Spatiotemporal Parameters of Gait Among Adolescent Athletes with Concussion When Performing a Visuospatial Cognitive Task.
Lowe L, Castillo F, Allen M, Israel M, Yates C.
Background: Adolescent athletes aged 10 to 19 years are at the highest risk of experiencing sport-related concussions (SRCs). Despite the known deficits and battery of assessments following concussion, postural stability during dual-task gait remains understudied in this population.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the dual-task cost (DTC) in adolescents with an acute or chronic SRC compared to reference values from healthy athlete peers for spatiotemporal parameters of gait during walking with and without a concurrent visuospatial memory task presented on a hand-held tablet. Researchers hypothesized that adolescents during the acute phase of concussion would be likely to experience a greater DTC compared to healthy peers in at least one spatiotemporal parameter of gait when walking within the dual-task paradigm.
Study Design: Cross-sectional, observational cohort design
Methods: Adolescents with concussion were recruited to participate. Subjects were divided into acute and chronic categories based on significant differences in the neuropsychological function after a period of 28 days. They walked at a self-selected speed along the 5.186-meter GAITRite® Walkway System with and without a concurrent visuospatial cognitive task presented on a hand-held tablet. Outcomes included normalized velocity (m/s), step length (m), and double limb (DLS) and single limb support (SLS) (defined as the percent of a gait cycle [%GC]). The data were then compared to the previously published reference values established using the same methods in the healthy athlete participants for all spatiotemporal parameters of gait.
Results: Data was collected on 29 adolescent athletes with SRC. Among males (15.53+/-1.12 years) with SRC, 20% of acute and 10% of chronic cases experienced a greater DTC compared to healthy athlete reference values. A similarly increased DTC was experienced by 83% of acute and 29% of chronic SRC cases for females (15.58+/-1.16 years).
Conclusions: Adolescent athletes with concussion may continue demonstrating deficits in gait capabilities even in the chronic phase, and compensatory gait strategies were not the same between males and females. Dual-task cost assessment using the GAITRite® may be a valuable adjunct to comprehensive analysis of gait following SRC.
Level of Evidence: 2