Cryotherapy re-invented: application of phase change material for recovery in elite soccer

Tom Clifford, Will Abbott, Susan Kwiecien, Glyn Howatson, Malachy McHugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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This study examined whether donning lower body garments fitted with cooled phase change material (PCM) would enhance recovery after a soccer match.


In a randomized, crossover design, eleven elite soccer players from the reserve squad of a team in the 2nd highest league in England wore PCM cooled to 15°C (PCMcold) or left at ambient temperature (PCMamb) for 3 h after a soccer match. To assess recovery, countermovement jump (CMJ) height, maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MIVC), muscle soreness (MS), and the adapted Brief Assessment of Mood Questionnaire (BAM+) were measured before, 12, 36 and 60 h after each match. Pre and post intervention, a belief questionnaire (BFQ) was completed to determine perceived effectiveness of each garment.


Results are comparisons between the two conditions at each time point post-match. MIVC at 36 h post was greater with PCMcold vs. PCMwarm (P=0.005; ES=1.59; 95% CI=3.9 to 17.1%). MIVC also tended to be higher at 60 h post (P=0.051; ES=0.85; 95% CI= −0.4 to 11.1%). MS was 26.5% lower in PCMcold vs. PCMwarm at 36 h (P=0.02; ES=1.7; 95% CI= −50.4 mm to −16.1 mm) and 24.3% lower at 60 h (P=0.039; ES=1.1; 95% CI= −26.9 mm to −0.874 mm). There were no between condition differences in post-match CMJ height or BAM+ (P>0.05). The BFQ revealed that players felt the PCMcold was more effective than the PCMamb after the intervention (P=0.004).


PCM cooling garments provide a practical means of delivering prolonged post exercise cooling and thereby accelerating recovery in elite soccer players.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number5
Early online date5 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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