Postural control differences among collision, contact, and non-contact sport female athletes

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kristen N. Schleich (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christopher Rhea

Abstract: Postural control is defined as the act of maintaining balance, which is a foundational skill in nearly every sport. Postural control can be enhanced with practice or degraded following a neurological insult. Since balance tests are a standard practice to assess neuromotor dysfunction following a suspected concussion, understanding how postural control is affected across different sports that emphasize different skills and have different probabilities of neurological insult from head trauma would help determine whether sport specificity needs to be taken into account within concussion management. In a first step to determine whether differences exist in postural control in relation to sport, adult females actively participating in a variety of sports will be recruited. This study was focused on female athletes for the follow reasons: (1) females are underrepresented in the concussion literature, (2) females experience concussions at a higher rate than males, and (3) concussion symptoms are stronger and last longer in female athletes. Thus, focusing on female athletes helped to close a critical gap in the literature relative to female postural control and concussion management. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which postural control in female athletes differs between four distinct sports. The dependent variables were derived from center of pressure (CoP) profiles recorded during three 20 second static stance tasks on a force plate with eyes closed. The average path length of the CoP displacement time series was examined. Further, the CoP displacement time series were differentiated into a CoP velocity time series and three variables were derived: (1) the average (velocity mean), the magnitude of the variability (velocity standard deviation), and structure of the variability (velocity sample entropy). Poorer postural control was defined as greater CoP movement (increased displacement path length), greater CoP rate of movement (increased velocity mean), greater magnitude in the variation of the CoP rate of movement (increased velocity standard deviation), and less complexity in the variation of the CoP rate of movement (decreased velocity sample entropy). It was hypothesized that the poorest postural control would be exhibited in the sports with the most potential for head trauma. To address this hypothesis, a one-way ANOVA was used to determine if athletes in each sport exhibit different postural control. A main effect for sample entropy was observed, F(3, 84) = 6.3, p = < .001, ?p2 = 0.18, and Bonferroni-corrected follow-up t-tests showed that basketball sports had higher sample entropy than football, roller derby, and running sports (p < .001). No differences were observed between sports in path length and COP velocity SD. A statistically significant positive correlation was observed in the COP velocity SD of basketball athletes with concussion history (r = .67, p > .05). These findings indicate that females in different sports exhibit different postural control strategies, which could be due to the balance skills required for their sport and/or the potential for head trauma. This study helps to start filling in the gaps of literature to better understand postural control in female athletes participating in a variety of sports and who are older than athlete cohorts typically studied within the concussion space.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Balance, Concussion, Female athletes, Force plate, Postural control, Sport performance
Equilibrium (Physiology)
Brain $x Concussion
Sports injuries
Women athletes $x Wounds and injuries

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