Effect of coronavirus disease lockdown on the physical and psychological attributes of Nigerian athletes


Background/ Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the effect of lockdown measures occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic on the physical and psychological characteristics of Nigerian athletes.
Methods: An online survey involving 578 elite athletes was utilized, using an electronic questionnaire which sought information on respondents’ socio-demographics, sports type, level of psychological distress, injury incidences management, and expectations or otherwise of financial support during the lockdown period. Data obtained were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics with SPSS version 21 with alpha set at <0.05.

Results: Results showed that the COVID-19 lockdown had a significant negative impact on respondents’ ratings of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, joint flexibility, speed, agility, coordination level and body weight. The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale showed that 44.1% of the respondents were likely to have been psychologically well, while 20.6% and 12.5% were likely to be having mild and moderate disorders respectively. 22.8% of the respondents were likely to be having severe disorder as a result of the lockdown restrictions. Results also showed no association between respondents’ age, gender, marital status, sports type and level of psychological distress. However, there were associations between the presence of injury and lack of access to its
management during the lockdown period, expectation of financial support or palliative from club during lockdown period and the level of psychological distress.

Conclusion: It was concluded that COVID-19 pandemic elicited reduction in physical attributes and varying levels of psychological distress among Nigerian athletes.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease, lockdown restrictions, Nigerian athletes, physical characteristics, psychological distress

Contexte / Objectif: Le but de l’étude était d’évaluer l’effet des mesures de verrouillage occasionnées par la pandémie de Covid-19 sur les caractéristiques physiques et psychologiques des athlètes nigérians.

Méthodes: Une enquête en ligne portant sur 578 athlètes d’élite a été utilisée, à l’aide d’un questionnaire électronique qui cherchait des informations sur les caractéristiques sociodémographiques des répondants, le type de sport, le niveau de détresse psychologique, la gestion des incidences de blessures et les attentes ou non de soutien financier pendant la période de verrouillage. Les données obtenues ont été analysées avec des statistiques descriptives et inférentielles avec SPSS version 21 avec alpha fixé à d” 0,05.

Résultats: Les résultats ont montré que le verrouillage du COVID-19 avait un impact négatif significatif sur les évaluations des répondants concernant l’endurance cardiovasculaire, la force musculaire, la flexibilité articulaire, la vitesse, l’agilité, le niveau de coordination et le poids corporel. L’échelle de détresse psychologique de Kessler a montré que 44,1% des répondants étaient susceptibles d’avoir été psychologiquement bien, tandis que 20,6% et 12,5% étaient susceptibles d’avoir des troubles légers et modérés respectivement. 22,8% des répondants étaient
susceptibles de souffrir de troubles graves en raison des restrictions de verrouillage. Les résultats n’ont également montré aucune association entre l’âge, le sexe, l’état matrimonial, le type de sport et le niveau de détresse psychologique des répondants. Cependant, il y avait des associations entre la présence d’une blessure et le manque d’accès à sa gestion pendant la période de verrouillage, l’attente d’un soutien financier ou palliatif du club pendant la période de verrouillage et le niveau de détresse psychologique.

Conclusion: Il a été conclu que la pandémie de COVID-19 a entraîné une réduction des attributs physiques et des niveaux variables de détresse psychologique chez les athlètes nigérians.Mots clés: maladie à coronavirus, restrictions de verrouillage, athlètes nigérians, caractéristiques physiques, détresse psychologique

Correspondence: O.O. Ogundiran, Department of Physiotherapy, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, Nigeria. E-mail: femi_diran@yahoo.co



Zumla A, Chan J, Azhar EI, Hui D and Yuen KY. Coronaviruses – drug discovery and therapeutic options. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2016.

Stöhr K. A multicentre collaboration to investigate the cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Lancet 2003, 361:1730–1733.

Keni R, Alexander A, Nayak PG, Mudgal J and Nandakumar K. COVID-19: Emergence, Spread, Possible Treatments, and Global Burden. Front. Public Health 2020 8:216.

Chan J, Yuan S, Kok K, et al. A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission: a study of a family cluster. Lancet 2020. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30154-9.

World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard Available online: https://covid19.who.int/ (accessed on February 12, 2021).

Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. COVID-19 Nigeria. Available online: https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/ (accessed on February 12, 2021).

Lau H, Khosrawipour V, Kocbach P, et al. The positive impact of lockdown in Wuhan on containing the COVID-19 outbreak in China. J Travel Med 2020.

Holmes EA, O’Connor RC, Perry VH, et al. Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: A call for action for mental health science. Lancet Psychiatry 2020. 7, 547–560.

Neufer PD. The effect of detraining and reduced training on the physiological adaptations to aerobic exercise training. Sports Medicine 1989.8, 302–321.

Gormley J and Hussey J. Exercise Therapy: Prevention and Treatment of Diseases. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. 2005. ISBN: 978-1-405-10527-10529.

Liao YH, Sung YC, Chou CC and Chen CY. Eight-Week Training Cessation Suppresses Physiological Stress but Rapidly Impairs Health Metabolic Profiles and Aerobic Capacity in Elite Taekwondo Athletes. PLoS ONE 2016. 11(7): e0160167.

Horwitz AV. Distinguishing distress from disorder as psychological outcomes of stressful social arrangments. Health 2007. 116"273–289.

Drapeau A, Marchand A and Beaulieu-Prévost D. Epidemiology of psychological distress. In Mental Illnesses - understanding, prediction and control LAbate L, editor. 2012. INTECH, 105–134.

Rea S. Coronavirus: How can athletes get through this period of isolation? Retrieved 10th June, 2020 from https://www.open.edu/openlearn/health-sports-psychology/coronavirus-how-can-athletes-get-through-period-isolation#

Bougie E, Arim RG, Kohen DE and Findlay LC. Validation of the 10-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) in the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey. Health Rep. 2016 27(1):3–10.

Cornelius BL, Groothoff JW, van der Klink JJ and Brouwer, S. The performance of the K10, K6 and GHQ-12 to screen for present state DSM-IV disorders among disability claimants. BMC Public Health. 2013. 13:128.

Toraman NF. Short term and long term detraining: is there any difference between young-old and old people? British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2005. 39 (8): 561–556.

Graham D. What happens to your body if you suddenly stop training? 220 Triathlon. Retrieved 5th June, 2020 from https://www.220triathlon.com/training/what-happens-to-your-body-if-you-suddenly-stop-training.

Schinke RJ, Stambulova NB, Si G. and Moore Z. International society of sport psychology position stand: Athletes’ mental health, performance, and development. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Physiology. 2017. 16(6):622-639.

Klenk CA. Psychological Response to Injury, Recovery, and Social Support: A Survey of Athletes at an NCAA Division I University. DigitalCommons@URI. 2006.

Luiten RC, Ormond K, Post L, et al. Exercise restrictions trigger psychological difficulty in active and athletic adults with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Open Heart. 2016. 3(2): e000488.

Watson D and Clark LA. Affects separable and inseparable: On the hierarchical arrangement of negative affects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1992. 62:489–505.

Lucas ER and Diener E. Understanding extraverts’ enjoyment of social situations: The importance of pleasantness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2001. 81:343–356.

Gustems-Carnicer J and Calderón C. Coping strategies and psychological well-being among teacher education students. Eur. J. Psychol. Educ. 2013. 28 1127–1140.

Zimmer-Gembeck MJ and Skinner EA. The development of coping: implications for psychopathology and resilience, in Developmental Psychopathology, ed. D. Cicchetti (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). 2016.

Lincoln KD. Personality, Negative Interactions, and Mental Health. Soc Serv Rev. 2008. 82(2): 223–251.

Åkesdotter C, Kenttä G, Eloranta S and Franck, J. The prevalence of mental health problems in elite athletes. J Sci Med Sport. 2020. 23(4):329-335.

Ichraf A, Ali BM, Khaled T, Liwa M and Ali R. Effect of gender and type of sport on anxiety and self-esteem. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention, 2013. 2(3), 55–61.

Sullivan P, Blacker M and Murphy, J. Levels of Psychological Distress of Canadian University Student-Athletes. Canadian Journal of Higher Education. 2019. 49(1):47-59.

Tiwari SC and Deshpande SR. A study to assess the effect of stressful life events on psychological distress levels of participants living in an urban area. J Family Med Prim Care. 2020. 9:2730-2735.

Cadsby B, Engle-Warnick J, Fang T and Song F. Psychological Incentives, Financial Incentives, and Risk Attitudes in Tournaments: An Artefactual Field Experiment. IZA Discussion Papers 9565, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). 2015.

Gouttebarge V, Jonkers R, Moen M, et al. The prevalence and risk indicators of symptoms of common mental disorders among current and former Dutch elite athletes. J Sports Sci. 2017. 35(21):2148-2156. doi:10.1080/02640414.2016.1258485

Combs PR, Wasserman EB, Rodrigo CJ, Guskiewicz KG and Mihalik J.P. The association between psychological distress and concussion history in college athletes. Br. J. of Sports Medicine, 2017. 51 (11).