Background: Exercise is a prone condition to enhanced oxidative stress and damage and the specific activity pattern of a soccer match may favour additional pro-oxidant redox alterations. To date, no studies have reported the impact of a soccer match on oxidative stress and muscle damage markers.
Aim: To analyse the effect of a competitive soccer match on plasma levels of oxidative stress and muscle damage markers, and to relate these findings with lower limb functional data.
Methods: Blood samples, leg muscle strength, sprint ability and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) were obtained in 16 soccer players before, at 30 min, 24, 48 and 72 h after a soccer match. Plasma creatine kinase (CK), myoglobin (Mb), malondialdehyde (MDA), sulfhydryl (-SH) groups, total antioxidant status (TAS), uric acid (UA) and blood leukocyte counts were determined.
Results: A soccer match elevated plasma Mb following 30 min and CK levels throughout the 72 h-recovery period. MDA increased throughout the recovery period and -SH decreased until 48 h post-match. TAS increased at 30 min and UA increased throughout the 72 h recovery. Blood neutrophils increased at 30 min whereas lymphocytes decreased and returned to baseline from 24 to 72 h. DOMS was higher than baseline until 72 h. Lower limb strength and sprint ability were lower than baseline until 72 h recovery.
Conclusion: The present data suggest that a soccer match increases the levels of oxidative stress and muscle damage throughout the 72 h-recovery period. The extent to which the redox alterations are associated with the recovery of muscle function should be further analysed.