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Do measures of cervical, vestibulo-ocular function, balance and divided attention change over a year in youth ice hockey players?
  1. Kathryn J Schneider1,2,3,
  2. Luz Palacios-Derflingher1,4,
  3. Qian Shi1,
  4. Willem H Meeuwisse1,3,
  5. Carolyn A Emery1,2,5
  1. 1Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  2. 2Pediatrics, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  3. 3Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  4. 4Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  5. 5Community Health Sciences, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

Abstract

Objective To determine if preseason measures of cervical, vestibulo-ocular function, balance and divided attention change over one year in 10-12 year old ice hockey players.

Design Prospective cohort study

Setting Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Alberta, Canada

Participants Youth Ice Hockey players (10-12 years old) who completed cervical, vestibular and divided attention tasks at a preseason assessment during two seasons of play.

Outcome measures Numeric pain rating scores (neck pain, headache, dizziness), cervical flexor endurance test (CFE), cervical flexion rotation test (CFRT), anterolateral cervical spine strength, head perturbation test, functional gait assessment (FGA), walking while talking test, head thrust test and dynamic visual acuity (DVA).

Main results A total of 193 uninjured youth ice hockey players [95% males; median age 11 (range 10-12) in the first season] completed preseason testing measures in two consecutive seasons (2013-2015). After Bonferroni corrections (α=0.0042), using Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test, anterolateral neck strength increased (right: z=−5.96, p<0.0001; left: z=−6.52, p<0.0001), head perturbation test improved (z=4.40, p<0.0001), walking while dividing attention improved (z=6.41, p<0.0001) and there were more positive head thrust tests (chi2=13.64, p=0.0034) in the second year. There was no evidence of a difference in symptom reports, CFE, CFRT, DVA and FGA between the two testing sessions.

Conclusions Symptom reports did not differ between two years of play. However, tests of clinical function were different between two seasons of play in youth ice hockey players. These data suggest that developmental and/or maturational changes should be taking into consideration when interpreting these tests in youth.

Competing interests None.

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