In September 2019 SIL, ACTA and UZGENT start a joint research project to investigate the changes in the composition of immunological markers in the saliva and gums among professional football players of KAA Gent. Examination will be conducted before and after some pre-determined football practices and matches. The research group hypothesize that saliva composition will alter in top athletes because of their very hard physical efforts and mental stress levels.

It is well known that alteration of the composition of saliva and presence of gums disease can indicate the presence of an insufficient immunological response. Aim of this study is to investigate whether alterations in saliva composition and the periodontal status will be related to general fitness, level of performances and incidence of sports injuries in professional soccer players.

Professional athletes are expected to have top-notch health in order to be able to optimally perform and to minimalize the risk of injuries, even though they have periods of high physical and mental stress levels. However, it is not an uncommon finding that elite athletes may suffer from an increased number of recurrent infections or from the overtraining syndrome. While it is important that these kinds of problems be identified and addressed, there is systematic evidence that these problems are under-detected. In some cases even a suppressed immune system can be difficult to detect. We think that the timely detection of these problems will be improved by using changes in saliva and the periodontal status. These changes can be related to the general fitness, level of performance and the degree of sports injury susceptibility.