Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition

Committee Chair

Kelly Pritchett

Second Committee Member

Robert Pritchett

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Broad

Abstract

Athletes with spinal cord injuries (SCI) have an impaired ability to thermoregulate during exercise, leading to an increased core temperature (Tcore) due to a decrease in sweat response. Elevated core temperature may result in premature onset of fatigue and decreased athletic performance. Therefore, precooling techniques that decrease Tcore before exercise may increase the storage capacity for metabolic heat production, thereby improving exercise performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of pre-exercise ice slurry ingestion as a precooling method in elite athletes with SCI during a match simulation. Employing a field-based, counterbalanced-design, subjects were administered 6.8 g/kg of room temperature (PLB) or ice slurry (IS) beverage during a 20 minute precooling period, before engaging in a 50 and 60 minute on-court training session on day 1 and 2, respectively. Physiological measures, including Tcore and heart rate, and perceptual measures including gastrointestinal and thermal comfort, and rating of perceived exertion, were monitored throughout precooling (minutes 10, 20) and exercise (minutes 10-60). IS had a large effect on Tcore at the midpoint of exercise on day 1 (minute 30) (ES = 0.73) and 2 (minute 40) (ES = 1.17). Independent samples T-tests revealed significant differences in the perception of thermal comfort between IS and PLB at the midpoint of exercise on both day 1 (minute 30) (P = 0.04) and 2 (minute 40) (P = 0.05), indicating that IS helped subjects to feel cooler during exercise. In conclusion, pre-exercise ice slurry ingestion provides an effective means for delaying an increase in Tcore in athletes with SCI.

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