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Noel Pollock, Claire Grogan, Mark Perry, Charles Pedlar, Karl Cooke, Dylan Morrissey and Lygeri Dimitriou

Low bone-mineral density (BMD) is associated with menstrual dysfunction and negative energy balance in the female athlete triad. This study determines BMD in elite female endurance runners and the associations between BMD, menstrual status, disordered eating, and training volume. Forty-four elite endurance runners participated in the cross-sectional study, and 7 provided longitudinal data. Low BMD was noted in 34.2% of the athletes at the lumbar spine, and osteoporosis in 33% at the radius. In cross-sectional analysis, there were no significant relationships between BMD and the possible associations. Menstrual dysfunction, disordered eating, and low BMD were coexistent in 15.9% of athletes. Longitudinal analysis identified a positive association between the BMD reduction at the lumbar spine and training volume (p = .026). This study confirms the presence of aspects of the female athlete triad in elite female endurance athletes and notes a substantial prevalence of low BMD and osteoporosis. Normal menstrual status was not significantly associated with normal BMD, and it is the authors’ practice that all elite female endurance athletes undergo dual-X-ray absorptiometry screening. The association between increased training volume, trend for menstrual dysfunction, and increased loss of lumbar BMD may support the concept that negative energy balance contributes to bone loss in athletes.

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Gillian K. Myburgh, Sean P. Cumming, Manuel Coelho E. Silva, Karl Cooke and Robert M. Malina

Purpose:

To evaluate relationships among skeletal maturity, body size, and functional capacities of elite junior tennis players.

Methods:

Participants were 88 elite British Junior tennis players (44 male; 44 female), 8–16 years of age (12.4 } 1.9 years). Skeletal age estimated maturty. Anthropometry, grip strength, countermovement jump, squat jump, forehand agility, backhand agility, Yo-Yo, 5-m, 10-m and 20-m sprints were measured. Comparative analysis for each sex was performed, relating advanced maturers (Male: 15; Female: 29) to a combination of on-time and late maturers (Male: 29; Female: 31). ANCOVAs were used to determine absolute differences between male and female players and between the 2 maturity subgroups, with chronological age as the covariate.

Results:

Advanced maturity afforded male players advantages in absolute measures of grip strength, speed, upper and lower body power but not in acceleration, agility or aerobic endurance. Male players were significantly taller than females in the U13-U16 age group. Advanced maturity in female players afforded advantages in absolute measures of grip strength, agility and overhead power, but not in backhand agility, aerobic endurance or squat jump power.

Conclusion:

It is important that talent identification protocols consider the maturity of youth athletes to more satisfactorily address athletic potential rather than transient physical capabilities.