Youth with Concussion have Less Adaptable Gait Patterns than their Uninjured Peers: Implications for Concussion Management

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© 2020 Movement Science Media. All rights reserved. OBJECTIVE: To compare cross-recurrence quantification analysis measurements obtained during gait between adolescents who sustained a diagnosed concussion within 14 days of assessment and healthy adolescents. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: Youth athletes with concussion (n = 43; mean ± SD age, 14.4 ± 2.3 years; 56% female; tested median, 7 days post concussion) and healthy controls (n = 38; age, 14.9 ± 2.0 years; 55% female) completed a single-task and dualtask gait protocol while wearing a set of inertial sensors. We used cross-recurrence quantification analysis techniques to quantify the similarity between accelerations obtained from the sensor on the dorsum of each foot. Four outcome variables were compared between groups: percent determinism, average diagonal-line length, laminarity, and trapping time. RESULTS: Athletes with concussion had significantly higher percent determinism, laminarity, and trapping time than the control group in single-task and dual-task conditions (P<.05). Gait patterns, when simultaneously completing a secondary cognitive task (dual task), were no different from gait patterns under a single-task condition. CONCLUSION: Higher percent determinism, laminarity, and trapping time among athletes with concussion suggest that concussion may be associated with a more stuck and predictable gait pattern. These altered movement patterns may be one reason for underlying slower gait speeds that have been observed following concussion.