Psychol Assess. 2015 Dec;27(4):1379-87. doi: 10.1037/pas0000122. Epub 2015 Apr 20.
The likelihood of suffering a concussion while playing a contact sport ranges from 15-45% per year of play. These rates are highly variable as athletes seldom report concussive symptoms, or do not recognize their symptoms. We performed a prospective cohort study (n = 206, aged 10-17) to examine visuomotor tracing to determine the sensitivity for detecting neuromotor components of concussion. Tracing variability measures were investigated for a mean shift with presentation of concussion-related symptoms and a linear return toward baseline over subsequent return visits. Furthermore, previous research relating brain injury to the dissociation of smooth movements into “submovements” led to the expectation that cumulative micropause duration, a measure of motion continuity, might detect likelihood of injury. Separate linear mixed effects regressions of tracing measures indicated that 4 of the 5 tracing measures captured both short-term effects of injury and longer-term effects of recovery with subsequent visits. Cumulative micropause duration has a positive relationship with likelihood of participants having had a concussion. The present results suggest that future research should evaluate how well the coefficients for the tracing parameter in the logistic regression help to detect concussion in novel cases.