Clinical management of immunosuppression in sportsmen-women: recommendations for sports medicine physicians and physiotherapists
Keywords: overtraining, immune, cytokines, sports, stress, hormones, sports performance
AbstractIn sportsmen and sportswomen the Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) can be a physically debilitating medical condition that results in these men and women being totally compromised in their capacity to perform and compete athletically. Many physiological systems are affected by the process of overtraining and the OTS; but one system in particular, the immune, is highly susceptible to degradation resulting in a reduction in overall health and performance. The aim of this paper is twofold; 1) to review the evidence-based proactive steps and actions to greatly reduce the risk of development of an infection or a compromised immune system in sportsmen; and 2) to recommend the course of action for clinicians when they are dealing with an sportsmen and women displaying overt signs of an infection and, or inflammation. Based upon the evidence reviewed-presented herewithin, it can be concluded that it is essential for clinicians to take practical preventative and management steps – actions with sportsmen-women involved in intensive exercise training in order to help preserve a healthy and robust immune system.