Sarah L. Grace1, Abigail P. Cooley1, Paula Parker1, Jennifer A. Bunn, FACSM2. 1Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC. 2Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX.

BACKGROUND: Athlete wellness—a subjective measure assessing the response to the previous day’s physiological and psychological stress—has subsequent influence on the following day’s performance. Game location (i.e., home, away) is also believed to influence performance. The purpose of this study was to determine if game location, game day wellness, or pre-game day wellness were related to game outcome for a collegiate women’s lacrosse team. METHODS: Athletes (n = 34) completed a daily subjective wellness survey each morning. The survey consisted of four questions related to muscle soreness, sleep quality, stress, and fatigue. Each question was rated in arbitrary units (AU) using the anchors of 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100, with higher scores representing positive affect. The scores of each of the four responses were averaged to calculate the overall wellness score. Individual athlete wellness scores from the day prior to a game and game day were categorized as above or below the team mean for each game. A chi-square analysis was used to evaluate the relationship between the wellness variables and game location with the game outcome. RESULTS: The season consisted of seven losses and nine wins, with 10 games played at an away location and six games played at home. Location was not related to game outcome (p = .152), nor were any of the game day wellness sub-scores or composite score (wellness: 71.4 ± 2.7 AU, p = .614; muscle soreness: 63.8 ± 2.9 AU, p = .527; sleep: 83.0 ± 3.4 AU, p = .527; energy: 80.0 ± 1.5 AU, p = .490; stress: 65.0 ± 4.7 AU, p = .490) or the pre-game day wellness sub-scores or composite scores (wellness: 66.2 ± 2.2 AU, p = .614; muscle soreness: 57.3 ± 5.7 AU, p = .3691; sleep: 76.8 ± 4.0 AU, p = .308; energy: 72.8 ± 5.2 AU, p = .853; stress: 61.7 ± 6.8 AU, p = .170). CONCLUSIONS: Game location, pre-game day wellness, and game day wellness were not related to game outcome in Division I women’s lacrosse athletes. These findings refute previous beliefs regarding the importance of “home field advantage.” Further exploration regarding sleep quality differences in relation to game location and subsequent game outcome are warranted.

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