Pre-game hydration status of athletes competing at the 2001 Arafura games in Darwin

Wood, R.J., Finn, J.P., Marsden, J.F., Pre-game hydration status of athletes competing at the 2001 Arafura games in Darwin, Proceedings of the Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2001: A Sports Medicine Odyssey challenges, controversies and change.

This study assessed the pre-competition hydration status of male athletes from the sports of volleyball (n=43), touch (n=32) and basketball (n=18) during the Arafura Games. All athletes were tested prior to their first game, then 68 of these were retested 3-4 days later. Each time they provided a urine sample for determination of urine specific gravity (Usg) and color (Ucol). A questionnaire on the previous 24 hours activities was also completed. The mean Usg of all samples was 1.020 ± 0.008, with 8% classified as hypohydrated, 70% as euhydrated and 22% hyperhydrated. There was no difference between the first and second samples. Touch had a greater percentage of players in each of the hypohydrated and hyperhydrated range. There was no relationship of Usg with age, acclimatization status, alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption and activity level. Previous 24 hr fluid intake was negatively associated with Usg. There was a high correlation (r=0.87) between Ucol and Usg, though Ucol tended to underestimate hydration levels. Generally hydration levels were better than previously published results, though many athletes were still hypohydrated and therefore at risk of heat stress. Recommendations for future similar events are to increase hydration education and awareness for all athletes, irrespective of acclimatization level. Ucol can be used by athletes as a simple, inexpensive and immediate measure to monitor hydration status prior to exercise.

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