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Journal Article


Wilkerson GB, Nabhan DC, Crane RT. J. Athl. Train. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Emory Healthcare, Atlanta, GA.


(Copyright © 2020, National Athletic Trainers' Association (USA))






CONTEXT: Detection of subtle changes in brain sensorimotor processes may enable clinicians to identify athletes who would derive the greatest benefit from interventions designed to reduce the risk for future injury and progressive neurologic or musculoskeletal dysfunction.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a generalizable statistical model for identifying athletes who possess subtle alterations in sensorimotor processes that may be due to previous concussion.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Residential Olympic training center sports medicine clinic. PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: A primary cohort of 35 elite athletes and a secondary cohort of 40 elite athletes who performed identical tests the preceding year. INTERVENTION(S): Two upper extremity tests of visual-motor reaction time and 2 tests of whole-body reactive agility were administered. The whole-body tests required lateral or diagonal responses to virtual-reality targets, which provided measures of reaction time, speed, acceleration, and deceleration. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Sport-related concussion history, which was reported by 54% (n = 19) of the athletes in the primary cohort and 45% (n = 18) of the athletes in the secondary cohort.

RESULTS: Univariable analyses identified 12 strong predictors of sport-related concussion history, which we combined to create a composite metric with maximum predictive value. Composite lateral asymmetry for whole-body reactive movements and persisting effects of previous musculoskeletal injury yielded a logistic regression model with exceptionally good discrimination (area under the curve = 0.845) and calibration (predicted-observed probabilities within 7 subgroups: r = 0.959, P =.001). Application of the derived model to compatible data acquired from another cohort of elite athletes demonstrated very good discrimination (area under the curve = 0.772) and calibration (within 8 subgroups: r = 0.849, P =.008).

CONCLUSIONS: Asymmetry in whole-body reactive movement capabilities may be a manifestation of a subtle abnormality in the functional connectivity of brain networks that might be relevant to previously reported associations between sport-related concussion history and musculoskeletal injury occurrence.

Language: en


logistic regression; musculoskeletal injury risk; reactive agility


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