Biochemical and haematological parameters in football players

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The reference values usually listed in laboratory reports have been calculated on sedentary people and may not be useful for sports people. Athletes are, by definition, healthy and "normal" subjects, but they often show - owing to physical exercise, training, psychophysical stress, and peculiar environmental conditions - some biochemical, hormonal, and haematological values that are out of range. This particular behaviour of laboratory values must be properly interpreted to avoid incorrect treatment, expensive examinations, and possible cessation of training and competition. For example, in four blood drawings performed in a year on 36 athletes (102 drawings) of an Italian professional team, we found 9 cases with total bilirubin >1.2 mg/dl due to haemolysis and related catabolism of haemoglobin, which is typical of sports people: the increase was of indirect bilirubin unaccompanied by increases of hepatic enzymes or other potentially pathological laboratory or clinical signs. Creatinine and urea (although less frequently because of the lower sensitivity of urea), could show some values higher than 1.2 mg/dl in athletes with haemoconcentration and/or incorrectly rehydrated. The concentration is particularly important in football players when blood and urine are taken at the end of the match for anti-doping purposes. Recording and evaluation of specific gravity of urine is mandatory for judging the accuracy and validity of urine testing for biochemical and toxicological substances. There is no system of reference values for athletes or for specific sports and, generally, there is a lack of data in this field. There are few studies on haematological values in football players [1, 2], and modern reference values for biochemical and haematological parameters are available [3, 4]. Nevertheless, reference values should be evaluated in comparison with biological variability (Vb). The ratio between intra-individual and inter-individual variability (CVi/CVg) is the "individuality index", and it provides information about the biological individuality of a specific analyte and, conse quently, about the need for using a reference range obtained from a general population. For instance, an index >1.4 identifies the utility of a reference range whilst an index

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFootball Traumatology: Current Concepts: From Prevention to Treatment
PublisherSpringer Milan
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)8847004187, 9788847004184
Publication statusPublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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