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Article Title

THERMOREGULATORY IMPAIRMENTS IMPOSED BY MEN’S LACROSSE EQUIPMENT IN THE HEAT

Abstract

Whitley C. Atkins1, Ikuo Kato1, Mahendran Balasubramanian1, Brendon P. McDermott1, FACSM1University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Exertional heat illness remains one of the leading causes of death in sport, especially in hot and humid conditions. Previous research has shown an impairment in thermoregulation while wearing American football and hockey equipment. However, the effects of men’s lacrosse protective equipment have yet to be determined. PURPOSE: Investigate the effect of men’s lacrosse equipment on thermoregulatory responses during simulated lacrosse exercise in the heat (30°C, 50% RH). METHODS: Sixteen male volunteers (21.8 ± 3.2y,76.2 ± 8.9kg, 181.3 ± 6.1cm) with previous equipment intensive sport experience completed one trial while wearing protective lacrosse equipment(shoulder and elbow pads, gloves and helmet; EQ) and one trial without equipment(shorts and jersey; NEQ).Trials included 60-min of simulated lacrosse exercise separated into four 12-min sessions, each separated by four-min of rest. Hydration status was maintained by replenishing fluid loss throughout trials. Rectal temperature (Trec), heart rate (HR), mean weighted skin temperature (Tskin), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and thermal sensation (TS) were assessed during rest breaks. Physiological strain index (PSI) was calculated as previously described. Paired samples t-tests or repeated measures analyses of variance, with Bonferroni post-hoc testing, were used to identify significant differences (p≤0.05). RESULTS: There was no significant difference in Trec between trials (p=.084), however, maximum Trec achieved was greater in EQ (39.3 ± 0.7°C) compared to NEQ (39.0 ± 0.7°C; p=.016). Regardless of time point, HR (p≤.001) and PSI (p=.004) were significantly greater in EQ compared to NEQ. Tskin was significantly elevated in EQ compared to NEQ throughout trials (p≤.001). Perceptually, EQ increased RPE (p=.003) and TS (p=.012) compared to NEQ throughout trials. Urine specific gravity (USG)following trials was not significantly different between trials (p=.151). CONCLUSION: Trial differences in Trec, HR and perceptual measures suggest a greater impairment in thermoregulation while wearing men’s lacrosse equipment in the heat. Supervising entities for men’s lacrosse should mandate heat acclimatization periods similar to those in place for American football to ensure athlete safety.

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