Sinnott-O’Connor, Ciara; Comyns, Tom; Nevill, Alan M; Warrington, Giles (Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc, 2018-07-01)
Stress responses in athletes can be attributed to training and competition, where increased physiological and psychological stress may negatively affect performance and recovery.
To examine the relationship between training load (TL) and salivary biomarkers immunoglobulin A (IgA), alpha-amylase (AA), and cortisol across a 16-wk preparation phase and 10-d competition phase in Paralympic swimmers.
Four Paralympic swimmers provided biweekly saliva samples during 3 training phases-(1) normal training, (2) intensified training, and (3) taper-as well as daily saliva samples in the 10-d Paralympic competition (2016 Paralympic Games). TL was measured using session rating of perceived exertion.
Multilevel analysis identified a significant increase in salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA: 94.98 [27.69] μg·mL-1), salivary alpha-amylase (sAA: 45.78 [19.07] μg·mL-1), and salivary cortisol (7.92 [2.17] nM) during intensified training concurrent with a 38.3% increase in TL. During the taper phase, a 49.5% decrease in TL from the intensified training phase resulted in a decrease in sIgA, sAA, and salivary cortisol; however, all 3 remained higher than baseline levels. A further significant increase was observed during competition in sIgA (168.69 [24.19] μg·mL-1), sAA (35.86 [16.67] μg·mL-1), and salivary cortisol (10.49 [1.89] nM) despite a continued decrease (77.8%) in TL from the taper phase.
Results demonstrate that performance in major competition such as Paralympic games, despite a noticeable reduction in TL, induces a stress response in athletes. Because of the elevated stress response observed, modifications to individual postrace recovery protocols may be required to enable athletes to maximize performance across all 10 d of competition.
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