Impaired recovery is associated with increased injury and illness: A retrospective study of 536 female netball athletes

Barry G. Horgan, Michael K. Drew, Shona L. Halson, Laura E. Piromalli, Eric J. Drinkwater, Dale W. Chapman, G. Gregory Haff

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    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Sport science and medicine practitioners are interested in the relationships between training load, injury, and illness. The extent to which training preparedness is associated with workload-related injury and illness risk is debated. Therefore, this study applied multi-level mixed effect logistic regression to investigate time-dependent (±7- and ±28-day) relationships between training preparedness (fatigue, mood, motivation, soreness, stress, sleep duration, and quality), training load, injury, and illness in 536 elite and pre-elite female netball athletes. Absolute risk (AR ± 95% CI) of sustaining an injury (0.98 ± 0.06%, n = 1122 injuries, N = 254 athletes) or illness (1.09 ± 0.10%, n = 2881, N = 432 athletes) was calculated. All training preparedness variables combined resulted in an absolute risk of 0.88%-5.88% and 0.87%-20% for injury and illness, respectively. Injury and illness had significant (P <.05) bidirectional (ie, both increased and decreased) associations with physical (soreness) and physiological (sleep duration and quality), while illness also had negative (mood, motivation) and positive (stress) associations with psychological training preparedness variables. Low sleep duration in the 48-h period prior was associated (P =.005) with increased injury risk (OR = 0.91 ± 0.03; AR = 4.00%), while “very poor” sleep quality (OR = 0.59 ± 0.02; AR = 7.83%) or extremes of too little (<5 hours, OR = 1.01 ± 0.03; AR = 3.13%-14.29%) and too much (>10 hours, OR = 1.01 ± 0.03; AR = 2.61%-10.98%) sleep had bidirectional associations (P <.001) with an increased illness risk. Changes in training preparedness variables demonstrated bidirectional associations with injury and illness. These outcomes suggest that sport science and medicine practitioners should monitor sleep, physical, and psychological recovery status, to aid early detection and intervention regarding injury and illness symptomology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)691-701
    Number of pages11
    JournalScandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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