Sodium balance during U.S. football training in the heat: cramp-prone vs. reference players.


November 2009



U. S. football players with a history of heat cramps were evaluated for the effect of physical training, sodium intake, and loss of sweat sodium on whole blood sodium concentration (BNa). Athletes (n=14 males, 24+/-1 y) were recruited and studied based on medical history, age, and position. The reference group (R, n=8 without a cramping history) and cramp-prone group (C, n=6, history of whole-body cramps associated with extensive sweat loss during exercise in the heat) were measured for body mass and BNa (ISTAT) before and after team training of 2.2 h in hot conditions (WBGT=29-32 degrees C). Intake and loss of fluid and sodium were also measured to determine respective acute balance. In R, BNa was stable pre- to post-training (138.9+/-1.8 to 139.0+/-2.0 mmol/L) while it tended to decline in C (137.8+/-2.3 to 135.7+/-4.9 mmol/L), and three subjects in C had BNa values below 135 mmol/L (131.7+/-2.9 mmol/L). C consumed a greater percentage of total fluid as water (p0.05). Compared to R, C tended to experience a decline in BNa and greater acute sodium imbalance. These changes may place cramp-prone players at greater risks for developing acute sodium deficits during training. (c) Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart . New York.

Int J Sports Med. 30(11):789-794.

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