The importance of academic examination periods for student athletes at both the high school and collegiate level cannot be overstated. In most cases, academic performance can affect scholarship money (in the collegiate setting); playing time; academic standing (probation) and so forth. Any former athlete can probably attest that exam weeks involve a lot of cramming, plenty of caffeine, suboptimal eating habits and sleep deprivation. Needless to say, the added stress load from exams and exam preparation can have consequences on physical health and possibly performance. In this discussion I will review the available literature pertaining to exam periods and HRV in students to determine its potential usefulness at reflecting this stress. In addition, I will present and discuss some data I’ve collected from a couple of students during their recent exam weeks.
*Note: Very little of the research specifically involves student-athletes.
Perhaps one of the more interesting studies involving college students over…
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