- Due to the nature of their sports, soccer and lacrosse athletes are at risk for repeated head impacts.
- Repeated head impacts may influence the athletes’ vestibular function, cognitive function, or athletic performance.
- Determine if athletes are fully participating in practices and games with vestibular, cognitive, or athletic performance abnormalities .
- 30 student athletes from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN
- Instrumented Dynamic Visual Acuity (iDVA)
- Clinical Dynamic Visual Acuity (cDVA)
- Trail Making Test A & B (TMT A/B)
- Near Point Convergence (NPC)
- Performance Tests: T Test Agility Drill, 40 yard dash (with and without head turns)
- 15/30 participants tested abnormally on an administered test.
- The TMT A/B and T test agility drill showed no significant difference compared to published norms and between groups (athletes with normal vs. abnormal vestibular tests)
- The 40 yard dash results showed no significant differences between athletes with normal vs. abnormal vestibular tests.
- Half of the participants demonstrated abnormal vestibular tests yet are still fully participating in their sport.
- Despite high numbers of abnormal vestibular tests, the presumed dysfunctions did not impact physical performance as measured in this study.
- Absence of concussion diagnosis does not discount abnormal vestibular, cognitive, or athletic performance.
Clinical Relevance to Physical Therapy Profession and Practice
- More research is necessary to find a method to properly stress the vestibular system during athletically simulated activities in high level athletes.
- Our results may influence screening and return to play guidelines.
- Standardized norms for certain vestibular, oculomotor, and cognitive tests need to be adjusted to reflect the ability of high level athletes.
Dowdal-Osborn, Megan PT, PhD; Broback, C. SPT; Doyle, Z. SPT; Nelson, A. SPT; Stigen, J. SPT; and Williams, C. SPT, "Vestibular, Cognitive, Oculomotor, and Athletic Performance in Eligible Female Collegiate Soccer and Lacrosse Players" (2020). DPT Capstone Posters. 2.