American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine—July 10, 2011
“Eighty percent of the football team we studied had vitamin D insufficiency. African American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels,” said Michael Shindle, M.D., lead researcher and former Hospital for Special Surgery resident now a member of Summit Medical Group.
Researchers identified 89 football players from a single NFL team and provided laboratory testing of vitamin D levels in the spring 2010 as part of routine pre-season evaluations. The mean age of the players was 25. The team provided data to determine the number of players who had lost time due to muscle injuries. Vitamin D levels were then classified based on player race and time lost due to muscle injury.
Twenty-seven players had deficient levels (<20 ng/ML) and an additional 45 had levels consistent with insufficiency (20-31.9 ng/mL). Seventeen players had values within normal limits (>32 ng/mL). The mean vitamin D level in white players was 30.3 ng/mL while the mean level for black players was 20.4 ng/mL. Sixteen players suffered a muscle injury with a mean vitamin D level of 19.9.
“Screening and treatment of vitamin D insufficiency in professional athletes may be a simple way to help prevent injuries,” said Scott Rodeo, M.D., Co-Chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. “Further research also needs to be conducted in order to determine if increasing vitamin D leads to improved maximum muscle function,” said Joseph Lane, M.D. Director of the Metabolic Bone Disease Service at Hospital for Special Surgery.”