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Preliminary Investigation: Effects of Concussion History on Visuomotor Performance129 May 28, 945 AM - 1000 AM

Martini, Douglas N.; Meehan, Sean K.; Broglio, Steven P.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 5S - p 17
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000493214.63271.68
A-31 Free Communication/Slide - The Science of Concussions Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM Room: 305

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI. (Sponsor: Scott McLean, FACSM)

(No relationships reported)

The long-term effects of concussion have been widely debated. Evidence suggests there are persistent changes in cognitive function and but balance and gait performance alterations have also been observed to a lesser degree. It is unclear if motor alterations are limited to gait and balance.

PURPOSE: To assess the long-term effects of concussion on visuomotor performance of the hand and foot in those with and without a history of concussion.

METHODS: Twenty-seven college-aged participants were divided into a control (n = 13) and previously concussed (n = 14) groups based on medical self-report. Each participant signed an Institutional Review Board approved consent form. Using the hand or foot to squeeze an air-filled, rubber bladder, each participant applied pressure that matched the movement pattern of a visual stimulus during a continuous tracking task. Each participant completed three blocks of tracking for both the hand and foot. Each block consisted of three 30 second trials.

RESULTS: Independent samples t-Tests and Cohen’s D effect sizes were calculated to compare root mean squared errors between groups. For the hand, baseline performance (Block 1) was not different between the control and concussed groups (6.98 ± .98 vs 7.03 ± .93; p = .44; Cohen’s d = .17). However, for Blocks 2 the control group demonstrated less tracking error that the concussed group (5.92 ± .74 vs 6.51 ± 1.10; p = .06; Cohen’s d = .83). This difference was persistent but reduced for Block 3 (6.02 ± .89 vs 6.32 ± .90; p = .21; Cohen’s d = .43). There were no differences between groups when using the foot to perform the tracking task.

CONCLUSION: These preliminary data suggest that young adults without a concussion history demonstrate greater performance improvements quicker than individuals with a history of concussion. The previously concussed group may be applying a compensatory mechanism that prolongs the rate of performance improvement. How this observed trend affects daily living is still unknown, further research is needed.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine