Exploring Baseline Concussion Assessment Performance in Adapted Wheelchair Sport Athletes

J Athl Train. 2020 Aug;

Moran, R. N., Broglio, S. P., Francioni, K. K., & Sosnoff, J. J..



CONTEXT: With growing awareness of and advocacy for including individuals with disabilities in sport, implementation of concussion-assessment and -management strategies is warranted. Limited research is available on concussion assessment in adapted wheelchair sport athletes. OBJECTIVE: To examine baseline symptom reporting, computerized neurocognitive testing, and a modified balance scoring system in adapted athletes. A secondary objective was to provide preliminary normative data for this population. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: University athletic training room and computer laboratory. PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-one athletes (age = 22.1 +/- 3.0 years) from 1 institution’s collegiate adapted athletics program. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Athletes completed baseline Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and the Wheelchair Error Scoring System (WESS) before the start of their respective seasons. Symptom reporting variables consisted of total symptoms, symptom severity scores, and baseline symptom factors (eg, vestibular-somatic, sleep arousal, cognitive-sensory, and affective). We analyzed ImPACT composite scores of verbal memory, visual memory, visual motor processing speed, and reaction time and impulse control to determine neurocognitive function. Balance performance was quantified using the WESS condition and overall errors. RESULTS: Compared with normative reference values, 17 (81%) of adapted athletes reported greater symptoms and 20 (95%) performed at or below average on at least 1 neurocognitive composite score. Mean errors on the WESS were 3.14 +/- 2.9, with 81% committing >/=1 error. Sex differences were not present for symptoms, neurocognitive testing, or balance measures. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide context for baseline performance in adapted athletes and help to further develop the WESS as an assessment of balance in these athletes.

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