Cognitive-motor integration deficits in young adult athletes following concussion

  • Brown J
  • Dalecki M
  • Hughes C
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: The ability to perform visually-guided motor tasks requires the transformation of visual information into programmed motor outputs. When the guiding visual information does not align spatially with the motor output, the brain processes rules to integrate the information for an appropriate motor response. Here, we look at how performance on such tasks is affected in young adult athletes with concussion history.$\$n$\$nMETHODS: Participants displaced a cursor from a central to peripheral targets on a vertical display by sliding their finger along a touch sensitive screen in one of two spatial planes. The addition of a memory component, along with variations in cursor feedback increased task complexity across conditions.$\$n$\$nRESULTS: Significant main effects between participants with concussion history and healthy controls without concussion history were observed in timing and accuracy measures. Importantly, the deficits were distinctly more pronounced for participants with concussion history compared to healthy controls, especially when the brain had to control movements having two levels of decoupling between vision and action. A discriminant analysis correctly classified athletes with a history of concussion based on task performance with an accuracy of 94 {%}, despite the majority of these athletes being rated asymptomatic by current standards.$\$n$\$nCONCLUSIONS: These findings correspond to our previous work with adults at risk of developing dementia, and support the use of cognitive motor integration as an enhanced assessment tool for those who may have mild brain dysfunction. Such a task may provide a more sensitive metric of performance relevant to daily function than what is currently in use, to assist in return to play/work/learn decisions.

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  • Jeffrey A. Brown

  • Marc Dalecki

  • Cindy Hughes

  • Alison K. Macpherson

  • Lauren E. Sergio

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