Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Thomas Buckley

Committee Member 1

Barry Munkasy

Committee Member 2

Barry Joyner

Abstract

There are an estimated 1.6 - 3.8 million sports-related concussions which occur in athletics annually in the United States; however, the actual rate may be higher, as many studies suggest that nearly half of the concussions that occur may go unreported. Recent evidence suggests life-long behavioral and cognitive impairments in individuals with multiple, usually 3 or more, concussions; however to date there has been limited assessment of motor impairments in this population. The transitional movement of gait initiation, literally the act of starting to walk, has effectively identified impairments in postural control in a wide range of neurologically impaired populations (e.g., post-stroke, Parkinson's, aging). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify impairments in postural motor control in individuals with a history of 3 or more concussions. Subjects performed 5 trials of gait initiation and we compared their performance to healthy subjects with no history of concussion. We hypothesized that subjects with a history of concussions will display significant differences in spatiotemporal measurements and postural control through gait initiation when compared to healthy subjects. There were no significant main effects for group for displacement of COP during S1, S2, or S3 of GI (F=0.809, P=0.581). There were no significant effects for group for separation of COP-COM during the GI task. (F=0.062, P=0.992). There was also no significant main effect for group for spatiotemporal measures of step length and velocity (F=0.819, p=0.458). The results of this study suggest that athletes with a history of 3 or more concussions do not display deficits in postural control during GI compared to age and sport matched controls.

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