnarounds when there were no or lower relative speed exposures (i.e., > 85 or > 90%, injury rates: 2-5, CI: 0-6). Finally, irrespective of the turnaround length, there were no match hamstring injuries when > 95% MSS exposures occurred at D-2, while in contrast, injuries still happened when players were not exposed at all, or when these exposures occurred at D-3 and/or earlier within the turnaround. While the present observational study design precludes the examination of causal relationships, the programming of > 95% MSS exposures at D-2 may help mitigate match hamstring injury occurrences in elite football.



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