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Sue Reeves and Kieran Collins

The aim of this study was to investigate the dietary intakes and anthropometric profiles of county and club Gaelic football players and compare them to soccer players and control subjects. Seven-day dietary records were analyzed and anthropometric measurements were taken midway through the Gaelic football competitive season. The county group with a mean height of 1.82 ± 0.04 m were significantly taller (p < .05) and had less body fat than any other group. The county and club teams consumed 151 ± 11 and 150 ± 16 kJ · kg−1 · day−1, respectively, with 52.2 ± 5% and 49.5 ± 9% of their energy intakes as carbohydrate. This compares to 173 ± 11 kJ · kg−1 · day−1 for the soccer players and 159 ± 8 kJ · kg−1 · day−1 for the controls, with 57 ± 4% and 44.9 ± 5% of their energy from carbohydrate. The nature of Gaelic football demands a balanced diet, rich in energy and carbohydrate and with adequate calcium is consumed; the subjects needed to increase these dietary components in order to meet the energetic demands of competition and training. Additional nutritional counseling was provided on an individual basis.

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Cathal Cassidy, Kieran Collins and Marcus Shortall

Competition-related dietary intake has not yet been investigated in Gaelic football. The present study examined the precompetition macronutrient intake of elite male Gaelic football players. Forty players from two teams completed a food diary on the 2 days preceding competition (Day 1 and Day 2) and on the match day prior to the match (match day). Carbohydrate intake was significantly greater on Day 2 compared with Day 1, for both absolute (295 ± 98 vs. 318 ± 77 g; p = .048; −23.6 g, 95% confidence interval [−47.3, 0.2]; Cohen’s d = 0.27) and relative intake (3.4 ± 1.1 vs. 3.7 ± 1.0 g/kg; p = .027; −0.3 g/kg, 95% confidence interval [−0.6, −0.03]; Cohen’s d = 0.32). The number of players in accordance with and not in accordance with the guidelines for carbohydrate intake on Day 2 was significantly different to an expected frequency distribution, χ2(1) = 32.400; p ≤ .001; φ = 0.9, with a greater number of players not meeting the guidelines (observed N = 2 vs. 38). The number of players in accordance with and not in accordance with the recommendations for carbohydrate intake on match day was significantly different to an expected frequency distribution, χ2(1) = 8.100; p = .004; φ = 0.45, with a greater number of players meeting the guidelines (observed N = 29 vs. 11). The major finding from the current investigation was that a significantly greater number of players did not meet carbohydrate intake guidelines on the day before competition. Individualized nutritional interventions are required in order to modify the current prematch dietary intake.

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Shane Malone, Mark Roe, Dominic A. Doran, Tim J. Gabbett and Kieran D. Collins

Purpose:

To examine the association between combined session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) workload measures and injury risk in elite Gaelic footballers.

Methods:

Thirty-seven elite Gaelic footballers (mean ± SD age 24.2 ± 2.9 y) from 1 elite squad were involved in a single-season study. Weekly workload (session RPE multiplied by duration) and all time-loss injuries (including subsequent-wk injuries) were recorded during the period. Rolling weekly sums and wk-to-wk changes in workload were measured, enabling the calculation of the acute:chronic workload ratio by dividing acute workload (ie, 1-weekly workload) by chronic workload (ie, rolling-average 4-weekly workload). Workload measures were then modeled against data for all injuries sustained using a logistic-regression model. Odds ratios (ORs) were reported against a reference group.

Results:

High 1-weekly workloads (≥2770 arbitrary units [AU], OR = 1.63–6.75) were associated with significantly higher risk of injury than in a low-training-load reference group (<1250 AU). When exposed to spikes in workload (acute:chronic workload ratio >1.5), players with 1 y experience had a higher risk of injury (OR = 2.22) and players with 2–3 (OR = 0.20) and 4–6 y (OR = 0.24) of experience had a lower risk of injury. Players with poorer aerobic fitness (estimated from a 1-km time trial) had a higher injury risk than those with higher aerobic fitness (OR = 1.50–2.50). An acute:chronic workload ratio of (≥2.0) demonstrated the greatest risk of injury.

Conclusions:

These findings highlight an increased risk of injury for elite Gaelic football players with high (>2.0) acute:chronic workload ratios and high weekly workloads. A high aerobic capacity and playing experience appears to offer injury protection against rapid changes in workload and high acute:chronic workload ratios. Moderate workloads, coupled with moderate to high changes in the acute:chronic workload ratio, appear to be protective for Gaelic football players.