Recently, the health of retired National Football
League players, particularly lineman has been investigated. A
number of studies have reported increased cardiometabolic risk,
premature cardiovascular disease and incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Rugby union players have somatotypes very similar to National
Football League players which suggests that rugby players may have
similar health risks. The International Golden Oldies World Rugby
Festival (GORF) provided a unique opportunity to investigate the
demographics of veteran rugby players. METHODOLOGIES: A
cross-sectional, observational study was completed using an online
web-based questionnaire that consisted of medical history and
physiological measures. Data analysis was completed using a one
sample t-test (<50yrs versus >50yrs) and Chi-square test. RESULTS:
A total of 216 veteran rugby competitors (response rate = 6.8%)
representing 10 countries, aged 35-72 yrs (mean 51.2, S.D. ±8.0),
participated in the online survey. As a group, the incidence of current
smokers was low at 8.8% (avg 72.4 cigs/wk) whilst the percentage
consuming alcohol was high (93.1% (avg 11.2 drinks/wk).
Competitors reported the following top six chronic
diseases/disorders; hypertension (18.6%), arthritis (OA/RA, 11.5%),
asthma (9.3%), hyperlipidemia (8.2%), diabetes (all types, 7.5%) and
gout (6%), there were significant differences between groups with
regard to cancer (all types) and migraines. When compared to the
Australian general population (Australian Bureau of Statistics data,
n=18,000), GORF competitors had a significantly lower incidence of
anxiety (p<0.01), arthritis (p<0.06), depression (p<.01) however, a
significantly higher incidence of diabetes (p<0.03) and hypertension
(p<0.01). The GORF competitors also reported taking the following
prescribed medications; antihypertensive (13%), hypolipidemics
(8%), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (6%), and anticoagulants
(4%). Significant differences between groups were observed in antihypertensives, anticoagulants and hypolipidemics. There were
significant (p<0.05) differences between groups (<50yrs versus
>50yrs) with regard to height (180 vs 177cm), weight (97.6 vs
93.1Kg-s), BMI (30 vs 29.7kg/m2) and waist circumference (85.7 vs
93.1cm) however, there were no differences in subsequent parameters
of systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol,
HDL-C, LDL-C, triglycerides-C or fasting plasma glucose.
CONCLUSIONS: This represents the first collection of
demographics on this cohort. GORF participants demonstrated
increased cardiometabolic risk with regard to the incidence of
hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
Preventative strategies should be developed to reduce this risk with
education of these risks for future participants.
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