Objective. To assess the drinking behaviours of top competitors during an Olympic marathon. Methods. Retrospective video analysis of the top four finishers in both the male and female 2004 Athens Olympic marathons plus the pre-race favourite in the female race in order to assess total time spent drinking. One male and female runner involved in a laboratory drinking simulation trial.
Results. For the five female athletes, 37 of a possible 73 drinking episodes were captured. The female race winner was filmed at 11 of 15 drinking stations. Her total drinking time was 23.6 seconds; extrapolated over 15 seconds this would have increased to 32.2 seconds for a total of 27 sips of fluid during the race. Eighteen of a possible 60 drinking episodes for the top four male marathon finishers were filmed. The total drinking time for those 18 episodes was 11.4 seconds. A laboratory simulation found that a female athlete of approximately the same weight as the female Olympic winner might have been able to ingest a maximum of 810 ml (350 ml.h-1) from 27 sips whilst running at her best marathon pace whereas a male might have drunk a maximum of 720 ml (330 ml.h-1) from 9 sips under the same conditions.
Conclusions. These data suggest that both the female and male 2004 Olympic Marathon winners drank minimal total amounts of fluid (<1 litre) in hot (>30°C) temperatures while completing the marathon with race times within 2.5% of the Olympic record.
A comprehensive medical history forms a significant part of any medical assessment or screening. In the athlete, pre-participation screening is aimed at determining those aspects of personal and family history that place the participant at greater risk of sudden death, serious illness or musculoskeletal injury. In rugby union, where the incidence of head and neck injuries is higher than in other sports, emphasis needs to be placed on screening for potential risk factors for neurological injury. In a South African rugby environment, pre-season medical screening is not standard and indeed rarely practised. In most club and school settings, the rugby coach may well be the person most in contact with players and therefore in the best position to conduct an initial screening. This article reviews the relevant literature pertinent to such a guideline.
Rugby is a sport where size does matter. Players who are bigger, stronger and faster have an advantage over smaller, less powerful players. These differences in size are exacerbated at the junior levels where players reach puberty at different stages. Furthermore, the problem is compounded in South Africa, where children from a low socio-economic environment are generally smaller and less powerful than their counterparts from more affluent areas. There is a strong likelihood that the smaller talented players will rather participate in sports in which they can express their talent and not be limited by their lack of size, as is the case in rugby.
SASMA views disorders of sexual development (DSD) as a medical condition that has profound physical and psychological effects on not only the individuals affected, but also their families. Like any other disorder, this condition has to be managed with a view to offer the best outcomes for affected individuals. When the attending physician identifies stigmata suggesting DSD in a newborn there should be proper consultation and education of parents.