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MATCH-RELATED FATIGUE IN SOCCER PLAYERS.

Rampinini E, Bosio A, Ferraresi I, Petruolo A, Morelli A, Sassi A.

Abstract: Soccer induces neuromuscular fatigue requiring several hours of recovery

PURPOSE: to determine the extent to which neuromuscular fatigue occurs in high-level professional players and its recovery after a match; to examine its relationship with central and peripheral fatigue indicators.

METHODS: Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), sprint and passing abilities, muscle soreness, maximal voluntary activation (%VA), EMG activity and evocated quadriceps contractile properties (using different electrical stimulations), were determined before, immediately after, at 24 and 48 hours after the match in 20 male professional players.

RESULTS: Immediately after a 90-min game, fatigue was evident by a reduction of MVC and sprint performance (-11% p < 0.001 and -3% p < 0.001, respectively) and increased muscle soreness (p < 0.001) compared to baseline, while short-passing ability was preserved. At the same time point, %VA and EMG activity were reduced by 8% (p < 0.001) and 12% (p = 0.001), respectively. M-wave characteristics were unchanged while quadriceps mechanical responses to single and paired stimulations at 10Hz resulted significantly reduced (peak torque: -8%, p < 0.001 and -9%, p < 0.001). Despite the observation of a partial recovery 24 hours following the game, all variables did not return to baseline values until 48 hours post match.

CONCLUSIONS: in high-level professional players, the fatigue induced by a soccer match occurs to a smaller extent than in lower level athletes and seems to be recovered in a faster fashion. Match-related fatigue is determined by a combination of central and peripheral factors. A relationship exists between central fatigue indicators and MVC.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Apr 14. [Epub ahead of print]
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