Body weight and tympanic temperature change in professional rugby league players during day and night games: a study in the field
Meir, RA, Brooks, LO & Shield, T 2003, 'Body weight and tympanic temperature change in professional rugby league players during day and night games: a study in the field', Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 566-572.
This study investigated the impact of day and night games in the professional rugby league on body weight and tympanic temperature change in participants. Twenty-five players contracted to an English Super League club had their pre- and postgame body weight and tympanic temperatures recorded during 10 games played during the official professional rugby league season, representing a total of 165 player appearances. The mean (+/-SD) ambient temperature and relative humidity was 12.3[degrees] C (+/-6.0) and 83.3% (+/-11.4), respectively. Body weight was recorded using a set of calibrated Soehnle digital scales with players wearing underwear only and towel-dried of all sweat (postmatch). Tympanic temperature was recorded using a Braun ThermoScan Pro LT instant thermometer. Players were allowed to ingest fluid ad libitum throughout each match. Wet and dry bulb temperatures were recorded at the commencement and completion of each match. Significant changes in pregame to postgame body weight and tympanic temperature were found, but these were not influenced by the time of day that the game was played. The mean decrease in body weight was 0.86 kg (SE 0.085, p < 0.000), and the mean increase in tympanic temperature was 0.34[degrees] C (SE 0.070, p < 0.000). No significant differences in body weight or tympanic temperature change were found between forwards and backs. Participation in the English professional rugby league can produce significant decreases in body weight and increases in body temperature that may lead to impaired performance. It is important for participants, coaches, and administrators to introduce strategies that will minimize the impact of environmental conditions on thermoregulation and ultimately player performance.