The Effect of Visual and Sensory Performance on Head Impact Biomechanics in College Football Players
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- Harpham, J.A., Mihalik, J.P., Littleton, A.C. et al. Ann Biomed Eng (2014) 42: 1. doi:10.1007/s10439-013-0881-8
The development of prevention strategies is critical to address the rising prevalence of sport-related concussions. Visual and sensory performance may influence an individual’s ability to interpret environmental cues, anticipate opponents’ actions, and create appropriate motor responses limiting the severity of an impending head impact. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between traditional and visual sensory reaction time measures, and the association between visual and sensory performance and head impact severity in college football players. Thirty-eight collegiate football players participated in the study. We used real-time data collection instrumentation to record head impact biomechanics during games and practices. Our findings reveal no significant correlations between reaction time on traditional and visual sensory measures. We found a significant association between head impact severity and level of visual and sensory performance for multiple assessments, with low visual and sensory performers sustaining a higher number of severe head impacts. Our findings reveal a link between level of visual and sensory performance and head impact biomechanics. Future research will allow clinicians to have the most appropriate testing batteries to identify at-risk athletes and create interventions to decrease their risk of injurious head impacts.