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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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posted on 30.03.2022, 14:43 authored by Sebastien Racinais, George HavenithGeorge Havenith, Polly AylwinPolly Aylwin, Mohammed Ihsan, Lee TaylorLee Taylor, Paolo Emilio Adami, Maria-Carmen Adamuz, Marine Alhammoud, Juan Manuel Alonso, Nicolas Bouscaren, Sebastian Buitrago, Marco Cardinale, Nicol van Dyk, Chris EshChris Esh, Josu Gomez-Ezeiza, Frederic Garrandes, Louis Holtzhausen, Mariem Labidi, Gűnter Lange, Alex LloydAlex Lloyd, Sebastien Moussay, Khouloud Mtibaa, Nathan Townsend, Mathew G Wilson, Stephane Bermon
PurposeTo determine associations between thermal responses, medical events, performance, heat acclimation and health status during a World Athletics Championships in hot-humid conditions.MethodsFrom 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.ResultsPeak 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).ConclusionTskin, 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.

Funding

World Athletics (formerly International Association of Athletics Federations)

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
  • Design and Creative Arts

Department

  • Design

Published in

British Journal of Sports Medicine

Volume

56

Issue

8

Pages

439-455

Publisher

BMJ

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by BMJ under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Acceptance date

26/01/2022

Publication date

2022-02-14

Copyright date

2022

ISSN

0306-3674

eISSN

1473-0480

Language

en

Depositor

Prof George Havenith. Deposit date: 28 March 2022