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Return to play issues in sports concussion
Concussion and concurrent cognitive and sport-specific task performance in youth ice hockey players: a pilot study
  1. Nick Reed1,2,3,*,
  2. Philippe Fait4,5,
  3. Olinda Habib Perez3,
  4. Karl Zabjek1,3,6,7,
  5. Michelle L Keightley1,2,3,6,8
  1. 1Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
  2. 2Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (University of Toronto)
  3. 3Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science (University of Toronto)
  4. 4Faculty of Medicine (Laval University), Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Rehabilitation and Social Integration
  5. 5Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
  6. 6Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
  7. 7Department of Physical Therapy (University of Toronto)
  8. 8Department of Psychology (University of Toronto)


    Objective To determine the influence of concussion on cognitive performance while completing concurrent sport-specific tasks to further inform return to play protocols for youth athletes.

    Design This descriptive case pilot study compared the performance of youth ice hockey players who had experienced a concussion in the last ice hockey season to non-injured controls.

    Setting Youth athletes were assessed while performing ice hockey skills in an ice hockey arena.

    Participants Four male youth ice hockey players who experienced a concussion during the previous ice hockey season (mean age=11.7±0.29 years; mean time since injury=92.5±49.0 days) and nine non-injured control subjects (mean age=11.4±1.0 years).

    Intervention Participants completed a randomised combination of four tasks (unobstructed skating, visual interference task, avoiding a fixed obstacle, stickhandling an ice hockey puck).

    Outcome Measures Response errors and response reaction time dual-task costs during visual interference task (modified Stroop task).

    Results Participants who experienced a concussion within the past ice hockey season and were ≤58 days post-injury demonstrated significantly poorer cognitive performance (increased dual task cost) across all conditions when performing concurrent sport-specific skills (based on 95% CI).

    Conclusions Youth ice hockey players with a more recent concussion demonstrated greater cognitive deficits compared to controls. This study acts as an initial step towards the development of an ecologically valid, sport-specific assessment of functional performance following concussion in youth ice hockey players.

    Acknowledgements Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, Quebec Rehabilitation Research Network (ONF-REPAR).

    Competing interests None.

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