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Association between thermal responses, medical events, performance, heat acclimation and health status in male and female elite athletes during the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships

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submitted on 2024-04-25, 08:19 and posted on 2024-04-25, 08:19 authored by Sebastien Racinais, George Havenith, Polly Aylwin, Mohammed Ihsan, Lee Taylor, Paolo Emilio Adami, Maria-Carmen Adamuz, Marine Alhammoud, Juan Manuel Alonso, Nicolas Bouscaren, Sebastian Buitrago, Marco Cardinale, Nicol van Dyk, Chris J Esh, Josu Gomez-Ezeiza, Frederic Garrandes, Louis Holtzhausen, Mariem Labidi, Gűnter Lange, Alexander Lloyd, Sebastien Moussay, Khouloud Mtibaa, Nathan Townsend, Mathew G Wilson, Stephane Bermon

Purpose

To determine associations between thermal responses, medical events, performance, heat acclimation and health status during a World Athletics Championships in hot-humid conditions.

Methods

From 305 marathon and race-walk starters, 83 completed a preparticipation questionnaire on health and acclimation. Core (Tcore; ingestible pill) and skin (Tskin; thermal camera) temperatures were measured in-competition in 56 and 107 athletes, respectively. 70 in-race medical events were analysed retrospectively. Performance (% personal best) and did not finish (DNF) were extracted from official results.

Results

Peak Tcore during competition reached 39.6°C±0.6°C (maximum 41.1°C). Tskin decreased from 32.2°C±1.3°C to 31.0°C±1.4°C during the races (p<0.001). Tcore was not related to DNF (25% of starters) or medical events (p≥0.150), whereas Tskin, Tskin rate of decrease and Tcore-to-Tskin gradient were (p≤0.029). A third of the athletes reported symptoms in the 10 days preceding the event, mainly insomnia, diarrhoea and stomach pain, with diarrhoea (9% of athletes) increasing the risk of in-race medical events (71% vs 17%, p<0.001). Athletes (63%) who performed 5–30 days heat acclimation before the competition: ranked better (18±13 vs 28±13, p=0.009), displayed a lower peak Tcore (39.4°C±0.4°C vs 39.8°C±0.7°C, p=0.044) and larger in-race decrease in Tskin (−1.4°C±1.0°C vs −0.9°C±1.2°C, p=0.060), than non-acclimated athletes. Although not significant, they also showed lower DNF (19% vs 30%, p=0.273) and medical events (19% vs 32%, p=0.179).

Conclusion

Tskin, Tskin rate of decrease and Tcore-to-Tskin gradient were important indicators of heat tolerance. While heat-acclimated athletes ranked better, recent diarrhoea represented a significant risk factor for DNF and in-race medical events.

Other Information

Published in: British Journal of Sports Medicine
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
See article on publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2021-104569

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

BMJ

Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital - AZF
  • Qatar University
  • College of Education - QU
  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU

Methodology

From 305 marathon and race-walk starters, 83 completed a preparticipation questionnaire on health and acclimation. Core (Tcore; ingestible pill) and skin (Tskin; thermal camera) temperatures were measured in-competition in 56 and 107 athletes, respectively. 70 in-race medical events were analysed retrospectively. Performance (% personal best) and did not finish (DNF) were extracted from official results.

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