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Vitamin D Testing Practices in Collegiate Cross Country and Track and Field Athletes

Ross, Allison (2021) Vitamin D Testing Practices in Collegiate Cross Country and Track and Field Athletes. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency has become problematic within the global population. Low levels of Vitamin D may have significant impacts on bone health and the musculoskeletal system, key factors in athletic performance. Recently, Vitamin D testing has gained popularity amongst athletic populations, but there is little research in cross country and track and field (XC and TF) collegiate athletes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the Vitamin D testing practices of NCAA sponsored XC and TF programs. Fifty-five Certified Athletic Trainers (ATs) participated in the study (43 XC and TF ATs, 12 non-XC and TF ATs). The responses of XC and TF ATs were analyzed separately and compared by region of the U.S. and NCAA Division classification. Few participants (6/30) identified their institution as having a Vitamin D testing policy in place. The six participants indicated that red flags and health history are the primary indications for Vitamin D testing while preventative screening occurs at half of the Division I institutions. There was little consensus regarding adequate Vitamin D levels and number of Vitamin D tests per year. Although, 70.6% of Division I XC and TF ATs support Vitamin D testing in their athletes while 66.7% of Divisions II and III ATs did not. In addition to testing practices, this study gathered data regarding indoor training duration and bone stress injuries for XC and TF collegiate athletes. There was no significant association between indoor training duration and region of the U.S. for XC athletes, however, there was a statistically significant association for TF athletes (p = 0.016, 0.050). Using the injury data provided, an injury incidence and frequency was calculated of which women’s XC had the highest rates (11.9, 14.1), followed by women’s TF (6.3, 9.2), men’s XC (5.4, 7.6), and men’s TF (4.1, 4.9). A major limitation of the present study was the small sample size, however, future research utilizing an increased sample size may produce different or more statistically significant results. Overall, continued education and research regarding the importance of Vitamin D and athletic performance is necessary to create universal testing policies in collegiate athletics.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ross, Allisonalr168@pitt.edualr168
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorAllison,
Committee MemberLovalekar,
Committee MemberMartin,
Committee MemberMurray,
Date: 11 June 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 March 2021
Approval Date: 11 June 2021
Submission Date: 31 March 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 77
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Sports Medicine and Nutrition
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Vitamin D Vitamin D Testing Athletic Training Athletic Trainer Cross Country Track and Field
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 21:20
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 21:20


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