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Melissa A. Fothergill, Danna Baik, Hannah M. Slater, and Pamela L. Graham

This study provides insight into an inclusive program between Special Olympics (SO) and academy football (soccer) players in the United Kingdom from the perspectives of players and facilitators. Qualitative focus groups were conducted across 30 participants (six facilitators, 14 Premier League academy players, and 10 SO players). Focus groups compared stakeholders’ experiences of participating in a season-long inclusive football program. Three overarching higher order themes were generated, which highlighted positive outcomes from taking part. SO players provided endorsement for developing friendships and improving football skills, whereas academy players cited the positive impact that SO players had on their mood and motivation. Facilitators reflected on positive player outcomes and subsequent accomplishments. Overall, the findings indicated that this shared experience had psychosocial and football-specific benefits for everyone who participated. Facilitators indicated that these benefits could transition into everyday life but noted that there needs to be further considerations for future programs.

Open access

Rebecca Bassett-Gunter, Jennifer Tomasone, Amy Latimer-Cheung, Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Katerina Disimino, Victoria Larocca, Lauren Tristani, Kathleen Martin Ginis, Jennifer Leo, Leigh Vanderloo, Dave Sora, and Archie Allison

Parents of children and youth with disabilities (CYD) have expressed unique physical activity (PA) information needs. Community-based organizations (CBOs) require assistance to meet these needs. Guided by the Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation II, this project established evidence-informed recommendations for developing PA information targeting families of CYD. This process involved a systematic scoping review to inform draft recommendations (k = 23), which were revised via a consensus meeting with researchers, knowledge users from CBOs, and families of CYD. Broader consultation with CBO knowledge users informed the final recommendations (k = 5) that fit within the following categories: (a) language and definitions, (b) program information, (c) benefits of PA, (d) barriers to PA, and (e) PA ideas and self-regulation tools. CBOs are encouraged to consider these recommendations when developing PA information for families of CYD. Future research will focus on the development of knowledge products to disseminate the recommendations to CBOs and support implementation.

Free access

Kwok Ng, Cindy Sit, Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Salomé Aubert, Heidi Stanish, Yeshayahu Hutzler, Diego Augusto Santos Silva, Mary-Grace Kang, José Francisco López-Gil, Eun-Young Lee, Piritta Asunta, Jurate Pozeriene, Piotr Kazimierz Urbański, Nicolas Aguilar-Farias, and John J. Reilly

This is an overview of the results from 14 countries or jurisdictions in a Global Matrix of Para Report Cards on physical activity (PA) of children and adolescents with disabilities. The methodology was based on the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance’s Global Matrix 4.0. Data were aligned with 10 indicators (Overall PA, Organized Sport, Active Play, Active Transport, Physical Fitness, Sedentary Behavior, Family & Peers, Schools, Community & Environment, and Government) to produce Para Report Cards. Subsequently, there were 139 grades; 45% were incomplete, particularly for Active Play, Physical Fitness, and Family & Peers. Collectively, Overall PA was graded the lowest (F), with Schools and Government the highest (C). Disability-specific surveillance and research gaps in PA were apparent in 14 countries or jurisdictions around the world. More coverage of PA data in Para Report Cards is needed to serve as an advocacy tool to promote PA among children and adolescents with disabilities.

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Carlo Pruneti, Simone Ferrari, and Sara Guidotti

Stress is a psychophysical condition that causes an impairment in athletes’ performance by causing an increase in sympathetic activity and an autonomic imbalance. The current methods for the measurement of psychophysiological stress introduce the use of the heart rate variability as a useful index of the well-being of these people. The heart rate variability corresponds to the time intervals between consecutive heartbeats, such as an irregularity in the normal sinus heart rhythm whose variability is due to the control exercised by a complex system of mechanisms, including the respiratory control system, and provides information about the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. This review aims at summarizing the promising results, despite small amount, of the recent literature on the efficacy of heart rate variability biofeedback on the autonomic imbalance and psychophysical well-being of athletes as well as cognitive and motor performance.

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Christina Esmann Fonvig, Jens Troelsen, Jan Christian Brønd, Sören Möller, and Anders Holsgaard-Larsen

Children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP) show a reduced physical activity (PA) level compared with their typically developed peers. This study aimed to identify potential predictors of objectively evaluated habitual PA using data from a national clinical registry—the Cerebral Palsy Follow-Up Program (CPFP)—and proxy-reported questionnaires. Data from the CPFP database showed that female sex was associated with a lower PA level. Additional questionnaire data revealed age, popliteal angle limitation, Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument–Sports and Physical Functioning Scale score, screen time, Functional Mobility Scale score at 50 m, and fatigue as predictors. The proposed models can be used for the prediction and early detection of the PA level and consequently for the potential improvement among ambulant/semiambulant individuals with CP. Further research should investigate the predictive impact of personal, social, and environmental factors on the PA level and the gap in PA levels between girls and boys.

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Madeline P. Casanova, Ashley J. Reeves, and Russell T. Baker

Context: Mental health is an important component of holistic care in athletic settings. Burnout is one of many factors associated with poor mental health, and clinicians should assess for these symptoms. The Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ) has been proposed as a measure of burnout in athletes; however, design concerns are prevalent within the scale, and psychometric analyses have resulted in inconsistent measurement properties, limiting the usefulness of the scale for accurate assessment of burnout in athletes. The objective of our study was to assess the factor structure of the Alternate Modified ABQ-15v2 using confirmatory factor analysis. If model fit was inadequate, a secondary purpose was to identify a psychometrically sound alternate ABQ model. Design: Observational study. Methods: Intercollegiate athletes and dancers pursuing a degree in dance (n = 614) were recruited from programs across the United States. Individuals had varied health statuses (eg, healthy, injured), scholarship support, and participated in a variety of intercollegiate sports. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted on the modified 15-item ABQ (Alternate Modified ABQ-15v2). Exploratory factor analysis and covariance modeling of a proposed alternate 9-item scale (ABQ-9) was conducted and multigroup invariance analysis was assessed across athlete category, class standing, and student-athlete scholarship status to assess consistency of item interpretation across subgroups. Results: The Modified ABQ did not meet recommended model fit criteria. The ABQ-9 met all recommended model fit indices but was not invariant across athlete category. Conclusions: The ABQ-9 may be a viable and efficient option for assessing burnout in the collegiate athletics setting. However, further research is needed to validate the ABQ-9 in a cross-validation study.

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Zakariya H. Nawasreh, Mohammad A. Yabroudi, Mohamed N. Kassas, Sharf M. Daradkeh, and Khaldoon M. Bashaireh

Context: Hip muscle strength and hop performance limb symmetries after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) are not well studied. This study aimed to determine the differences in hip abductors’ (ABD) and external rotators’ (ER) muscle strength measures between limbs, and the relationship between hip ABD and ER muscle strengths and hop performance limb symmetry indices (LSIs) 2 years after ACLR. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Forty (level I/II) men athletes 2 years after unilateral ACLR completed 4 single-legged hop tests and involved hip ABD and ER strength testing (maximum voluntary isometric contraction [MVIC]; isokinetic peak torque [PKTQ] at 60°, 180°, and 300°/s; and isotonic peak velocity at 75% of their MVICs). Muscle strength measures were normalized to body mass, and hop performances were reported as LSIs. Paired t test was used to determine strength differences between limbs, and the Pearson correlation coefficient was used to assess the relationship between involved hip muscle strength measures and hop performance LSIs. Results: Hip ER-MVIC (involved: 60.26 [12.01], uninvolved: 63.68 [13.17] N·m/kg) and ER eccentric PKTQ at 60°/s (involved: 32.59 [9.28]; uninvolved: 35.73 [10.50] N·m/kg) were significantly different between limbs (P ≤ .018). Single-hop LSI correlated with hip ER-PKTQ at 180°/s (r = .354) and 300°/s (r = .324, P ≤ .041), while triple-hop LSI correlated with hip ER-MVIC (r = .320), concentric ER-PKTQ at 180°/s (r = .355), eccentric ER-PKTQ at 60°/s (r = .314), and hip ABD-PKTQ at 60°/s (r = .364) and 300°/s (r = .336, P ≤ .049). Conclusions: Men athletes demonstrated symmetrical hop performance and hip muscle strengths, except for ER hip’s MVIC and isokinetic eccentric peak torque at 60°/s 2 years after ACLR. Hop performance LSIs had a few, yet positive moderate relationships with involved hip ABDs and ER strength measures. This may indicate that hip ABD and ER muscle strength measures contribute to athletes’ hop performances 2 years after ACLR. Post-ACLR rehabilitation programs might incorporate hip muscle strengthening training to improve athletes’ functional performances.

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Daniel Miner and Brent Harper

Context: The Buffalo Concussion Treadmill Test (BCTT) is a standard assessment of exercise tolerance utilized for exercise prescription following concussion and to inform decisions regarding return to play. One limitation of the BCTT is that interpretation of test results is dependent on individuals’ self-report of symptom exacerbation with exertion. Symptoms following concussion are significantly underreported or unreported. Combining objective neurocognitive assessment with exercise tolerance testing may enable clinicians to objectively identify those requiring further assessment or rehabilitation before return to play. The purpose of this study was to investigate how performance on a neurocognitive assessment battery is affected by provocative exercise testing. Design: Prospective cohort study, pretest/posttest. Methods: A total of 30 participants included 13 women (43.3%), age 23.4 (1.93) years, height 173.56 (10) cm, weight 77.35 (16.3) kg, and 11 (36.7%) with history of concussion. All participants completed a neurocognitive assessment battery, including the Stroop Test and standardized assessments of working memory, attention, and information processing speed/accuracy in single-task (seated position) and dual-task conditions (walking on a treadmill at 2.0 miles per hour). The neurocognitive assessment battery was performed at baseline and after the standard BCTT test protocol. Results: BCTT: Average percentage of heart rate maximum (%HRmax) = 93.97% (4.8%); average maximum rating of perceived exertion = 18.6 (1.5). Time-based performance in single-task and dual-task conditions significantly improved from baseline (P < .05) following maximal exercise testing on the BCTT for the following neurocognitive assessments: concentration-reverse digits, Stroop congruent, and Stroop incongruent. Conclusions: Healthy participants demonstrated improvements across multiple domains of neurocognitive performance following the exercise tolerance testing on the BCTT. Understanding normal responses in neurocognitive performance for healthy individuals following exercise tolerance testing may allow clinicians to more objectively monitor the trajectory of recovery following sports-related concussion.

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Kannan Singaravelu Jaganathan, Karen A. Sullivan, Sally Kinmond, Sara Berndt, Steve Street, Catherine Haden, Jaimi Greenslade, Katie McMahon, Gary Mitchell, and Graham Kerr

Context: Exercise rehabilitation for postconcussion symptoms (PCS) has shown some benefits in adolescent athletes; but a synthesis of evidence on exercise per se has been lacking. Objective: This systematic review aimed to determine if unimodal exercise interventions are useful to treat PCS and if so, to identify a set of clearly defined and effective exercise parameters for further research. Evidence Acquisition: Relevant health databases and clinical trial registries were searched from inception to June 2022. The searches used a combination of subject headings and keywords related to mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), PCSs, and exercise. Two independent reviewers screened and appraised the literature. The Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias-2 tool for randomized controlled trials was used to assess methodological quality of studies. Evidence Synthesis: Seven studies were included in the review. Four studies were assessed to have a low overall risk of bias, 2 with low risk and 1 with some concerns. Participants in the studies comprised mostly adolescents with sports-related concussion. The review found exercise to be more beneficial than control conditions in 2 studies investigating acute PCS and 2 studies investigating persistent PCS. Within-group differences showing symptom improvement over time were observed in all 7 studies. In general, the review found support for programmatic exercise that commences after an initial period of rest for 24 to 48 hours. Recommendations for exercise parameters that can be explored in subsequent research include progressive aerobic exercise starting from 10 to 15 minutes at least 4 times a week, at a starting intensity of 50% HR of the subsymptom threshold, with length of program depending on recovery. Conclusion: The evidence in support of exercise rehabilitation for PCSs is moderate based on the small pool of eligible studies. Further research can be guided by the exercise parameters identified in this review.

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Siobhan K. Fitzpatrick and Janine V. Olthuis

American student-athletes (SAs) are at heightened risk for hazardous alcohol consumption compared with their nonathlete peers. However, little is known about this risk or the influence of psychosocial predictors on drinking behavior among Canadian SAs. This study compared rates of alcohol use across Canadian SAs and nonathletes and investigated whether the use of athlete-specific psychosocial predictors can improve the prediction of alcohol use outcomes in SAs. Participants (179 varsity athletes and 366 nonathletes) completed anonymous self-report questionnaires. Results suggest that Canadian athletes are at a heightened risk for experiencing alcohol-related problems compared with nonathletes, with general psychosocial predictors explaining the majority of variance in SA alcohol use. However, and quite notably, athlete-specific positive reinforcement motives predicted SA binge drinking. This research provides some of the first evidence of drinking-related problems among Canadian SAs and supports the potential use of preventative efforts to help SAs develop safe strategies for alcohol use.