Article Title



EE Worley


Emma E. Worley. University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

BACKGROUND: Preseason fall training camp is one of the most physically demanding time periods for American football players. The increased external load is typically accompanied by a greater rate of injury, however it is unknown if certain player positions experience greater physical stress than others. The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in external loads of positional groups using global positioning satellite (GPS) technology during preseason fall training camp. METHODS: Sixty-nine National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I football players were monitored using GPS receivers with integrated accelerometers and gyroscope (Catapult) during 14 practices throughout the 2022 preseason fall training camp. Groups were categorized as skill (SK: defensive backs, quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, n = 30), midfield (MD: linebackers, tight ends, n = 9), or linemen (LM: defensive line, offensive line, edge players, n = 30) positions. Mean daily external load (Player Load [PL]) was quantified as the sum of accelerations across all axes of the internal triaxial accelerometer during movement in arbitrary units (AU). Differences in PL between positional groups were determined by one-way ANOVA with post-hoc Bonferroni statistical analyses. An alpha level of 0.05 was used to determine statistical significance. RESULTS: The mean practice PL for SK was 391 AU, MD was 364 AU, and LM was 305 AU. The ANOVA revealed significant differences (p < 0.01) between positional groups. Post-hoc tests indicated significant differences in PL between LM and MD (p < 0.01) and between LM and SK (p < 0.01). However, no significant differences were found between SK and MD (p = 0.44) positional groups. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest LM positions have significantly lower external demands compared to other positions during preseason fall training camp. It is unknown from this study if these loads are appropriate based on game demands, or if LM need to increase workload during preseason to be adequately prepared for competition. Therefore, future studies should investigate positional differences in PL during season practices and games to better understand the cumulative demands on each position. Additionally, future studies should compare external load determined by PL to novel load metrics in LM positions.

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