Injury Risk Estimation Expertise: Cognitive-Perceptual Mechanisms of ACL-IQ

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Instrument-based biomechanical movement analysis is an effective injury screening method but relies on expensive equipment and time-consuming analysis. Screening methods that rely on visual inspection and perceptual skill for prognosticating injury risk provide an alternative approach that can significantly reduce cost and time. However, substantial individual differences exist in skill when estimating injury risk performance via observation. The underlying perceptual-cognitive mechanisms of injury risk identification were explored to better understand the nature of this skill and provide a foundation for improving performance. Quantitative structural and process modeling of risk estimation indicated that superior performance was largely mediated by specific strategies and skills (e.g., irrelevant information reduction), and independent of domain-general cognitive abilities (e.g., mental rotation, general decision skill). These cognitive models suggest that injury prediction expertise (i.e., ACL-IQ) is a trainable skill, and provide a foundation for future research and applications in training, decision support, and ultimately clinical screening investigations.

Erich J. Petushek is with the School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK, and the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI. Edward T. Cokely is with the Department of Psychology and the National Institute for Risk and Resilience at the University of Oklahoma, and the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany. Paul Ward is with the School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK. Gregory D. Myer is with the Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio; the Departments of Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio; Sports Health and Performance Institute, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio; and Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Waltham, Massachusetts.

Address author correspondence to Erich J. Petushek at