Cramping and Injury Incidence in Collegiate Football Players Are Reduced by Creatine Supplementation. Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: To examine the effects of creatine supplementation on the incidence of cramping and injury observed during 1 season of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division IA football training and competition. Design and Setting: In an open-label manner, subjects who volunteered to take creatine ingested 0.3 g·kg-1·d-1of creatine for 5 days followed by an average of 0.03 g·kg·-1d-1after workouts, practices, and games. Creatine intake was monitored and recorded by researchers throughout the course of the study. Subjects: Thirty-eight of 72 athletes (53.0%) participating in the 1999 Division IA collegiate football season from the same university volunteered to take creatine in this study. Subjects trained, practiced, or played in environmental conditions ranging from 15°C to 37°C (mean = 27.26° ± 10.93°C) and 46.0% to 91.0% relative humidity (mean = 54.17% ± 9.71%). Measurements: Injuries treated by the athletic training staff were recorded and categorized as cramping, heat illness or dehydration, muscle tightness, muscle strains, noncontact joint injuries, contact injuries, and illness. The number of missed practices due to injury and illness was also recorded. Data were analyzed using a 2 × 2 χ2test to examine the first reported incidences of cramping and injury for creatine users and non-users. Results: Creatine users had significantly less cramping (χ21= 5.35 P = .021); heat illness or dehydration (χ21= 4.09, P = .043); muscle tightness (χ21= 5.39, P = .020); muscle strains (χ21= 5.36, P = .021); and total injuries (χ21= 17.80, P < .001) than nonusers. There were no significant differences between groups regarding noncontact joint injuries (χ21= 3.48, P = .062); contact injuries (χ21= 0.00, P = .100); illness (χ21= 6.82, P = .409); missed practices due to injury (χ211.43, P = .233); or players lost for the season (χ21= 4.75, P = .491). Conclusions: The incidence of cramping or injury in Division IA football players was significantly lower or proportional for creatine users compared with nonusers.

author list (cited authors)

  • Greenwood, M., Kreider, R. B., Greenwood, L., & Byars, A.

publication date

  • January 1, 2003 11:11 AM