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Evaluation of passive recovery, cold water immersion, and contrast baths for recovery, as measured by game performances markers, between two simulated games of rugby union.

Higgins, Trevor1,2; Cameron, Melainie2,3; Climstein, Mike4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: June 11, 2012 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c32b9
Original Investigation: PDF Only

In team sports, during the competitive season, peak performance in each game is of utmost importance to coaching staff and players. To enhance recovery from training and games a number of recovery modalities have been adopted across professional sporting teams. To date there is little evidence in the sport science literature identifying the benefit of modalities in promoting recovery between sporting competition games. This research evaluated hydrotherapy as a recovery strategy following a simulated game of rugby union and a week of recovery and training, with dependent variables between two simulated games of rugby union evaluated. Twenty-four male players were randomly divided into three groups: one group (n=8) received cold water immersion therapy (2 X 5min at 10oC, whilst one group (n=8) received contrast bath therapy (5 cycles of 10oC/38oC) and the control group (n=8) underwent passive recovery (15mins, thermo neutral environment). The two forms of hydrotherapy were administered following a simulated rugby union game (8 circuits x 11 stations) and after three training sessions. Dependent variables where generated from five physical stations replicating movement characteristics of rugby union and one skilled based station, as well as sessional RPE values between two simulated games of rugby union. No significant differences were identified between groups across simulated games, across dependent variables. Effect size analysis via Cohen's d and ηp2 did identify medium trends between groups. Overall trends indicated that both treatment groups had performance results in the second simulated game above those of the control group of between 2% and 6% across the physical work stations replicating movement characteristics of rugby union. In conclusion, trends in this study may indicate that ice baths and contrasts baths may be more advantageous to athlete's recovery from team sport than passive rest between successive games of rugby union We are pleased to resubmit our revised manuscript JSCR-08-1992 and have addressed the comments and suggestions raised by the reviewers. Please find below a list of changes or rebuttal against each point.

1School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Australia

2Centre of Physical Activity Across the Lifespan (CoPAAL), School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Australia

3School of Health and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

4Bond University Research Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Science, Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine, Gold Coast, Australia

Corresponding author: Trevor Higgins, School of Exercise Science (NSW), Australian Catholic University, Locked Bag 2002, Strathfield, NSW, Australia 2135, P: +612 9630 2258, F: +612 9701 4290.

Disclose of funding: This research was completed as part of a doctoral degree at the Australian Catholic University, and was funded entirely by that university. Trevor Higgins was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award (scholarship).

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