Abstract: Rugby union is a sport governed by the impacts of high force and high frequency. Analysis of physiological markers following a game can provide an understanding of the physiological response of an individual and the time course changes in response to recovery.Urine and saliva were collected from 11 elite amateur rugby players 24 h before, immediately after, and at 17, 25, 38, 62 and 86 h post-game. Myoglobin, salivary immunoglobulin A and cortisol were analysed by ELISA, whereas neopterin and total neopterin were analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography. There was a significant post-game increase of all four markers. The increases were cortisol 4-fold, myoglobin 2.85-fold, neopterin 1.75-fold and total neopterin 2.3-fold when corrected with specific gravity. All significant changes occurred post-game only, with markers returning to and remaining at baseline within 17 h. The intensity of the game caused significant changes in key physiological markers of stress. They provide an understanding of the stress experienced during a single game of rugby and the time course changes associated with player recovery. Neopterin provides a new marker of detecting an acute inflammatory response in physical exercise, while specific gravity should be considered for urine volume correction post-exercise.
- salivary immunoglobulin A