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  • Author: Melissa DiFabio x
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Melissa DiFabio, Lindsay V. Slater, Grant Norte, John Goetschius, Joseph M. Hart and Jay Hertel

Context: After ACL reconstruction (ACLR), deficits are often assessed using a variety of functional tests, which can be time consuming. It is unknown whether these tests provide redundant or unique information. Objective: To explore relationships between components of a battery of functional tests, the Lower Extremity Assessment Protocol (LEAP) was created to aid in developing the most informative, concise battery of tests for evaluating ACLR patients. Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 76 ACLR patients (6.86±3.07 months postoperative) and 54 healthy participants. Intervention: Isokinetic knee flexion and extension at 90 and 180 degrees/second, maximal voluntary isometric contraction for knee extension and flexion, single leg balance, 4 hopping tasks (single, triple, crossover, and 6-meter timed hop), and a bilateral drop vertical jump that was scored with the Landing Error Scoring System (LESS). Main Outcome Measures: Peak torque, average torque, average power, total work, fatigue indices, center of pressure area and velocity, hop distance and time, and LESS score. A series of factor analyses were conducted to assess grouping of functional tests on the LEAP for each limb in the ACLR and healthy groups and limb symmetry indices (LSI) for both groups. Correlations were run between measures that loaded on retained factors. Results: Isokinetic and isometric strength tests for knee flexion and extension, hopping, balance, and fatigue index were identified as unique factors for all limbs. The LESS score loaded with various factors across the different limbs. The healthy group LSI analysis produced more factors than the ACLR LSI analysis. Individual measures within each factor had moderate to strong correlations. Isokinetic and isometric strength, hopping, balance, and fatigue index provided unique information. Conclusions: Within each category of measures, not all tests may need to be included for a comprehensive functional assessment of ACLR patients due to the high amount of shared variance between them.

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David R. Howell, Jessie R. Oldham, Melissa DiFabio, Srikant Vallabhajosula, Eric E. Hall, Caroline J. Ketcham, William P. Meehan III and Thomas A. Buckley

Gait impairments have been documented following sport-related concussion. Whether preexisting gait pattern differences exist among athletes who participate in different sport classifications, however, remains unclear. Dual-task gait examinations probe the simultaneous performance of everyday tasks (ie, walking and thinking), and can quantify gait performance using inertial sensors. The purpose of this study was to compare the single-task and dual-task gait performance of collision/contact and noncontact athletes. A group of collegiate athletes (n = 265) were tested before their season at 3 institutions (mean age= 19.1 ± 1.1 years). All participants stood still (single-task standing) and walked while simultaneously completing a cognitive test (dual-task gait), and completed walking trials without the cognitive test (single-task gait). Spatial-temporal gait parameters were compared between collision/contact and noncontact athletes using MANCOVAs; cognitive task performance was compared using ANCOVAs. No significant single-task or dual-task gait differences were found between collision/contact and noncontact athletes. Noncontact athletes demonstrated higher cognitive task accuracy during single-task standing (P = .001) and dual-task gait conditions (P = .02) than collision/contact athletes. These data demonstrate the utility of a dual-task gait assessment outside of a laboratory and suggest that preinjury cognitive task performance during dual-tasks may differ between athletes of different sport classifications.