Int J Sports Med 2020; 41(13): 895-911
DOI: 10.1055/a-1180-3692
Review

Returning to Play after Prolonged Training Restrictions in Professional Collision Sports

1  Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
2  Medical Services, Rugby Football Union, Twickenham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Ben Jones
3  Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) Centre, Leeds Beckett University Carnegie Faculty, Leeds, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
4  Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club, Leeds, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
5  England Performance Unit, Rugby Football League Ltd, Leeds, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
6  Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Cape Town, Faculty of Health Sciences, Cape Town, South Africa
,
Mark Bennett
7  Rugby Union of Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation
8  Applied Sport Technology Exercise and Medicine Research Centre (A-STEM), Swansea University College of Engineering, Swansea, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Graeme L. Close
9  Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irelan
10  Professional Rugby Department, Rugby Football Union, Twickenham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Nicholas Gill
11  New Zealand Rugby Union, Wellington, New Zealand
12  Te HuatakiWaiora School of Health, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
,
James H. Hull
13  Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Andreas M. Kasper
10  Professional Rugby Department, Rugby Football Union, Twickenham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Simon P.T. Kemp
2  Medical Services, Rugby Football Union, Twickenham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Stephen D. Mellalieu
14  Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Nicholas Peirce
15  Sport Science & Medicine, England and Wales Cricket Board, Loughborough, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Bob Stewart
2  Medical Services, Rugby Football Union, Twickenham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Benjamin T. Wall
16  School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Stephen W. West
1  Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
,
Matthew Cross
1  Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
10  Professional Rugby Department, Rugby Football Union, Twickenham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has resulted in widespread training disruption in many sports. Some athletes have access to facilities and equipment, while others have limited or no access, severely limiting their training practices. A primary concern is that the maintenance of key physical qualities (e. g. strength, power, high-speed running ability, acceleration, deceleration and change of direction), game-specific contact skills (e. g. tackling) and decision-making ability, are challenged, impacting performance and injury risk on resumption of training and competition. In extended periods of reduced training, without targeted intervention, changes in body composition and function can be profound. However, there are strategies that can dramatically mitigate potential losses, including resistance training to failure with lighter loads, plyometric training, exposure to high-speed running to ensure appropriate hamstring conditioning, and nutritional intervention. Athletes may require psychological support given the challenges associated with isolation and a change in regular training routine. While training restrictions may result in a decrease in some physical and psychological qualities, athletes can return in a positive state following an enforced period of rest and recovery. On return to training, the focus should be on progression of all aspects of training, taking into account the status of individual athletes.



Publication History

Received: 14 May 2020

Accepted: 14 May 2020

Publication Date:
29 May 2020 (online)

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