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Megan Drew, Trent A. Petrie, and Tess Palmateer

College student athletes face unique, sport-related stressors that may lead to, or exacerbate, mental health (MH) concerns and symptoms. Although the National Collegiate Athletic Association has identified MH screening as a best practice, minimal data exist regarding contemporary screening practices. We explored National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I (DI), Division II (DII), and Division III (DIII) athletic departments’ current MH screening practices (N = 264). Compared with DII/DIII (53%), a greater percentage of Division I (89%) conducted formal MH screening. At DII/DIII institutions, athletic trainers were more likely to both administer and review screeners than any other sports medicine professional; sport psychologists primarily oversaw these tasks at DI schools. DI, compared with DII/DIII, institutions were more likely to have had a student athlete attempt suicide (62% vs. 40%) and participate in inpatient treatment (69% vs. 43%). There is a clear need for the National Collegiate Athletic Association to continue to promote policies that support MH screening and to create mechanisms in which it can monitor institutional involvement.

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Zachary L. Mannes, Erin G. Ferguson, Nicole Ennis, Deborah S. Hasin, and Linda B. Cottler

Over 80% of National Football League (NFL) retirees experience daily pain. Pain acceptance is an important psychological construct implicated in the intensity of chronic pain, though these findings have not been extended to NFL retirees. Therefore, the current study examined the association between pain acceptance and pain intensity among former NFL athletes. NFL retirees (N = 90) recruited from 2018 to 2019 completed questionnaires that assessed pain, substance use, and NFL career information. Multiple linear regression examined the association between current pain acceptance and pain intensity while adjusting for other risk factors of pain. NFL retirees reported average scores of 33.31 (SD = 10.00), and 2.18 (SD = 2.40) on measures of pain acceptance and pain intensity, respectively. After covariate adjustment, greater pain acceptance (β = −0.538, p < .001) was associated with lower pain intensity. These findings can further inform the behavioral and mental health care of retired NFL athletes.

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Martin S. Davey, Matthew G. Davey, Robert Hurley, Eoghan T. Hurley, and Leo Pauzenberger

Context: The COVID-19 pandemic has had catastrophic impact on a global scale, affecting people from all walks of life including elite athletes. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reported rates of return to play (RTP) in conjunction with the expert-derived guidelines previously recommended to enable safe RTP post COVID-19 infection. Evidence Acquisition: Two independent reviewers searched the literature based on Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, utilizing the MEDLINE, Embase, and Scopus databases. Only studies that reported rates of RTP and/or recommended guidelines for safe RTP were included. Evidence Synthesis: Overall, 17 studies (3 level III and 14 level V) were included. A total of 3 studies reported rates of RTP in a total of 1255 athletes and 623 officials; 72 (30 symptomatic) were infected with COVID-19, 100% of whom were able to RTP post COVID-19 infection. Of the 14 studies recommending guidelines for safe RTP, 3 and 9 studies recommended 7 and 14 days of rest in isolation respectively for asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 infection, prior to safe RTP. In contrast, 7 studies recommended 3 to 6 months of rest (following 14 d isolation) in cases of COVID-19-induced myocarditis as a safe timeframe for safe RTP. Of the 11 studies reporting on whether blanket testing prior to RTP was recommended, only 7 studies recommended a negative test result as mandatory prior to RTP for athletes previously infected with COVID-19. Conclusions: Although excellent rates of RTP have been reported for elite athletes post COVID-19 infection, discrepancies in recommended rest periods, requirement for mandatory negative test results, and the magnitude of screening investigations required continue to exist in the literature, with a need for further standardized international guidelines required in future. Level of Evidence: Level V; systematic review of all forms of evidence.

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Shane P. Murphy, Zach B. Barrons, and Jeremy D. Smith

Context: The quality of running mechanics is often characterized by limb pattern symmetry and used to support clinical decisions throughout the rehabilitation of lower-extremity injuries. It is valuable to ensure that gait analyses provide stable measures while not asking an individual to complete an excessive number of running strides. The present study aimed to determine the minimum number of strides required to establish a stable mean symmetry index (SMSI) of discrete-level measures of spatiotemporal parameters, joint kinematics, and joint kinetics. Further, the study aimed to determine if differences occurred between random and consecutive strides for directional and absolute symmetry indices. Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Methods: A sequential average was used to determine how many strides were required to achieve a SMSI within a 60-second trial. Multiple 2-factor repeated-measure analysis of variances were used to determine if differences between bins of strides and symmetry calculations were significantly different. Results: A median SMSI was achieved in 15 strides for all biomechanical variables. There were no significant differences (P > .05) found between consecutive and random bins of 15 strides within a 60-second trial. Although there were significant differences between symmetry calculation values for most variables (P < .05), there appeared to be no systematic difference between the numbers of strides required for stable symmetry for either index. Conclusions: As 15 strides were sufficient to achieve a SMSI during running, a continued emphasis should be placed on the number of strides collected when examining interlimb symmetry.

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Reid Skeel, Anissa Maffett, Abigail Feder, Cayla Mitzkovitz, and Sofia Lesica

Context: Recovery protocols for treatment of sports concussion have received widespread adoption across the country. While stages of recovery and treatment are relatively clearly defined, there remains variability in implementation of specific recommendations, particularly regarding activities that constitute rest during stages calling for limitations on activity participation. Specific recommendations being employed by practitioners have not been previously assessed. In an aim to document current concussion management practices in the field, athletic trainers were surveyed regarding how activities that may constitute rest are utilized and defined. Design: The study was based on a cross-sectional vignette-based survey. Methods: The sample used was a geographically representative convenience sample of United States-based high school athletic trainers. E-mails were sent to 2146 potential survey respondents yielding a final sample of 226 athletic trainers. Data were gathered for questions concerning recommendations for follow-up care and rest based on provided vignettes, factors considered when developing recommendations, and differences in recommendations associated with varying symptom presentations. The percentage of practitioners that would utilize each potential recommendation was used to characterize results. Results: Participants demonstrated consensus on the importance of physical and cognitive rest as well as school accommodations (all greater than 97% endorsement). Greater variability was present for recommendations regarding pain medication for headache, repeating baseline cognitive testing, and engaging in subsymptom threshold activities. Recommendations for attending but not participating in games and practice yielded conflicting information. Conclusions: Responses indicated general consensus regarding factors considered when making recommendations. There was also consensus regarding general recommendations for activity limitation following recovery with almost all participants strongly recommending cognitive and physical rest, in accordance with consensus guidelines. However, substantial differences were found for specific activities that should be limited or encouraged following youth concussion. Further research concerning the relationship between community and social interaction and clinical outcomes after concussion is warranted.

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Brandon M. DeSantis, Victor R. Kalman, and Steven Browne

Antigravity treadmills are being used in rehabilitation programs but have not been used consistently with posthip labral repair arthroscopy surgeries. The purpose of this study was to review the posthip labral protocol used by eight National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I collegiate athletes (all ages 18–21) from multiple sports that used the antigravity treadmill as a bridge between “no running” and “on-ground running.” The authors found that athletes who did this returned to play between 4.5 and 7 months, had a better overall functional status, and had no re-injuries. This is the first known study of its kind available in the literature.

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Ryan S. McCann, Ashley M.B. Suttmiller, Phillip A. Gribble, and Julie M. Cavallario

Athletic trainers are commonly responsible for clearing patients with ankle sprains for return to activity. What criteria athletic trainers typically use to determine return to activity readiness in this population remains unclear. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine criteria athletic trainers use to determine patients’ return to activity readiness following an ankle sprain. Participants varied in selected clinician-, patient-rated, and functional assessments for patients with ankle sprains. As many selected methods did not agree with expert consensus recommendations, more work is likely needed to instill best practices for evaluation of patients with ankle sprains.

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Ryan S. McCann, Ashley M.B. Suttmiller, Phillip A. Gribble, and Julie M. Cavallario

Athletic trainers’ reasons for selecting or avoiding certain evaluation techniques for patients with an ankle sprain are not fully understood. Such information is important to facilitating evidence-based practice and eliminating barriers. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine what factors influence athletic trainers’ selection or avoidance of specific outcomes used to determine patients’ return to activity readiness following an ankle sprain. Participants cited many factors that facilitate and inhibit their use of best-practice recommendations and alternative methods for evaluating patients with ankle sprains. Athletic trainers’ should continue to promote facilitators and eliminate barriers to the use of best practices.

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Diane Richmond, Kathleen Castro, Vaibhavi Rathod, Thais Medeiros da Costa Dias, Nelson Marinho de Lima Filho, Judith Meer, and Smita Rao

Context: Yoga is increasingly popular, not only as a form of recreational exercise but also as a physician-recommended intervention for health conditions. While serious adverse effects accompanying yoga practice are rare, poses that involve upper-extremity weight-bearing have a high risk of discomfort. To better understand factors contributing to adverse effects, there is a critical need for robust instruments that objectively evaluate pose performance. The purpose of this study was to assess the interrater reliability of an observational scale developed to assess the alignment of 3 yoga poses. Design: Cross-sectional experimental study. Methods: Thirty-eight individuals were given standardized instructions and performed 3 poses (Downward Dog, Plank, and Side Plank). Lateral videos were rated by 2 raters. A rating scale evaluating the alignment of 7 regions was developed by the study team with input from yoga teachers. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the percentage of subjects showing ideal alignment and deviations. Interrater reliability was quantified using Cohen kappa coefficient (κ). Results: In Downward Dog, the prevalence of ideal alignment was 20%, 28%, and 37%, at the neck, shoulder, and back, respectively; κ ranged from .44 to .69. In Plank, the prevalence of ideal alignment was 31%, 45%, and 54% at the neck, shoulder, and back, respectively; κ ranged from .47 to .95. In Side Plank, the prevalence of ideal alignment was 16, 41%, and 24%, at the neck, shoulder, and back, respectively; κ ranged from .20 to .84. Conclusion: The observational scale found a high prevalence of deviations, and demonstrated fair to substantial interrater agreement.

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Katherine A. Bain, Paige A. Clawson, Stacey A. Slone, Phillip A. Gribble, Johanna M. Hoch, Matthew C. Hoch, and Kyle B. Kosik

Context: Strength deficits and decreased scores on generic, dimension-specific, and region-specific health-related quality of life (HRQL) PRO measures are commonly documented among individuals with chronic ankle instability (CAI). However, it is unknown if there is a relationship between hip strength and self-reported patient-reported outcome (PRO) scores. Objective: To compare isometric peak torque for hip-extension (H-EXT) and hip-abduction (H-ABD), as well as PRO scores between CAI, lateral ankle sprain copers (LAS copers), and uninjured controls (UC). The secondary purpose was to examine the relationship between isometric hip peak torque and PROs in participants with CAI. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: Sixty-three individuals, 45 women (23.02 [3.83] y, 165.91 [7.55] cm, 67.28 [11.95] kg) and 18 men (26.28 [5.43] y, 179.28 [9.01] cm, 83.87 [13.26] kg), grouped as uninjured control (n = 26), LAS coper (n = 15), or CAI (n = 22). Main Outcome Measures: The Foot and Ankle Ability Measure was used to assess region-specific HRQL. The Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire was used to assess injury-related fear. The Disablement in Physically Active was used to assess global HRQL. Isometric peak torque was measured with a handheld dynamometer for H-EXT and H-ABD. Results: No group differences were observed for H-ABD (P = .34) or H-EXT (P = .35). The CAI group had significantly worse scores on all PROs compared with LAS coper (P < .001) and HC (P < .001). Moderate–weak correlations were found between H-ABD and Foot and Ankle Ability Measure—activities of daily living (P = .047; ρ = .392) and Foot and Ankle Ability Measure-Sport (P = .013; ρ = .482) and H- EXT and Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire-Work (P = .007; ρ = −.517). Conclusions: Individuals with CAI displayed lower HRQL based on worse scores on generic, dimension-specific, and region-specific PROs compared with LAS copers and uninjured controls. There were no significant between-group differences for H-EXT and H-ABD isometric peak torque production, but there was a moderate positive relationship between isometric H-ABD and self-reported ankle disability in individuals with CAI.