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The June issue of MSSE features two articles relevant to investigators studying sports-related concussion. Currently, concussion assessments may lack sufficient reliability and sensitivity to quantify functional impairment and detect recovery. Howell et al. investigated two executive function tests to see if differences could be detected in responses of 20 concussed high school athletes compared to 20 nonconcussed high school athletes. Both executive function tests detected significant impairments within 72 hours of experiencing concussion, and again one, two, four and eight weeks after concussion compared to nonconcussed athletes studied at matching intervals. The authors conclude that their findings justify further development of these executive function tests as clinical assessment tools.
Also in this month’s issue, we feature a study by Okumura et al. evaluating reliability and sensitivity of a new approach for assessing concussion effects. The authors report that, in contrast to previous concussion assessments that separately test function of physical and cognitive domains, with their approach executive function is assessed simultaneously with physical function during a modified Harvard Step Test. Although Okumura et al.’s participants were healthy, nonconcussed young adults, the authors report that reliability and sensitivity of their dual-task method of assessing executive function were sufficiently robust to warrant further development for assessing concussion. Together, these articles point to new approaches for improving clinical assessment of injury and confirm recovery from concussion.
The third featured article is an investigation of the influence of gait biomechanics on development of patellofemoral pain in female runners. Previously, cross-sectional evaluations of the gait biomechanics of injured runners have compared to noninjured runners. However, for the first time, Noehren et al. report a prospective investigation of gait and running injuries. Detailed evaluation of gait biomechanics while running were completed on 400 female runners, after which weekly mileage and occurrence of clinically diagnosed patellofemoral pain associated with running were recorded for two years. Fifteen runners experienced a diagnosed running-related injury, and data from those runners were compared to that of age and weekly mileage matched noninjured controls. The authors conclude that their findings indicated that runners with confirmed patellofemoral pain exhibited a more pronounced hip adduction during running compared to noninjured runners, possibly contributing to the etiology of injury. That finding seems consistent with an earlier and highly cited report by Leetun et al. also featured from the MSSE archives [Core stability measures as risk factors for lower extremity injury in athletes. Med. Sci Sports Exerc. 2004; 36(6): 926–934] that runners with greater core stabilizing strength appear to be somewhat protected against patellofemoral pain.
Andrew J. YoungEditor-in-Chief
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HOWELL, DAVID; OSTERNIG, LOUIS; VAN DONKELAAR, PAUL; MAYR, ULRICH; CHOU, LI-SHAN
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 45(6):1030-1037, June 2013.
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OKUMURA, MICHELLE S.; COOPER, STEPHANIE L.; FERRARA, MICHAEL S.; TOMPOROWSKI, PHILLIP D.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 45(6):1038-1042, June 2013.
NOEHREN, BRIAN; HAMILL, JOSEPH; DAVIS, IRENE
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 45(6):1120-1124, June 2013.
LEETUN, DARIN T.; IRELAND, MARY LLOYD; WILLSON, JOHN D.; BALLANTYNE, BRYON T.; DAVIS, IRENE MCCLAY
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 36(6):926-934, June 2004.
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