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Effect of long-term soccer training on changes in cardiac function during exercise in elite youth soccer players

journal contribution
posted on 10.02.2022, 11:22 by Viswanath Balagopalan Unnithan, Thomas Rowland, Keith George, Andisheh Bakhshi, Alexander Beaumont, Nicholas Sculthorpe, Rachel LordRachel Lord, David Lee Oxborough
It is unclear what the effect of long-term, high-volume soccer training has on left ventricular (LV)
function during exercise in youth soccer players. This study evaluated changes in LV function during
submaximal exercise in a group of highly-trained male soccer players (SP) as they transitioned over a
three-year period from pre-adolescent to adolescent athletes. Data were compared to age-and sex matched recreationally active controls (CON) over the same time period. Twenty-two SP from two
professional English Premier League youth soccer academies (age: 12.0 ± 0.3 years at start of the
study) and 15 CON (age: 11.7 ± 0.3 years) were recruited. Two-dimensional echocardiography was
used to quantify LV function during exercise at the same submaximal metabolic load (approx.
45%VO2peak) across the 3 years. After controlling for growth and maturation, there were training induced changes and superiority (p<0.001) in cardiac index (QIndex) from year 1 in the SP compared
to CON. SP (year 1: 6.13 ± 0.76; year 2: 6.94 ± 1.31 and year 3: 7.20 ± 1.81 L/min/m2
) compared to
CON (year 1: 5.15 ± 1.12; year 2: 4.67 ± 1.04 and year 3: 5.49 ± 1.06 L/min/m2
). Similar training induced increases were noted for mitral inflow velocity (E): SP (year 1: 129 ± 12; year 2: 143 ± 16 and
year 3: 135 ± 18 cm/s) compared to CON (year 1: 113 ± 10; year 2: 111 ± 12 and year 3: 121 ± 9
cm/s).This study indicated that there was evidence of yearly, training-induced increases in left
ventricular function during submaximal exercise independent from the influence of growth and
maturation in elite youth SP


Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports




AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Unnithan, V.B., Rowland, T., George, K., Bakhshi, A., Beaumont, A., Sculthorpe, N., Lord, R.N. and Oxborough, D.L. (2022)T'he effect of long‐term soccer training on changes in cardiac function during exercise in elite youth soccer players', Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. doi: 10.1111/sms.14140

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Rachel Lord

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Cardiovascular Physiology

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