Relationship Between Cognitive Performance and Lower Extremity Biomechanics: Implications for Sports-Related Concussion

Jason M. Avedesian, Emory Sports Performance and Research Center
Tracey Covassin, Michigan State University
Shelby Baez, Michigan State University
Jennifer Nash, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Ed Nagelhout, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Janet S. Dufek, Michigan State University


Background: Collegiate athletes with prior sports-related concussion (SRC) are at increased risk for lower extremity (LE) injuries; however, the biomechanical and cognitive mechanisms underlying the SRC-LE injury relationship are not well understood. Purpose: To examine the association between cognitive performance and LE land-and-cut biomechanics among collegiate athletes with and without a history of SRC and to determine the association among multiple cognitive testing batteries in the same athlete cohort. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: A cohort of 20 collegiate athletes with prior SRC (9 men, 11 women; mean ± standard deviation [SD] age, 20.5 ± 1.3 years; mean ± SD time since last SRC, 461 ± 263 days) and 20 matched controls (9 men, 11 women; mean ± SD age, 19.8 ± 1.3 years) completed land-and-cut tasks using the dominant and nondominant limbs. LE biomechanical variables and a functional visuomotor reaction time (FVMRT) were collected during each trial. Athletes also completed the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT) and Senaptec Sensory Station assessments. Results: In the SRC cohort, Pearson correlation coefficients indicated slower FVMRT was moderately correlated with decreased dominant limb (r = –0.512) and nondominant limb (r = –0.500) knee flexion, while increased dominant limb knee abduction moment was moderately correlated with decreased ImPACT Visual Memory score (r = –0.539) and slower ImPACT Reaction Time (r = 0.515). Most computerized cognitive measures were not associated with FVMRT in either cohort (P...) (See full abstract in article).