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Influence of a Vented Mouthguard on Physiological Responses in Handball

Schulze, Antina; Laessing, Johannes; Kwast, Stefan; Busse, Martin

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 23, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002596
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Schulze, A, Laessing, J, Kwast, S, and Busse, M. Influence of a vented mouthguard on physiological responses in handball. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2018—Mouthguards (MGs) improve sports safety. However, airway obstruction and a resulting decrease in performance are theoretical disadvantages regarding their use. The study aim was to assess possible limitations of a “vented” MG on aerobic performance in handball. The physiological effects were investigated in 14 male professional players in a newly developed handball-specific course. The measured values were oxygen uptake, ventilation, heart rate, and lactate. Similar oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2) values were observed with and without MG use (51.9 ± 6.4 L·min−1·kg−1 vs. 52.1 ± 10.9 L·min−1·kg−1). During maximum load, ventilation was markedly lower with the vented MG (153.1 ± 25 L·min−1 vs. 166.3 ± 20.8 L·min−1). The endexpiratory concentrations of O2 (17.2 ± 0.5% vs. 17.6 ± 0.8%) and CO2 (4.0 ± 0.5% vs. 3.7 ± 0.6%) were significantly lower and higher, respectively, when using the MG. The inspiration and expiration times with and without the MG were 0.6 ± 0.1 seconds vs. 0.6 ± 0.1 seconds and 0.7 ± 0.2 seconds vs. 0.6 ± 0.2 seconds (all not significant), respectively, indicating that there was no relevant airflow restriction. The maximum load was not significantly affected by the MG. The lower ventilation for given V[Combining Dot Above]O2 values associated with MG use may be an effect of improved biomechanics and lower respiratory drive of the peripheral musculature.

Institute of Sports Medicine, General Outpatient Ambulance, Department of Sports Dentistry, University of Leipzig, Germany

Address correspondence to Antina Schulze, a.schulze@uni-leipzig.de.

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