Greater chance of high core temperatures with modified pacing strategy during team sport in the heat

J Sci Med Sport. 2014 Jan;17(1):113-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.02.013. Epub 2013 May 17.


Objectives: To measure the activity profile, hydration status and core temperature of elite team sport athletes during matches in hot and cool conditions.

Design: Thirty-five professional Australian footballers (age 25.9 ± 3.5 yrs; height 188.4 ± 7.8 cm; body mass 90.6 ± 8.8 kg), gave informed consent to participate in this study. Core temperature (T(c)), hydration and running performance were compared in eight hot and eight cool matches classified via a rating of the risk of heat illness from the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT).

Methods: Core temperature was measured via an ingestible sensor before matches and after each quarter and player movement was recorded by 5 Hz GPS and expressed per period of the match (rotation), for distance; high-intensity running (HIR, 4.17-10.00 m s(-1)), sprinting (>4.17 m s(-1)) and maximal accelerations (2.78-10.00 m s(-2)). All data was compared for hot and cool matches and the magnitude of effects was analysed with the effect size (ES) statistic.

Results: Core temperature was elevated from rest at all time-points during matches (37.3-39.4 °C), with small additional elevations after the first and third quarters in hot matches (ES: 0.39 ± 0.40 and 0.37 ± 0.42 respectively). In hot matches 12 players had T(c)>40 °C but only one in cool matches. Total distance was reduced in the latter parts of each half (-6.5%, -0.49 ± 0.58; and -6.7%, -0.57 ± 0.59), yet the high intensity tasks of sprinting and accelerating were preserved.

Conclusions: Players tolerated core temperatures up to 40.5 °C during hot matches but reduced the volume of running undertaken, thus preserving the ability to undertake high intensity activities.

Keywords: Football; Hot temperature; Hyperthermia; Sport.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature*
  • Football / physiology*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Running / physiology
  • Young Adult