Measures of Cervical Spine Function and Divide Attention Alters after Concussion

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Measures of Cervical Spine Function and Divide Attention Alters after Concussion

The elite young ice hockey players with sport-related concussion manifest altered divided attention and cervical spine function, confirms a recently published study in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 

A concussion is the most common and least severe type of traumatic brain injury in sports. However, the changes in vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), divided attention, cervical spine and dynamic balance of a player after the concussion, are poorly understood.

Kathryn J. Schneider and colleagues conducted the study to evaluate the acute changes in measures of the cervical spine, VOR function, dynamic balance and tasks of divided attention in elite youth ice hockey players following a concussion. Cervical spine measures [cervical flexor endurance test (CFE), head perturbation test, anterolateral strength, cervical flexion-rotation test, joint position error], VOR [head thrust test, dynamic visual acuity (DVA) (clinical and computerized)], dynamic balance [Functional Gait Assessment (FGA)] and divided attention [Walking While Talking (WWTT) test] were completed by elite 13-17-year-old ice hockey players preseason and following concussion.

A total of 71% players completed at least one test at both preseason and acutely post-concussion (median 4 days post-concussion. After Bonferroni corrections (α=0.00625), using Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test, measures of cervical spine were significantly worse after concussion compared to baseline [CFE (z=-5.20, p<0.00001), anterolateral neck strength (zleft=-5.36, p<0.0001; zright=-5.45, p<0.0001) and head perturbation test (z=-4.63, p<0.001)]. Time taken to complete a complex task of divided attention relative to normal walking speed was faster (improved) compared to preseason (z=-2.59, p=0.0096). No change in VOR or dynamic balance following a concussion was reported.


J Orthop Sports Phys Ther            


The original title of the article:

Changes in Measures of Cervical Spine, Vestibulo-ocular Reflex, Dynamic Balance and Divided Attention Following Sport-Related Concussion in Elite Youth Ice Hockey Players


Kathryn J. Schneider et al.

Exploratory, Concussion, DVA, WWTT, FGA, CFE, Head Perturbation Test
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