Iron monitoring of male and female rugby sevens players over an international season

Anthea C Clarke, Judith ANSON, Christine E Dziedzic, Warren A McDonald, David B Pyne

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    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Given the likely influence that high training loads, contact-induced hemolysis and female-specifc requirements have on theincidence of iron defciency, characterizing the direction and magnitude of fluctuations in iron status over an international season is importantfor managing player health and physical performance in rugby sevens.MeThodS: Australian national male (n.=27) and female (n.=23) rugby sevens players undertook blood tests at pre-season, mid-season, andend-season. Hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Hct), ferritin, transferrin and transferrin saturation were quantifed. Female athletes also reported oralcontraceptive use and a subset (N.=7) provided 7-day food diaries to quantify iron intake.reSulTS: Male players typically had a three-fold higher ferritin concentration than females. pre-season ferritin concentrations in male (151±66μg/l) and female (51±24 μg/l) players declined substantially (±20%) by mid-season but recovered by end-season. over the season 23% offemale players were classifed as iron defcient (ferritin <30 μg/L) and prescribed supplementation. The greatest incidence of iron defciencyin female players occurred mid-season (30%). Oral contraception and dietary iron intake had an unclear influence on female players' ferritinconcentration, while age was largely positively correlated (r=0.66±±0.33).concluSionS: Given the relatively low ferritin concentrations evident in female rugby sevens players, and the potential for a further declinemidway through a season when physical load may be at its highest, 6-monthly hematological reviews are suggested in combination with dietarymanagement. Annual screening may be benefcial for male players, with further monitoring only when clinically indicated.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1490-1496
    Number of pages7
    JournalThe Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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