Sports Letters: Training straining

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The Independent Online
Sir: The problem of the stale athlete is one which is increasingly worrying sports medics. Reports of top-class players being laid off with groin strains, tendinitis, ligament injuries and similar overuse problems are an almost daily feature of the sports pages. There is growing scientific evidence that high levels of intense exercise have an inhibiting effect on the defence and repair systems of the body, with well-documented evidence of elite athletes, in high intensity, endurance-type sports, showing increased susceptibility to both illness and injury.

While sports science is extremely good at telling us what has happened as a result of training, it cannot yet forecast when overload is about to happen. Maybe the England rugby squad should make some precautionary contributions to their local sperm bank now - just in case]

Yours faithfully

MALCOLM BOTTOMLEY

University of Bath

17 February

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