Objective - The aim of this study was to check the physiological repercussions of a journey by plane for a team of Rugby players considering the variations of salivary cortisol. Subjects and Method - Thirty three players agreed to take part in the study. A group of 22 players of national up to international level (G1 group) carried out a journey of 2h30 by plane to go to a competition. A second group of 11 players (GII group) were to play a match of equivalent level and stake at the same time, but without displacement. The sampling of saliva for cortisol essays were carried after one day of rest at 8 am, 11 am and 17 pm for reference measurements. For the day of the match, the sampling for GI were effected at 7.45 am (before the departure of plane), 11 am (on arrival of plane), 17.30pm (before warming-up, eg 30 min before the beginning of match), and 20 pm (15 min after the match). For GII, the sampling were carried out exactly at the same hours in order to eliminate the influence of the circadian rhythm. Results - There is an increase in cortisol levels at 8 am and 11 am for GI in comparison to the reference values and those measured for GII at 8 am. This seems to indicate that a journey by plane induces a stress, probably emotional. This reaction appears mainly for players declaring themselves sensitive to this type of displacement. These results allow to suppose that such a travel close to a competition is not favorable, for some subjects, to the realization of a performance. It thus appears desirable to recommend an interval of 24 hours time between displacement and the competition. © 2001 Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS.
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