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Heart Rate Variability (HRV) technology enables practitioners to analyze the physiological effects of stress. High levels of HRV are associated with improved stress management and sport performance. This study examined the effectiveness of athletes’ (N = 20 collegiate male soccer players) existing mental strategies in maintaining high HRV following three separate stressors. A brief (12-minute) athlete-specific adaptation of a physiological assessment protocol was administered to all athletes. Findings suggest that athletes significantly improved HRV following a cognitive and sport-specific stressor (p < .05); however, athletes were unable to increase HRV following a physical stressor (p > .05). Results suggest athletes were less equipped to cope with physical pain. The process of providing assessment feedback to coaches and athletes is discussed. Finally, clinical and research applications for this brief assessment are introduced and explored.
Perry is with the Novant Health Orthopedic Service Line, Charlotte, NC. Hansen, Ross, Montgomery, and Weinstock are with Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO.