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Reaction Time and Joint Kinematics During Functional Movement in Recently Concussed Individuals

  • Robert C. Lynall
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author Robert C. Lynall, PhD, 330 River Rd, Athens, GA 30677.
    Affiliations
    UGA Concussion Research Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

    Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC

    Human Movement Science Curriculum, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
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  • J. Troy Blackburn
    Affiliations
    Human Movement Science Curriculum, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

    Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Kevin M. Guskiewicz
    Affiliations
    Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC

    Human Movement Science Curriculum, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Stephen W. Marshall
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology (Gillings School of Global Public Health) and Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Prudence Plummer
    Affiliations
    Human Movement Science Curriculum, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

    Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Jason P. Mihalik
    Affiliations
    Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC

    Human Movement Science Curriculum, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
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Published:January 11, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2017.12.011

      Abstract

      Objective

      To compare movement reaction time and joint kinematics between athletes with recent concussion and matched control recreational athletes during 3 functional tasks.

      Design

      Cross-sectional.

      Setting

      Laboratory.

      Participants

      College-aged recreational athletes (N=30) comprising 2 groups (15 participants each): (1) recent concussion group (median time since concussion, 126d; range, 28–432d) and (2) age- and sex-matched control group with no recent concussions.

      Interventions

      We investigated movement reaction time and joint kinematics during 3 tasks: (1) jump landing, (2) anticipated cut, and (3) unanticipated cut.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Reaction time and reaction time cost (jump landing reaction time–cut reaction time/jump landing reaction time×100%), along with trunk, hip, and knee joint angles in the sagittal and frontal planes at initial ground contact.

      Results

      There were no reaction time between-group differences, but the control group displayed improved reaction time cost (10.7%) during anticipated cutting compared with the concussed group (0.8%; P=.030). The control group displayed less trunk flexion than the concussed group during the nondominant anticipated cut (5.1° difference; P=.022). There were no other kinematic between-group differences (P≥.079).

      Conclusions

      We observed subtle reaction time and kinematic differences between individuals with recent concussion and those without concussion more than a month after return to activity after concussion. The clinical interpretation of these findings remains unclear, but may have future implications for postconcussion management and rehabilitation.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      ANCOVA (analysis of covariance), ES (effect size), RTP (return to participation)
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