Laboratory medicine and sports: between Scylla and Carybdis
ABSTRACT Laboratory medicine is complex and contributes to the diagnosis, therapeutic monitoring and follow-up of acquired and inherited human disorders. The regular practice of physical exercise provides important benefi ts in heath and disease and sports medicine is thereby receiving growing focus from almost each and every clinical discipline, including laboratory medicine. Sport-laboratory medicine is a relatively innovative branch of laboratory science, which can provide valuable contributions to the diagnosis and follow-up of athletic injuries, and which is acquiring a growing clinical significance to support biomechanics and identify novel genomics and “ exercisenomics” patterns that can help identify specific athlete’s tendency towards certain types of sport traumas and injuries.
Laboratory medicine can also provide sport physicians and coaches with valuable clues about personal inclination towards a certain sport, health status, fi tness and nutritional deficiencies of professional, elite and recreational athletes in order to enable a better and earlier prediction of sport injuries, overreaching and overtraining. Finally, the wide armamentarium of laboratory tests represents the milestone for identifying cheating athletes in the strenuous fight against doping in sports.