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Alannah K.A. McKay, Peter Peeling, David B. Pyne, Nicolin Tee, Marijke Welveart, Ida A. Heikura, Avish P. Sharma, Jamie Whitfield, Megan L. Ross, Rachel P.L. van Swelm, Coby M. Laarakkers, and Louise M. Burke

This study implemented a 2-week high carbohydrate (CHO) diet intended to maximize CHO oxidation rates and examined the iron-regulatory response to a 26-km race walking effort. Twenty international-level, male race walkers were assigned to either a novel high CHO diet (MAX = 10 g/kg body mass CHO daily) inclusive of gut-training strategies, or a moderate CHO control diet (CON = 6 g/kg body mass CHO daily) for a 2-week training period. The athletes completed a 26-km race walking test protocol before and after the dietary intervention. Venous blood samples were collected pre-, post-, and 3 hr postexercise and measured for serum ferritin, interleukin-6, and hepcidin-25 concentrations. Similar decreases in serum ferritin (17–23%) occurred postintervention in MAX and CON. At the baseline, CON had a greater postexercise increase in interleukin-6 levels after 26 km of walking (20.1-fold, 95% CI [9.2, 35.7]) compared with MAX (10.2-fold, 95% CI [3.7, 18.7]). A similar finding was evident for hepcidin levels 3 hr postexercise (CON = 10.8-fold, 95% CI [4.8, 21.2]; MAX = 8.8-fold, 95% CI [3.9, 16.4]). Postintervention, there were no substantial differences in the interleukin-6 response (CON = 13.6-fold, 95% CI [9.2, 20.5]; MAX = 11.2-fold, 95% CI [6.5, 21.3]) or hepcidin levels (CON = 7.1-fold, 95% CI [2.1, 15.4]; MAX = 6.3-fold, 95% CI [1.8, 14.6]) between the dietary groups. Higher resting serum ferritin (p = .004) and hotter trial ambient temperatures (p = .014) were associated with greater hepcidin levels 3 hr postexercise. Very high CHO diets employed by endurance athletes to increase CHO oxidation have little impact on iron regulation in elite athletes. It appears that variations in serum ferritin concentration and ambient temperature, rather than dietary CHO, are associated with increased hepcidin concentrations 3 hr postexercise.

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Jolan Kegelaers, Paul Wylleman, I. (Belle) N.A. van Bree, Francesco Wessels, and Raôul R.D. Oudejans

Coaching in elite sports can be a highly volatile and stressful profession. Nevertheless, limited knowledge is available on how coach stressors impact elite-level coaches’ mental health. The present study therefore aimed to assess the self-perceived impact of coach stressors on coaches’ mental health, in terms of psychological and social well-being, as well as the prevalence of symptoms of a number of common mental disorders. Furthermore, the role of resilience was examined as a potential protective resource against mental health issues in coaches. Data were collected cross-sectionally, using an online survey with 119 elite-level coaches from the Netherlands and Belgium. Results showed that, although coach stressors were commonly experienced, the self-perceived impact on mental health was low to moderate. Nevertheless, symptoms of common mental disorders were prevalent within the coaches, ranging from 39% for depression/anxiety to 19% for distress and adverse alcohol use. Furthermore, organizational stressors were found to be a positive predictor for symptoms of depression/anxiety, whereas resilience was a negative predictor. The results highlight the need for more research and attention to the mental health of coaches in elite sports.

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Jeanne Barcelona, Erin Centeio, Paige Arvidson, and Kowsar Hijazi

Purpose: This exploratory study evaluated how youth healthy eating (HE) and physical activity (PA) behaviors could be influenced by a whole-of-school program, which was transformed to a virtual setting at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors investigated how students experienced programming and the role of students’ perceptions of parental support in their self-reported engagement in HE and PA. Methods: PA and HE curricula were provided across 15 schools over 12 weeks. Students (N = 879, M age = 12.12 years, 63% female) completed a survey evaluating the value and perceptions around programmatic aspects as well as their self-reported engagement in HE and PA. Results: Multiple regression analyses revealed positive relationships between parental support for PA and student engagement, as well as positive relationships between students’ self-efficacy and HE behaviors. Conclusion: Findings indicate that students utilized virtual HE and PA programming and that parent support helped to facilitate engagement in PA and HE behaviors beyond the school setting.

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Timothy J. Fulton, Marissa N. Baranauskas, and Robert F. Chapman

Some track-and-field national governing bodies send athletes to World Championship and Olympic Games (WC/OG) to gain experience that may positively impact future success, even though athletes may not be expected to place high or medal. However, it is unclear if this strategy is advantageous for future medal attainment. Purpose: To determine if participation and/or advancement at a track-and-field athlete’s first WC/OG influences the odds of future medaling. Methods: Performances of US track-and-field athletes who made their first WC/OG team during 2000–2013 were tracked through 2016 to stratify athletes into categories. Athletes who medaled on their first team or never made a subsequent team (ie, no experience) were compared with athletes who did not medal on their first team but made subsequent teams (ie, experience). The experience group was further divided into athletes who advanced or did not advance out of the initial round at their first competition for a secondary analysis. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using logistic regression to measure the association between experience level and medaling. Results: A significant OR was obtained for advanced versus did not advance (OR = 2.29, 95% confidence interval, 1.07–4.89, P = .03), but not for experience versus no experience (OR = 1.04, 95% confidence interval, 0.60–1.78, P = .91) group. Conclusions: Advancing out of the initial round of competition during an athlete’s first WC/OG competition is associated with increased odds of future medaling. National governing bodies should consider this “experience threshold” during team selection processes.

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Erin Centeio, Kevin Mercier, Alex Garn, Heather Erwin, Risto Marttinen, and John Foley

The purpose of this study was to investigate physical education teachers’ perceptions of implementing online physical education during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to explore their needs with regard to support for future teaching experiences. A total of 4,302 teachers completed four open-ended questions as part of a larger survey. Deductive and inductive qualitative analysis led to three themes: (a) Teachers’ Proud Moments, (b) Help! So Many Obstacles, and (c) Future Challenges. Teachers stated many successes and challenges that they experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many items specifically focused on use and access to technology, student participation, and meeting students’ needs in various ways. Results can provide guidance for how to address the essential components of physical education in the online environment. In addition, results may provide insight to those who educate, train, and prepare teachers to teach in a virtual and/or physically distanced environment.