Journal of Athletic EnhancementISSN: 2324-9080

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Visuo-Motor Processing Impairments Following Concussion in Athletes

Visuo-Motor Processing Impairments Following Concussion in Athletes

Objective: Conduct a pilot study to determine if visuo-motor processing is altered in athletes following sports-related concussion. Research design: A longitudinal matched cohort was used to assess 7 concussed and 7 matched control subjects. Interventions: All subjects completed a simple visuo-motor processing task (SVMP). Each subject completed 120 randomized trials. Subjects were asked to identify which direction the motion occurred in (left/right). Repeated testing was conducted 10 days following initial testing. Main outcome measures: Reaction time (overall, each grouping of 20 trials, ambiguous and unambiguous trials right/left), number of correct responses, and number of incorrect responses. A repeated measures ANOVA was conducted to determine differences between groups (concussed/control) and sessions (10 days apart). Results: Concussed athletes has significantly delayed visuo-motor reaction time compared to control subjects and between days of testing. Conclusions: Visuo-motor processing is impaired during the initial 10 days following a sports-related concussion. Concussed athletes demonstrate functional differences in SVMP task performance between testing days. An athlete may be placed at greater risk of injury if returned to sports participation with an impaired ability to quickly make decisions regarding direction of movement. Visuomotor processing should be a routine component of concussion assessment and RTP decision making.

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