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Workloads, neuromuscular fatigue, injury and performance in elite Australian football players
This research will assess the relationship between factors that may impact both player performance and injury incidence in Australian football (AF). Two key factors that will be looked at are player workloads and neuromuscular fatigue levels. Workloads will be quantified by multiplying ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and duration (min) from every prescribed training session and match from all players from one professional AF club to obtain an arbitrary unit. Neuromuscular fatigue levels will be assessed on a weekly basis, via a variety of muscular power tests, using linear transducer technology. These factors will be used to assess the relationship between injury incidence and player performance in matches across two full Australian Football League seasons.
In the world of elite sports, improving athlete performance and decreasing injury risk is considered paramount to the success of the team and the individual. There are many factors that may influence injury risk and the performance of the athlete. This study is the first in AF to quantify workloads and neuromuscular fatigue to better understand their impact on both injury and performance.
The measurement of neuromuscular fatigue through a basic lower body muscular power test, and using session RPE to quantify workloads may potentially help indicate when a player is at a higher odds of injury and/or decreased performance. Both elite and sub-elite athletes could use these in-expensive and practical measures of workload and neuromuscular fatigue if proven to be an effective screening tool for injury risk and performance in competition.