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Monitoring stress and recovery: new insights for the prevention of injuries and illnesses in elite youth soccer players


Objective Elite youth soccer players have a relatively high risk for injuries and illnesses due to increased physical and psychosocial stress. The aim of this study is to investigate how measures to monitor stress and recovery, and its analysis, provide useful information for the prevention of injuries and illnesses in elite youth soccer players.

Methods 53 elite soccer players between 15 and 18 years of age participated in this study. To determine physical stress, soccer players registered training and match duration and session rating of perceived exertion for two competitive seasons by means of daily training logs. The Dutch version of the Recovery Stress Questionnaire for athletes (RESTQ-Sport) was administered monthly to assess the psychosocial stress–recovery state of players. The medical staff collected injury and illness data using the standardised Fédération Internationale de Football Association registration system. ORs and 95% CIs were calculated for injuries and illnesses using multinomial regression analyses. The independent measures were stress and recovery.

Results During the study period, 320 injuries and 82 illnesses occurred. Multinomial regression demonstrated that physical stress was related to both injury and illness (range OR 1.01 to 2.59). Psychosocial stress and recovery were related the occurrence of illness (range OR 0.56 to 2.27).

Conclusions Injuries are related to physical stress. Physical stress and psychosocial stress and recovery are important in relation to illness. Individual monitoring of stress and recovery may provide useful information to prevent soccer players from injuries and illnesses.

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