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Tracey Covassin, Kyle M. Petit and Morgan Anderson

Sport-related concussion (SRC) is a growing health concern, particularly in younger, at-risk athletic populations. These injuries commonly present with a wide range of clinical signs (i.e., poor coordination, behavioral, mood changes) and symptoms (i.e., headache, dizziness, difficulty concentrating), along with neurocognitive and vestibular/ocular impairments. This review of SRCs in youth athletes focuses on individuals 5–18 years of age and includes an overview of concussion (i.e., definition, signs/symptoms, epidemiology), as well as concussion education and awareness. This is followed by a review of SRC assessment and management strategies, along with common recovery, return-to-play, and treatment approaches. Finally, suggestions are made for future research and recommendations pertaining to SRC in youth athletes.

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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.