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Pre- and Postseason Fitness Changes And Predictors of Injury Among Division III Soccer Players

1 May 1998


The popularity of soccer is on the rise, affording new opportunities for players to compete at the intercollegiate level. As participant numbers increase, so does the possibility of injury. The purposes of this study were (1) to compare pre- and postseason fitness data of Division III male and female soccer players and· (2) identify , fitness characteristics as possible predictors of injury. Seventeen subjects (10 men and 7 women) were assessed for pre- and postseason changes in the following: anaerobic and aerobic capacities, nutrition, body composition, flexibility, and balance. Injuries were monitored by team athletic trainers. Male subjects significantly increased their maximum heart rates (p=.0008), body weight (p=.009), and protein consumption (p=.02), while decreasing their potassium intake (p=.008). Female subjects significantly increased their lean mass (p=.01), while lowering their intake of calories (p=.03), total fat (p=.03), and polyunsaturated fats (p=.05) to levels below the standards of %RDAs. Shuttle run time and body density were identified as the best predictors of injury. These results indicate that a more comprehensive training program with nutritional counseling would be benefical for this population. Further studies examining the relationship between body density, shuttle run, and injuries among soccer players are needed.


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