Relationships among playerload, high-intensity intermittent running ability, and injury risk in professional rugby league players

Journal article


Hulin, William T., Gabbett, Tim J., Pickworth, Nathan J., Johnston, Rich D. and Jenkins, David G.. (2020) Relationships among playerload, high-intensity intermittent running ability, and injury risk in professional rugby league players. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 15(3), pp. 423 - 429. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2019-0139
AuthorsHulin, William T., Gabbett, Tim J., Pickworth, Nathan J., Johnston, Rich D. and Jenkins, David G.
Abstract

Purpose: To examine relationships among physical performance, workload, and injury risk in professional rugby league players. Methods: Maximal-effort (n = 112) and submaximal (n = 1084) running performances of 45 players were recorded from 1 club over 2 consecutive seasons. Poorer and better submaximal running performance was determined by higher and lower exercise heart rates, respectively. Exponentially weighted moving averages and daily rolling averages were used to assess microtechnology-derived acute and chronic field-based workloads. The associations among within-individual submaximal running performance, workload, and noncontact lower-limb injury were then investigated. Results: The injury risk associated with poorer submaximal performance was “likely” greater than stable (relative risk = 1.8; 90% confidence interval, 0.9–3.7) and better submaximal performance (relative risk = 2.0; 90% confidence interval, 0.9–4.4). Compared with greater submaximal performance, poorer performance was associated with lower chronic workloads (effect size [d] = 0.82 [0.13], large) and higher acute:chronic workload ratios (d = 0.49 [0.14], small). Chronic workload demonstrated a “nearly perfect” positive relationship with maximal-effort running performance (exponentially weighted moving average, R2 = .91 [.15]; rolling average, R2 = .91 [.14]). At acute:chronic workload ratios >1.9, no differences in injury risk were found between rolling average and exponentially weighted moving average methods (relative risk = 1.1; 90% confidence interval, 0.3–3.8; unclear). Conclusions: Reductions in submaximal running performance are related with low chronic workloads, high acute:chronic workload ratios, and increased injury risk. These findings demonstrate that a submaximal running assessment can be used to provide information on physical performance and injury risk in professional rugby league players.

Keywordssport physiology; workload; physical performance; submaximal testing
Year2020
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Journal citation15 (3), pp. 423 - 429
PublisherHuman Kinetics Publishers Inc.
ISSN1555-0265
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2019-0139
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85082516914
Page range423 - 429
Research GroupSports Performance, Recovery, Injury and New Technologies (SPRINT) Research Centre
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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