Athlete, coach and practitioner knowledge and perceptions of post‑exercise cold‑water immersion for recovery: a qualitative and quantitative exploration

ADAM NAYLOR, Robert Allan*, James Malone, Warren Gregson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Abstract

This survey sought to establish current use, knowledge and perceptions of cold-water immersion (CWI) when used for recovery. 111 athletes, coaches and support practitioners completed the anonymous online survey, answering questions about their current CWI protocols, perceptions of benefits associated with CWI and knowledge of controlling mechanisms. Respondents were largely involved in elite sport at international, national and club level, with many having used CWI previously (86%) and finding its use beneficial for recovery (78%). Protocols differed, with the duration of immersion one aspect that failed to align with recommendations in the scientific literature. Whilst many respondents were aware of benefits associated with CWI, there remains some confusion. There also seems to be a gap in mechanistic knowledge, where respondents are aware of benefits associated with CWI, but failed to identify the underlying mechanisms. This identifies the need for an improved method of knowledge transfer between scientific and applied practice communities. Moreover, data herein emphasises the important role of the ‘support practitioner’ as respondents in this role tended to favour CWI protocols more aligned to recommendations within the literature. With a significant number of respondents claiming they were made aware of CWI for recovery through a colleague (43%), the importance of knowledge transfer and context being appropriately applied to data is as important as ever. With the firm belief that CWI is useful for recovery in sport, the focus should now be on investigating the psychophysiological interaction and correct use of this methodology.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalSport Sciences for Health
Early online date16 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • cryotherapy
  • elite sport
  • current use
  • understanding
  • sports science

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