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Tiffany Toong, Katherine E. Wilson, Anne W. Hunt, Shannon Scratch, Carol DeMatteo, and Nick Reed

Context: Current international consensus endorses a multimodal approach to concussion assessment. However, the psychometric evaluation of clinical measures used to identify postconcussion performance deficits once an athlete is asymptomatic remains limited, particularly in the pediatric population. Objective: To describe and compare the sensitivity and specificity of a multimodal assessment battery (balance, cognition, and upper and lower body strength) versus individual clinical measures at discriminating between concussed youth athletes and noninjured controls when asymptomatic. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Hospital laboratory setting. Participants: A total of 32 youth athletes with a concussion and 32 matched (age and sex) noninjured control participants aged 10–18 years. Intervention(s): Participants were administered preinjury (baseline) assessments of cognition (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing [ImPACT]), balance (BioSway), and upper and lower body strength (grip strength and standing long jump). Assessments were readministered when concussed participants reported symptom resolution (asymptomatic time point). Noninjured control participants were reassessed using the same time interval as their concussion matched pair. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated using standardized regression-based methods and receiver operating characteristic curves. Main Outcome Measures: Outcome measures included baseline and postinjury ImPACT, BioSway, grip strength, and standing long jump scores. Results: When asymptomatic, declines in performance on each individual clinical measure were seen in 3% to 22% of the concussion group (sensitivity = 3%–22%) compared with 3% to 13% of the noninjured control group (specificity = 87%–97%) (90% confidence interval). The multimodal battery of all combined clinical measures yielded a sensitivity of 41% and a specificity of 77% (90% confidence interval). Based on discriminative analyses, the multimodal approach was statistically superior compared with an individual measures approach for balance and upper and lower body strength, but not for cognition. Conclusions: Results provide a foundation for understanding which domains of assessment (cognition, balance, and strength) may be sensitive and specific to deficits once symptoms resolve in youth athletes. More work is needed prior to clinical implementation of a preinjury (baseline) to postinjury multimodal approach to assessment following concussion in youth athletes.

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Leanne K. Elliott, Jonathan A. Weiss, and Meghann Lloyd

Early motor skill interventions have been shown to improve the motor skill proficiency of children with autism spectrum disorder; however, little is known about the secondary effects associated with these types of interventions (e.g., influence on behavior, social skills, family dynamics). The purpose of this qualitative study was to (a) investigate parents’ perceptions of the child-level benefits associated with a fundamental motor skill intervention for their 4-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder and (b) explore how child-level benefits influenced the family unit. Eight parents (N = 8) were interviewed (semistructured) about their experiences with the intervention for their child(ren); the study was grounded in phenomenology. Five main child-level benefits emerged, including improvements with (a) motor skills, (b) social skills, (c) listening skills, (d) turn-taking skills, and (e) transition skills. The child-level benefits then extended to family members in a number of ways (e.g., more positive sibling interactions). These findings highlight several important secondary effects that should be investigated in future research.

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Valerie A. Troutman and Michele J. Grimm

An Interactive Digital Experience as an Alternative Laboratory (IDEAL) was developed and implemented in a flipped biomechanics classroom. The IDEAL challenge problem was created to more closely simulate a real-world scenario than typical homework or challenge problems. It added a more involved story, specific characters, simple interaction, and student-led inquiry into a challenge problem. Students analyzed musculoskeletal biomechanics data to conduct a forensic biomechanics investigation of an individual who suffered a fracture. Students ultimately approached the IDEAL problem with a greater appreciation and enjoyment than previous open-ended challenge problems—those that were assigned in a traditional problem-statement manner—throughout the semester. Students who were more fully engaged in the IDEAL challenge problem, as evidenced by the fact that they requested all of the evidence on their own, also performed better on the final report grade. This signals improved learning with respect to biomechanical analysis when the students were creatively participating in the storyline surrounding the forensic investigation.

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Manuel J. Escalona, Daniel Bourbonnais, Michel Goyette, Damien Le Flem, Cyril Duclos, and Dany H. Gagnon

The effects of walking speeds on lower-extremity muscle synergies (MSs) were investigated among 20 adults who walked 20 m at SLOW (0.6 ± 0.2 m/s), natural (NAT; 1.4 ± 0.1 m/s), and FAST (1.9 ± 0.1 m/s) speeds. Surface electromyography of eight lower-extremity muscles was recorded before extracting MSs using a nonnegative matrix factorization algorithm. Increasing walking speed tended to merge MSs associated with weight acceptance and limb deceleration, whereas reducing walking speed does not change the number and composition of MSs. Varying gait speed, particularly decreasing speed, may represent a gait training strategy needing additional attention given its effects on MSs.

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Stephan G. Bodkin, Jay Hertel, and Joseph M. Hart

Context: Individuals following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) demonstrate altered postural stability and functional movement patterns. It is hypothesized that individuals following ACLR may compensate with sensory adaptations with greater reliance on visual mechanisms during activities. It is unknown if visual compensatory strategies are implemented to maintain postural stability during functional tasks. Objective: To examine visual gaze accuracy during a single-leg balance task in individuals following ACLR compared with healthy, active controls. Design: Case control. Setting: Controlled laboratory. Participants: A total of 20 individuals (10 ACLR and 10 healthy controls) participated in the study. Data Collection and Analysis: Visual gaze patterns were obtained during 20-second single-leg balance trials while participants were instructed to look at presented targets. During the Stationary Target Task, the visual target was presented in a central location for the duration of the trial. The Moving Target Task included a visual target that randomly moved to 1 of 9 target locations for a period of 2 seconds. Targets were stratified into superior, middle, and inferior levels for the Moving Target Task. Results: The Stationary Target Task demonstrated no differences in visual error between groups (P = .89). The Moving Target Task demonstrated a significant interaction between group and target level (F2,36 = 3.76, P = .033). Individuals following ACLR demonstrated greater visual error for the superior targets (ACLR = .70 [.44] m, healthy = .41 [.21] m, Cohen d = 0.83 [0.06 to 1.60]) and inferior targets (ACLR = .68 [.25] m, healthy = .33 [.16] m, Cohen d = 1.67 [0.81 to 2.52]). Conclusion: Individuals following ACLR demonstrate greater visual error during settings of high or low visual stimuli compared with healthy individuals to maintain single-limb postural stability. This population may rely on visual input to compensate for the somatosensory changes following injury.

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Uri Gottlieb and Shmuel Springer

Context: Arthroscopic surgical repair of the shoulder is recommended when conservative treatment for shoulder instability (SI) fails. However, many patients undergoing this procedure do not return to same level of activity. Psychological factors and muscle strength have been shown to be associated with postoperative outcomes in other musculoskeletal conditions. Objective: To investigate the association between fear avoidance, muscle strength, and short-term function in patients after surgical SI repair. Methods: Twenty-five male patients who underwent shoulder surgery following at least one event of SI were included in this study. Evaluations of fear avoidance related to physical activity and disability were performed at baseline (during the first encounter with the physical therapist) and 7 to 8 weeks postsurgery. Fear avoidance beliefs were assessed using the Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire. Disability was assessed using the Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire and the Western Ontario SI index. The follow-up evaluation (weeks 7–8) included measurement of maximal isometric strength of the internal and external rotators. Nonparametric Kendall tau was used to determine the correlations between baseline fear avoidance, muscle strength, and disability at follow-up. Results: Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire at follow-up was significantly correlated with baseline Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire (τ = .520, P < .001), baseline fear avoidance (τ = .399, P = .008), and both internal rotator (τ = −.400, P = .005) and external rotator strength (τ = −.353, P = .014). Western Ontario SI index at follow-up was moderately correlated with baseline Western Ontario SI index (τ = .387, P = .007), internal rotator (τ = −.427, P = .003), and external rotator (τ = −.307, P = .032), but not with baseline Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (τ = .22, P = .145). Conclusions: The results indicate a possible association between fear avoidance beliefs and short-term disability. Further studies are warranted to better explore and understand these relationships.