Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Health and Sport Sciences

Degree Program

Exercise Physiology, MS

Committee Chair

Symons, T. Brock

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Carter, Kathleen

Committee Member

Carter, Kathleen

Committee Member

Adelson, Jill L.

Committee Member

Gibb, Jessica

Author's Keywords

athletics; performance; aerobic fitness; anaerobic fitness; field hockey; sport specificity


Many sports (e.g. field hockey, lacrosse, ice hockey) require the use of a mouthguard (MG) and the constraint of carrying a stick during play. Previous research has shown that these two conditions individually can cause decrements to athletic performance; however no research has been conducted into effect of the combination of these two conditions on both aerobic and anaerobic performance parameters. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of both chronic (during all conditioning) and acute MG and stick (MG-STK) use on aerobic fitness and anaerobic capacity over the course of a 12-week training and competition period. Additionally, this study aimed to determine whether chronic mouthguard use changes perceptions related to comfort and use of mouthguards. METHODS: 38 apparently healthy female field hockey (FH) players (15+2 yrs) from a local high school team completed the study. Participants were placed in to one of two groups: experimental (EXP; completing all conditioning with MG-STK) or control (CTL; completing all conditioning without MG-STK) by stratified random sampling matched for team level (i.e. Freshman, Junior Varsity and Varsity) and initial aerobic testing performance. Aerobic fitness was measured using a standard multi-stage fitness test (the beep test), and anaerobic capacity was measured using six repeated 40m sprints. FH-specific training as prescribed by coaching staff was performed throughout the study, with testing performed at baseline (0 weeks), mid-season (6 weeks) and post-season (12 weeks). Participants performed two sets of testing at each time point, first without mouthguard and stick (WOMG-STK) and then with mouthguard and stick (MG-STK). Tests were performed >48hrs apart and results were analyzed using a 3-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). RESULTS: No difference was found in any anthropometric measurements, either between or within groups throughout the season. No main effect was found in aerobic capacity between groups; however, MG-STK testing produced a reduction in aerobic fitness at every time point (WOMG-STK: 37.41+6.65 mL·kg-1·min-1­ vs. MG-STK: 33.16+4.32 mL·kg-1·min-1; p2maxincreased from baseline to mid-testing and decreased from mid- to post-testing, resulting in no significant change from pre- to post-season testing (PRE: 33.37+4.29 mL·kg-1·min-1; MID: 37.52+6.81 mL·kg-1·min-1; POST: 34.94+6.65 mL·kg-1·min-1). No difference was found between groups or test conditions in 10m sprint, but there was a significant difference between pre- and post-testing (PRE: 2.38+0.16s; POST: 2.27+0.25s; p CONCLUSION: Chronic use of a stick and mouthguard does not negatively affect aerobic or anaerobic capacity; however acute use does create performance decrements, regardless of training group.