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J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2017 Mar 1;17(1):386-398.

Changes in body composition and bone of female collegiate soccer players through the competitive season and off-season.

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EA Martin Program in Human Nutrition, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA.



To assess body composition and bone changes pre- to post-season (pre-post) and post- to off-season (post-off) in female soccer athletes (SC).


Outcomes were assessed using DXA and pQCT in 23 SC and 17 controls at three times throughout season.


SC, non-starters in particular, lost lean mass pre-post (-0.9±0.2 kg, p<0.01; not different from controls, p=0.2) and gained fat mass post-off (1.4±0.3 kg, p<0.01; differed from controls, p=0.01). Baseline femoral neck and hip aBMD were higher in SC than controls (both,p<0.04), but increased in controls more than SC in pre-post and decreased post-off. SC cortical bone mineral content (BMC), cortical area and periosteal circumference increased pre-post (all, p<0.01; differed from controls, p<0.05) and trabecular vBMD decreased post-off (-3.0±1.3 mg/cm3; p=0.02; not different from controls, p=0.4). Both SC and controls increased cortical BMC, cortical area, and thickness post-off (all, p<0.01).


Soccer players lost lean mass over the competitive season that was not recovered during off-season. Bone size increased pre- to post-season. Female soccer athletes experience body composition and bone geometry changes that differ depending on the time of season and on athlete's playing status. Evaluations of athletes at key times across the training season are necessary to understand changes that occur.

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