Connor J. Gaige1, Joesi M. Krieger1, Anthony M. Hagele1, Joshua M. Iannotti1, Kevin F. Holley1, Chad M. Kerksick1, FACSM, & Petey W. Mumford1

1e-Sports Performance and Innovation Center, College of Science, Technology, and Health, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Missouri

The expansion of college e-Sports programs necessitates an exploration of the multifaceted factors influencing the performance and health of athletes competing within these programs. To date, there is sparse data available on health components of collegiate e-Sports athletes. PURPOSE: To provide a comprehensive understanding of the physiological characteristics and lifestyle aspects of collegiate e-Sports athletes, with a focus on body composition, sleep quality, monthly dietary patterns, weekly gameplay habits, and monthly occurrences of physical discomfort or injury. METHODS: 15 collegiate e-Sports athletes (20 ± 2 yrs, 178.3 ± 6.9 cm, 86.3 ± 23.8 kg, 26.4 ± 6.0 kg/ m², weekly gameplay: 6 ± 1 days, 44 ± 22 hrs) underwent DXA scans for body composition assessments, sleep was evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and dietary intake was assessed using the Dietary History Questionnaire III (DHQIII). Additionally, participants self-reported weekly game play and monthly occurrences of physical discomfort or injury. Associations were calculated using Spearman’s rank correlation. RESULTS: Body composition testing revealed an average lean mass of 57.5 ± 9.8 kg, body fat 28.1 ± 7.3 %, and FFMI 18.2 ± 2.6 FFM/m². PSQI scores were 5.3 ± 3.2, energy intake was 1785 ± 741 kcal, total HEI was 50 ± 9, caffeine intake was 64 ± 101 mg, and 25 % of athletes reported or dealt with some form of physical discomfort. There was a positive association between hours spent playing and body fat % (r= 0.62, p=0.014), days playing games was positively associated with lean mass (r= 0.75, p=0.001) and negatively associated with BMI (r= -0.53, p=0.042). There were negative associations between occurrences of physical discomfort and lean mass (r= -0.54, p=0.037), BMI (r= -0.53, p=0.042), total protein (r= -0.54, p=0.026), and a positive association with PSQI (r=0.69, p=0.002). CONCLUSION: Insights derived from this research demonstrate the potential need for targeted exercise and nutritional interventions, as well as support strategies for collegiate e-Sports athletes. Additionally, this emphasizes the need for improvements in the availability of athletic trainers, dieticians, strength and conditioning staff, and sports physicians for collegiate e-Sports athletes in the dynamic landscape of competitive gaming.

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