Serum concentration levels of 25(OH)D and injury reports in NCAA Division I football players
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Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with many health problems. Early research demonstrated the importance of vitamin D for bone health, but it may also play a larger role than first reported in muscle health and function. Specifically, low vitamin D may hinder athletic performance, as such evaluation of serum vitamin D levels in high volume training athletes has merit. The purpose of this study was to evaluate serum levels of 25(OH)D in college athletes to determine how many had levels below the recommended values. Data from student-athletes who were attending a large university in the south included: serum vitamin D levels, demographics information, and injury reports. Mean serum vitamin D level for the group was 34.17 ng/mL ± 0.88. Average injury for the group was 1.3± 0.14. The mean value of serum vitamin D for Caucasian players was 38.3 ng/mL ± 1.33 with a range of 23-59 ng/mL. The mean value of serum vitamin D for African American players was 31.16 ng/mL ± 1.08 with a range of 16-52 ng/mL. African American players had significantly lower serum vitamin D levels (p<0.01) than Caucasian players. Players with one or more injury had significantly lower serum vitamin D values (p<0.05) than players who had zero injuries. Forty-eight players (44.4%) had insufficient levels of vitamin D (20-31.9ng/ml). 60 players (55.6%) had values within normal limits (>32 ng/ml). Players with one or more musculoskeletal injury or fracture had significantly lower serum vitamin D levels (p<0.05) compared to players that had zero injuries. African American players had significantly lower serum vitamin D levels (p<0.01) compared to Caucasian players. It is important for athletes to monitor serum vitamin D levels and adhere to a supplementation protocol when levels are insufficient.