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Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Michael Stone, Andrew Dotterweich

Committee Members

Charles Stuart, William Sands


The objectives of this dissertation were to investigate the utility of cf-DNA as a marker of systemic inflammation, fatigue, and training status in a long-term athlete monitoring program (LTAMP). In study one, cf-DNA, other biochemical markers, volume load, and training intensity were measured in weightlifters over 20 weeks. The changes and relationships between these variables were investigated in order to determine which variables may be indicative of an athlete’s training status. In study two, cf-DNA, other biochemical markers, and session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) were measured over the course of a 15-week soccer season in order investigate the utility of cf-DNA as an indicator of systemic inflammation and fatigue. In study one, CK was statistically greater T2 than T4, T5, and T6 at p = 0.015, 0.025, and 0.030 respectively. cf-DNA %Δ was correlated with CRP percent change and BF% (r = 0.86 and r = 0.91 respectively). The correlation between cf-DNA and CRP suggests that cf-DNA may be a valuable indicator of inflammation. Upon further visual inspection, cf-DNA and CRP also appeared to rise and fall with changes in volume load with displacement (VLwD). In study 2, G1, cf-DNA (P = 0.001), CRP (P = 0.000), CK (P = 0.003), cf-DNA %Δ (P = 0.002), CRP %Δ (P = 0.002), and CK %Δ (P = 0.002) were all significantly higher than T1 at T2 and T3. In G2, CRP (P = 0.057) and CRP %Δ (P = 0.039) were significantly higher at T2 than T1. Despite the lack of statistically significant differences across all 3 testing times, cf-DNA %Δ, CRP %Δ, and CK %Δ increased throughout the season in G1. In G2, cf-DNA %Δ, CRP %Δ, and CK %Δ were all higher at T2 and T3 than T1 but fewer significant differences were present, potentially a result of the lower sRPE values in G2 versus G1.These results suggest that cf-DNA may a useful marker to reflect accumulated training and competitive stressors. The correlation between cf-DNA and CRP in study 1 suggests that cf-DNA may be a valuable indicator of inflammation.

Document Type

Dissertation - restricted


Copyright by the authors.