Objective: Neuropsychological testing has been advocated as an important tool of proper post-concussion management. Although these measures provide information that can be used in the decision of when to return an individual to previous levels of physical activity, they provide little data on motor performance following injury. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationship between measures of dynamic motor performance and neuropsychological function following concussion over the course of 28 days.
Methods: Participants completed 2 experimental protocols: gait stability and neuropsychological testing. The gait stability protocol measured whole body center of mass motion as subjects walked under conditions of divided and undivided attention. Neuropsychological testing consisted of a computerized battery of tests designed to assess memory, reaction time, processing speed and concussion symptoms. Correlation coefficients were computed between all neuropsychological and gait variables and comparisons of neuropsychological and gait stability post-concussion recovery curves were assessed.
Results: Dynamic motor tasks, such as walking under varying conditions of attention, are complex and demanding undertakings, which require a longer recovery time following a concussion than cognitive measures. Little statistical relationship was found between the neuropsychological and gait variables and the recovery curves of neuropsychological and gait domains were observed to be independent.
Conclusions: In order to fully examine the effects of concussion and determine the optimal time for a safe return to activity, a multi-factorial approach, including both cognitive and motor tasks, should be employed.
- gait stability
- neuropsychological testing