• Season-long increases in perceived muscle soreness in professional rugby league players: role of player position, match characteristics and playing surface

      Fletcher, Ben D.; Twist, Craig; Haigh, Julian; Brewer, Clive; Morton, James P.; Close, Graeme L.; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2015-09-14)
      Rugby League (RL) is a high-impact collision sport characterised by repeated sprints and numerous high-speed impacts and consequently players often report immediate and prolonged muscle soreness in the days after a match. We examined muscle soreness after matches during a full season to understand the extent to which match characteristics influence soreness. Thirty-one elite Super League players provided daily measures of muscle soreness after each of the 26 competitive fixtures of the 2012 season. Playing position, phase of the season, playing surface and match characteristics were recorded from each match. Muscle soreness peaked at day 1 and was still apparent at day 4 post-game with no attenuation in the magnitude of muscle soreness over the course of the season. Neither playing position, phase of season or playing surface had any effects on the extent of muscle soreness. Playing time and total number of collisions were significantly correlated with higher ratings of muscle soreness, especially in the forwards. These data indicate the absence of a repeated bout effect or ‘contact adaptations’ in elite rugby players with soreness present throughout the entire season. Strategies must now be implemented to deal with the physical and psychological consequences of prolonged feeling of pain