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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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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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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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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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Tracey Covassin, Bryan Crutcher, R.J. Elbin, Scott Burkhart, and Anthony Kontos

The present study explored the relationship of neurocognitive performance and symptoms to coping responses at 3 and 8 days postconcussion. A total of 104 concussed athletes (M = 16.41, SD = 2.19 years) completed the Immediate Post Concussion Assessment Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) at baseline and the ImPACT and Brief Cope inventory at 3 and 8 days postconcussion. Concussed athletes reported more frequent use of selfdistraction, behavioral disengagement, religion, and self-blame 3 days postconcussion compared with 8 days. Concussed athletes reported more use of avoidance coping at 3 days than 8 days (Wilks’s Lambda =.95, F [1, 100] =4.71, p = .032, η2=.046) post-injury. Total symptoms were also a significant (p = .001) predictor of avoidance coping 3 days postconcussion and decreased visual memory was associated with increased avoidance coping (p = .03) 8 days post-injury. Time since injury likely impacts neurocognitive performance, symptomology, and coping. Clinicians should be aware of higher reported symptoms early and lingering visual memory deficits 1-week post-injury.