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Gait Assessments during Dual-task Walking in Concussed Athletes
South East Regional Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (2016)
  • K. Ake, Georgia Southern University
  • Nathan D’Amico, Georgia Southern University
  • K. Grimes, Georgia Southern University
  • Megan E. Mormile, Georgia Southern University
  • D. Powell, Campbell University
  • T. Buckley, University of Delaware
  • Nicholas G. Murray, Georgia Southern University
Dual-task (DT) scenarios, which increase cognitive load, may be a method of assessing gait abnormalities in concussed athletes during walking. This may be a means of objectively differentiating between healthy and concussed athletes during the acute phase of recovery. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of DT gait in concussed athletes (CA) within 48 hours of the concussive injury as compared to a group of healthy athletes. METHODS: Gait parameters of 53 collegiate athletes (31 male, 21 female, age: 19.4±1.4 years) with concussions were assessed within 48 hours of the injury using GAITRite. The control group consisted of 53 (31 male, 21 female, age: 18.8±1.3years) gender-matched collegiate athletes completed five DT gait trials which included mental math, concentration, and spelling tasks. Gait velocity, stride length, and heel-to-heel base of support values were measured and averaged. RESULTS: A one-way ANOVA revealed a significantly faster gait velocity (p=0.001) in CA (1.11±0.21 m/s) compared to the healthy group (0.99±0.17 m/s), and a significantly greater stride length (p=0.029) in CA (126.7±16.7 cm), vs. the healthy group (120.3±12.3 cm). The heel-to-heel base of support (p=0.042) was also significantly larger in CA (14.5±3.9 cm) than in the healthy group (13.0±3.4 cm). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that CA adopt a more conservative gait strategy during DT walking, as demonstrated by a larger heel-to-heel base of support. However, the increased velocity and stride length exhibited by CA may be a function of decreased attention to the accuracy of the DT presented and more focus on the motor (gait) task. These data suggest concussed athletes may have reduced capacity to perform a cognitive and motor task simultaneously.
  • Gait assessments,
  • Dual-task walking,
  • Concussed athletes,
  • Cognitive load,
  • Recovery
Publication Date
February, 2016
Greenville, SC
Citation Information
K. Ake, Nathan D’Amico, K. Grimes, Megan E. Mormile, et al.. "Gait Assessments during Dual-task Walking in Concussed Athletes" South East Regional Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (2016)
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