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Tandem gait performance following concussion
  1. Jessie R Oldham,
  2. Melissa S DiFabio,
  3. Ryan M DeWolf,
  4. Thomas W Kaminski,
  5. Thomas A Buckley
  1. Department of Kinesiology & Applied Physiology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE


Objective To examine post-concussion tandem gait (TG) performance.

Design Prospective Longitudinal.

Setting Research Laboratory.

Subjects Twenty-two NCAA Division I student-athletes: twelve diagnosed with sport-related concussions (Age: 20.3 ± 1.2 years; Height: 180.1 ± 12.4 cm; Weight: 80.5 ± 21.0 kg), and ten healthy controls (Age: 19 ± 1.2 years; Height: 176.3 ± 8.4 cm; Weight: 71.9 ± 9.4 kg).

Intervention TG was performed in accordance with the SCAT3. Participants walked heel-to-toe down a 3-metre line and back as quickly as possible four times. All participants were tested prior to the season. The concussed group was re-tested acutely (<48 hours) post-concussion; controls were re-tested at 4 months. An MDC value, or the smallest meaningful change, was calculated from the controls, and the data were compared using a 2 × 2 (group × time) ANOVA.

Outcome measures Fastest time to complete TG.

Main results The MDC was 0.38 seconds. There was no significant interaction (p=0.08), but there was a main effect for time (p=0.04); Post-concussion, the mean time increased by 2.3 seconds (10.6 ± 2.0 seconds and 12.9 ± 3.7) and 10 of the 12 participants exceeded the MDC. The control mean increased by 0.3 seconds (11.5 ± 1.2 seconds and 11.8 ± 0.5 seconds), which was less than the MDC.

Conclusions Following concussion, there was a group increase of 2.3 seconds. Ten of the twelve student-athletes exceeded the MDC of TG acutely post-concussion, which differs from other clinical tests, such as the BESS, where the average number of errors following concussion falls below the MDC. This suggests TG might be a more stable test of post-concussion postural control.

Competing interests None.

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