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Behaviour of saliva cortisol [C], testosterone [T] and the T/C ratio during a rugby match and during the post-competition recovery days
M. Elloumi1, F. Maso1, O. Michaux1, A. Robert1 and G. Lac1
(1) Laboratoire de physiologie de la performance motrice, Univ B. Pascal, Bat Biologie B, Les Cézeaux, 63177 Aubière, France
Competition is a more demanding situation than other strenuous exercise of equivalent duration; it results in stronger physiological changes. The object of this study was to get information on the duration of the recovery period by measuring changes of saliva cortisol [C], testosterone [T] and their ratio T/C in a group of international rugby players (n=20) during the week following a rugby match (6 days). Using non-invasive saliva assays, we were able to take samples during the day of competition and the post-competitive days. Hormone levels were assayed with a routine in-house radioimmunoassay (RIA) method. Throughout the competition, C levels increased sharply (about 2.5-fold compared resting values) and returned to basal values within 4 h. Conversely, the T level decreased slightly. During the recovery period, C levels were lower and T levels were higher than basal values, resulting in a very high T/C ratio until the 5th day. This high post-competitive T/C ratio phase is probably required to restore the break-down of homeostasis induced by the very hard mental and physical strain associated with a rugby match. Thus, a period of 1 week recovery appears to be the minimal duration between two competitions.
Keywords Competition - Cortisol - Recovery - Rugby - Saliva - T/C ratio - Testosterone