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College Athletic Trainers’ Perceptions of Rest and Physical Activity When Managing Athletes With a Sport-Related Concussion

Kyle M. Petit and Tracey Covassin

Context: Cognitive and physical rest are commonly utilized when managing a sport-related concussion (SRC); however, emerging research now suggests that excessive rest may negatively impact recovery. Despite current research recommendations, athletic trainers (ATs) may be behind in implementing this emerging research into clinical practice. Objective: To assess college ATs’ perceptions and implementation of an emerging SRC management approach (cognitive and physical rest and activity). Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Survey. Participants: A total of 122 (11.8%) ATs (53.3% female; 10.8 [9.8] y experience; 8.7 [6.9] SRCs managed annually) responded to the survey, which was randomly distributed to 1000 members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, as well as 31 additional ATs from varying universities. Main Outcome Measures: A 5-point Likert scale assessed the ATs’ perceptions and clinical practices as they relate to specific athlete behaviors (ie, texting, sleeping). The ATs were asked about their willingness to incorporate physical activity into clinical practice. Results: Playing video games (95.9%) and practicing (93.4%) were the activities most perceived to extend SRC recovery. However, sleeping more than usual (7.4%) and increased time in a dark environment (11.5%) were viewed as less likely to extend recovery. ATs restricted practicing (98.4%) and working out (91.8%) for athletes with SRC, while sleeping more than usual (6.6%) and increased time in a dark environment (13.1%) were less restricted. About 71% of the ATs would implement light physical activity for athletes with a symptom score of 1 to 5, 31% with scores of 6 to 10, and 15% with scores of 11 to 20. About 43%, 74%, and 97% believe that light, moderate, and vigorous physical activity, while symptomatic, will extend recovery, respectively. Conclusions: The ATs were receptive to including light physical activity into their SRC management, although only in certain situations. However, most ATs’ beliefs and clinical practices did not completely align with emerging research recommendations for the management of SRCs.

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Landing Biomechanics in Adolescent Athletes With and Without a History of Sports-Related Concussion

Jason M. Avedesian, Tracey Covassin, and Janet S. Dufek

Recent evidence suggests previously concussed athletes are at greater risk for lower-extremity (LE) injuries than are controls. However, little is known regarding the influence of sports-related concussion (SRC) on landing biomechanics that may provide a mechanistic rationale for LE injury risk. The purpose of this investigation was to examine LE drop-landing biomechanics in adolescent athletes with and without a previous SRC history. Participants included 10 adolescent athletes with an SRC history and 11 controls from multiple sports. Three-dimensional kinematic and kinetic data associated with LE injury risk were analyzed across 5 trials for 30- and 60-cm landing heights. Multivariate analyses indicated group differences in landing patterns from the 30- (P = .041) and 60-cm (P = .015) landing heights. Follow-up analyses indicated that concussed adolescent athletes demonstrated significantly less ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion versus controls when performing drop landings. Our findings suggest that previously concussed adolescent athletes complete drop-landing maneuvers with ankle and knee joint kinematic patterns that suggest greater risk for LE injury. While limitations such as sport variety and explicit LE injury history are present, the results of this study provide a possible biomechanical rationale for the association between SRC and LE injury risk.

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Preseason to Postseason Changes on the BTrackS Force Plate in a Sample of College Athletes

Ryan Morrison, Kyle M. Petit, Chris Kuenze, Ryan N. Moran, and Tracey Covassin

Context: Balance testing is a vital component in the evaluation and management of sport-related concussion. Few studies have examined the use of objective, low-cost, force-plate balance systems and changes in balance after a competitive season. Objective: To examine the extent of preseason versus postseason static balance changes using the Balance Tracking System (BTrackS) force plate in college athletes. Design: Pretest, posttest design. Setting: Athletic training facility. Participants: A total of 47 healthy, Division-I student-athletes (33 males and 14 females; age 18.4 [0.5] y, height 71.8 [10.8] cm, weight 85.6 [21.7] kg) participated in this study. Main Outcome Measures: Total center of pressure path length was measured preseason and postseason using the BTrackS force plate. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test was conducted to examine preseason and postseason changes. SEM and minimal detectable change were also calculated. Results: There was a significant difference in center of pressure path length differed between preseason (24.6 [6.8] cm) and postseason (22.7 [5.4] cm) intervals (P = .03), with an SEM of 3.8 cm and minimal detectable change of 10.5 cm. Conclusions: Significant improvements occurred for center of pressure path length after a competitive season, when assessed using the BTrackS in a sample of college athletes. Further research is warranted to determine the effectiveness of the BTrackS as a reliable, low-cost alternative to force-plate balance systems. In addition, clinicians may need to update baseline balance assessments more frequently to account for improvements.

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Exploratory Examination of Knee Self-Efficacy in Individuals With a History of ACL Reconstruction and Sport-Related Concussion

Francesca M. Genoese, Aaron J. Zynda, Kayla Ford, Matthew C. Hoch, Johanna M. Hoch, Tracey Covassin, and Shelby E. Baez

Context: Knee self-efficacy and injury-related fear are associated with poor self-reported knee function and decreased physical activity (PA) after ACL reconstruction (ACLR). Limited research has explored contextual factors that may influence psychological responses in this population, such as history of sport-related concussion (SRC). After SRC, individuals may experience increased negative emotions, such as sadness and nervousness. However, it is unknown how SRC history may influence knee-self efficacy and injury-related fear in individuals with ACLR. The purpose of this study was to compare knee self-efficacy and injury-related fear in individuals after ACLR who present with and without history of SRC. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Forty participants ≥1 year postunilateral ACLR were separated by history of SRC (no SRC = 29, SRC = 11). The Knee Self-Efficacy Scale (KSES) and subscales measured certainty regarding performance of daily activities (KSES-ADL), sports/leisure activities (KSES-Sport), physical activities (KSES-PA), and future knee function (KSES-Future). The Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia-11 measured injury-related fear. Mann–Whitney U tests were used to examine between-group differences. Hedges g effect sizes and 95% confidence interval were used to examine clinically meaningful group differences. Results: Individuals with a history of ACLR and SRC demonstrated worse KSES-PA (7.5 [5.3]) compared with those without a history of SRC (8.1 [6.1], P = .03). No other statistically significant differences were observed. A medium effect size was present for the KSES-PA (0.62), KSES-ADL (0.42), KSES-Present (ADL + PA + Sport) (0.48), KSES-Total (0.53), and Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia-11 (0.61) but must be interpreted with caution as 95% confidence interval crossed 0. Conclusions: This exploratory study indicated that individuals with a history of ACLR and SRC had worse knee self-efficacy for PA compared with those without history of SRC. Rehabilitation specialists should monitor knee self-efficacy deficits in the post-ACLR population and recognize the potential influence of cumulative injury history on rehabilitative outcomes.

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Preliminary Baseline Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening Scores in Pediatric Soccer Athletes

Morgan Anderson, Christopher P. Tomczyk, Aaron J. Zynda, Alyssa Pollard-McGrandy, Megan C. Loftin, and Tracey Covassin

Context: The utility of baseline vestibular and ocular motor screening (VOMS) in high school and collegiate athletes is demonstrated throughout the literature; however, baseline VOMS data at the youth level are limited. In addition, with the recent adoption of the change scoring method, there is a need to document baseline VOMS total and change scores in a pediatric population. Objective: To document baseline VOMS total and change scores and to document the internal consistency of the VOMS in pediatric soccer athletes. We hypothesized that the VOMS would demonstrate strong internal consistency in pediatric soccer athletes. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Pediatric soccer athletes (N = 110; range = 5–12 y) completed the VOMS at baseline. Descriptive statistics summarized demographic information, VOMS total scores, and VOMS change scores. Cronbach α assessed internal consistency for VOMS total scores and change scores. Results: Twenty-one (19.1%) participants had at least one total score above clinical cutoffs (≥2 on any VOMS component and ≥5 cm on average near point convergence). Forty (36.4%) participants had at least one change score above clinical cutoffs (≥1 on any VOMS component and ≥3 cm on average near point convergence). The internal consistency was strong for total scores with all VOMS components included (Cronbach α = .80) and change scores (Cronbach α = .89). Conclusions: Although results suggest VOMS items measure distinct components of the vestibular and ocular motor systems, caution should be taken when interpreting VOMS total and change scores in pediatric athletes, as overreporting symptoms is common, thereby impacting the false-positive rate.