Body size, physique, body composition and physiological performance of elite athletes are independent aspects, have aroused the interest of exercise scientists, but studies that combine these aspects in elite athletes are scarcely available. The aim of the present study was to describe the selected anthropometric and exercise physiological characteristics of some Hungarian top athletes. The investigated subjects were qualified Hungarian water polo players (n=25), paddlers (n=24) and modem pentathlonists (n=20), all of whom had been medalists at several continental and intercontinental competitions. The athletes' body composition was estimated by the Drinkwater-Ross (45) body mass fractionation technique. Peak physiological performance was estimated by graded exhausting spiroergometric treadmill exercise. Intergroup differences in mean height, body mass and body composition characteristics were significant at the 5% level of random error. By the results of spiroergometry, all the three groups compared could be qualified as physically excellently trained. The greatest oxygen uptake relative to body mass was found in the modern pentathlonists (73.22 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) and the lowest one (59.79) in the water polo players. The authors do not disregard the favourable effects of regular and adequate trainings in the development of the studied characteristics, but in their opinion the process of proper selection has been the most important factor that explains the observed significant intergroup differences.
Effects of different sports on bone density and muscle mass in highly trained athletes
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Apr;33(4):507-11.
Andreoli A, Monteleone M, Van Loan M, Promenzio L, Tarantino U, De Lorenzo A.
Human Nutrition Unit and Orthopedic Clinic, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.
PURPOSE: It is known that participating in sports can have a beneficial effect on bone mass. However, it is not well established which sport is more beneficial for increased bone mineral density (BMD) and appendicular muscle mass (AMM). This study investigated the effects of different high-intensity activities on BMD and AMM in highly trained athletes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sixty-two male subjects aged 18--25 yr participated in the study. The sample included judo (J; N = 21), karate (K; N = 14), and water polo (W; N = 24) athletes who all competed at national and international level. Twelve age-matched nonathletic individuals served as the control group (C). All athletes exercised regularly for at least 3 h x d(-1), 6 d x wk(-1). Segmental, total BMD, and AMM were measured with a dual-energy x-ray (DXA) absorptiometry (Lunar Corp., Madison, WI). DXA analysis also includes bone mineral content (BMC) and fat and lean masses.
RESULTS: Total BMD(C) was significantly lower (mean +/- SD: 1.27 +/- 0.06 g x cm(-2), P < 0.05) than either judo or karate athletes (total BMD(J) (1.4 +/- 0.06 g x cm(-2)) and total BMD(K) (1.36 +/- 0.08 g x cm(-2))) but not different from the W athletes (total BMD(W) (1.31 +/- 0.09 g x cm(-2))). AMM was significantly lower in the C group compared with the three athletic groups (P < 0.05). Fat mass was higher in the W versus J and K athletes but not different from the C group (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: This cross-sectional study has shown that athletes, especially those engaged in high-impact sports, have significantly higher total BMD and AMM than controls. These results suggest that the type of sport activity may be an important factor in achieving a high peak bone mass and reducing osteoporosis risk.
Echocardiographic and ambulatory electrocardiographic findings in elite water-polo athletes.
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2001 Jun;11(3):149-55
Zakynthinos E, Vassilakopoulos T, Mavrommati I, Filippatos G, Roussos C, Zakynthinos S.
Critical Care Department, University of Athens, Greece.
The aim of this study was to investigate the echocardiographic and electrocardiographic findings in top water-polo athletes and test the hypothesis that their hearts exhibit dilatation associated with hypertrophy secondary to the mixed type (isotonic and isometric) of exercise they are subjected to. Eighteen athletes of the Greek national water-polo team and 15 healthy sedentary men serving as controls were studied. All underwent an echocardiogram, a standard 12-lead ECG and 24-h ECG monitoring. In athletes, as compared to healthy controls, an increase was detected in the following indices: left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic diameter index (EDDI-LV) (by 10%; P = 0.02), interventricular septal thickness (IVS) (by 32%; P<0.001), thickness of the posterior wall (PW) (by 29%; P<0.001), relative wall thickness (IVS + PW/EDD-LV) (by 12%; P < 0.001) and LV mass index (by 82%; P < 0.001). Mild asymmetric thickening of the septum (IVS/PW = 1.40 and 1.37) was measured in two athletes. LV fractional shortening was normal. Standard 12-lead ECG abnormalities (LV hypertrophy or abnormal repolarization pattern) were observed in 33% of athletes. Athletes had sinus bradycardia during day and night, respiratory arrhythmia (RA) (83% vs 40% of controls; P = 0.03) and sinus pauses (SP) (39% vs 0% of controls; P = 0.02), with occassional arrhythmias and conduction abnormalities. We conclude that top water-polo athletes have dilatation combined with substantial hypertrophy and normal systolic function of the LV In addition they present bradycardia, RA and SP, with occassional arrhythmias and conduction abnormalities.
Comparing sports injuries in men and women
Int J Sports Med. 2001 Aug;22(6):420-3.
Sallis RE, Jones K, Sunshine S, Smith G, Simon L.
Department of Family Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Fontana, Californa, USA.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the pattern of injury between men and women in seven collegiate sports to determine if gender-specific factors exist which could be modified to reduce the risk of injury to female athletes.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study of injury reports compiled by certified athletic trainers between Fall 1980 and Spring 1995.
SETTING: An NCAA division III College.
PARTICIPANTS: Eighteen to 22 year-old male and female college athletes competing in seven like sports (basketball, cross-country running, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and water polo) at the intercollegiate level, playing similar number of contests and using the same facilities.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Analyses of injury patterns, classified by sport and anatomic location, for men and women in seven like sports.
RESULTS: A total of 3,767 participants were included in the study, with 1874 sports-related injuries reported among the men and women's teams. Of these injuries, 856 (45.7%) were sustained by female and 1018 (54.3%) by male athletes. Overall, no statistically significant gender difference was found for injuries per 100 participant-years (52.5 for female athlete versus 47.7 for males). A statistically significant gender difference in injury incidence (p < 0.001) was seen for two sports: swimming and water polo. Female swimmers reported more back/neck, shoulder, hip, knee and foot injuries: and female water polo players reported more shoulder injuries. When evaluating all sports concurrently, female athletes reported a higher rate of hip, lower-leg and shoulder injuries, while male athletes reported a higher rate of thigh injuries.
CONCLUSION: Except for some minor gender differences in total injuries for two sports and several differences in total injuries by anatomic location, our data suggest very little difference in the pattern of injury between men and women competing in comparable sports. The increased rate of shoulder injury among female swimmers probably resulted from the more rigorous training philosophy of their coach. Thus, no gender-specific recommendations can be suggested for decreasing the incidence of injury to female athletes competing in these sports.