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Robert McCunn, Hugh H.K. Fullagar, Sean Williams, Travis J. Halseth, John A. Sampson, and Andrew Murray

Purpose: American football is widely played by college student-athletes throughout the United States; however, the associated injury risk is greater than in other team sports. Numerous factors likely contribute to this risk, yet research identifying these risk factors is limited. The present study sought to explore the relationship between playing experience and position on injury risk in NCAA Division I college football players. Methods: Seventy-six male college student-athletes in the football program of an American NCAA Division I university participated. Injuries were recorded over 2 consecutive seasons. Players were characterized based on college year (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) and playing position. The effect of playing experience and position on injury incidence rates was analyzed using a generalized linear mixed-effects model, with a Poisson distribution, log-linear link function, and offset for hours of training exposure or number of in-game plays (for training and game injuries, respectively). Results: The overall rates of non-time-loss and time-loss game-related injuries were 2.1 (90% CI: 1.8–2.5) and 0.6 (90% CI: 0.4–0.8) per 1000 plays, respectively. The overall rates of non-time-loss and time-loss training-related injuries were 26.0 (90% CI: 22.6–29.9) and 7.1 (90% CI: 5.9–8.5) per 1000 h, respectively. During training, seniors and running backs displayed the greatest risk. During games, sophomores, juniors, and wide receivers were at greatest risk. Conclusions: Being aware of the elevated injury risk experienced by certain player groups may help coaches make considered decisions related to training design and player selection.

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Benjamin A. McKay, Jace A. Delaney, Andrew Simpkin, Theresa Larkin, Andrew Murray, Charles R. Pedlar, Nathan A. Lewis, and John A. Sampson

Purpose: To assess associations between a free oxygen radical test (FORT), free oxygen radical defense test (FORD), oxidative stress index, urinary cortisol, countermovement jump (CMJ), and subjective wellness in American college football. Methods: Twenty-three male student athlete American college football players were assessed over 10 weeks: off-season conditioning (3 wk), preseason camp (4 wk), and in season (3 wk). Assessments included a once-weekly FORT and FORD blood sample, urinary cortisol sample, CMJ assessment including flight time, reactive strength index modified and concentric impulse, and a daily subjective wellness questionnaire. Linear mixed models analyzed the effect of a 2 within-subject SD change in the predictor variable on the dependent variable. The effects were interpreted using magnitude-based inference and are presented as standardized effect size (ES) ± 90% confidence intervals. Results: Small negative associations were observed between FORT–flight time, FORT–fatigue, FORT–soreness (ES range = −0.30 to −0.48), FORD–sleep (ES = 0.42 ± 0.29), and oxidative stress index soreness (ES = 0.56 ± 0.29). Small positive associations were observed between FORT–cortisol (ES = 0.36 ± 0.35), FORD–flight time, FORD reactive strength index modified and FORD–soreness (0.37–0.41), oxidative stress index concentric impulse (ES = 0.37 ± 0.28), and with soreness–concentric impulse, soreness–flight time, and soreness reactive strength index modified (0.33–0.59). Moderate positive associations were observed between cortisol–concentric impulse and cortisol–sleep (0.57–0.60). Conclusion:FORT/FORD was associated with CMJ variables and subjective wellness. Greater amounts of subjective soreness were associated with decreased CMJ performance, increased FORT and cortisol, and decreased FORD.

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Jonathon J.S. Weakley, Dale B. Read, Hugh H.K. Fullagar, Carlos Ramirez-Lopez, Ben Jones, Cloe Cummins, and John A. Sampson

Purpose: To investigate whether providing global positioning system feedback to players between bouts of small-sided games (SSGs) can alter locomotor, physiological, and perceptual responses. Methods: Using a reverse counterbalanced design, 20 male university rugby players received either feedback or no feedback during “off-side” touch rugby SSGs. Eight 5v5, 6 × 4-minute SSGs were played over 4 d. Teams were assigned to a feedback or no-feedback condition (control) each day, with feedback provided during the 2-min between-bouts rest interval. Locomotor, heart rate, and differential rating of perceived exertion of breathlessness and leg-muscle exertion were measured and analyzed using a linear mixed model. Outcomes were reported using effect sizes (ES) and 90% confidence intervals (CI), and then interpreted via magnitude-based decisions. Results: Very likely trivial to unclear differences at all time points were observed in heart rate and differential rating of perceived exertion measures. Possibly to very likely trivial effects were observed between conditions, including total distance (ES = 0.15; 90 CI, −0.03 to 0.34), high-speed distance (ES = −0.07; 90 CI, −0.27 to 0.13), and maximal sprint speed (ES = 0.11; 90% CI, −0.11 to 0.34). All within-bout comparisons showed very likely to unclear differences, apart from possible increases in low-speed distance in bout 2 (ES = 0.23; 90% CI, 0.01 to 0.46) and maximal sprint speed in bout 4 (ES = 0.21; 90% CI, −0.04 to 0.45). Conclusions: In this study, verbal feedback did not alter locomotor, physiological, or perceptual responses in rugby players during SSGs. This may be due to contextual factors (eg, opposition) or the type (ie, distance) or low frequency of feedback provided.