Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 369 - 375

Research article
Repeated Treadmill Sprints Impair Cognitive Performance in Amateur Team-Sport Athletes When Performed in Normobaric Hypoxia
Jaime D. Morrison1, , Karlee Quinn1,2, Luke A. MacDonald1,2, Francois Billaut3, Clare Minahan1
Author Information
1 Griffith Sports Physiology and Performance, School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Parklands Drive, Gold Coast, Queensland 4215, Australia
2 Queensland Academy of Sport, Nathan, Queensland 4111, Australia
3 Département de kinésiologie, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada

Jaime D. Morrison
✉ Griffith Sports Physiology and Performance, School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Parklands Drive, Gold Coast, Queensland 4215, Australia
Publish Date
Received: 09-01-2019
Accepted: 29-04-2019
Published (online): 01-06-2019
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This study determined if a single bout of repeated-sprint running under hypoxic (RSH) conditions was associated with impaired cognitive function when compared with repeated-sprint running under normoxic (RSN) conditions. Eleven amateur team-sport athletes performed a repeated-sprint running protocol (4 sets of 4, 4-s all-out sprints; i.e., RSR444) under both conditions (14.5% and 20.9% O2) on a non-motorized treadmill. Changes in SpO2, pre-frontal cortex total haemoglobin (Δ[THb]), oxyhaemoglobin (Δ[O2Hb]), deoxyhaemoglobin (Δ[HHb]) and cognitive function (detection task: DET; identification task: IDN; one card learning task: OCL; performed pre and 20 min post RSR444) were examined. During RSH, SpO2 was lower following each set (p ≤ 0.05), while [HHb] was higher after each set (p ≤ 0.05) compared with RSN. In addition, while there was no effect of condition on DET (p = 0.20) or IDN (p = 0.14), OCL accuracy was lower after, compared with before, RSH (p=0.04), but not RSN (p = 0.52). A significant relationship was observed between Δ[HHB] and ΔOCL accuracy (r = -0.68, p = 0.01). Performance of a single bout of RSH with 14.5% O2 resulted in impaired cognitive function in amateur team-sport athletes. Coaches should be mindful of timing of RSH prescription with regard to other training sessions that challenge speed and movement accuracy.

Key words: Altitude, RSH, sports, cerebral oxygenation, exercise, cognition

           Key Points
  • Repeated-sprint training in hypoxia (RSH) can temporarily impair cognitive function in team-sport athletes.
  • Given that decrements in cognitive function may predispose athletes to knee injuries, coaches should be mindful of the timing of prescription of RSH relative to other training sessions during which knee injuries might occur.
  • Repeated-sprint training in normoxia (RSN) did not affect cognitive function in the present study.
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