Exposure to impacts across a competitive rugby season impairs balance and neuromuscular function in female rugby athletes

An Original research paper that went under the radar, another science paper coming out of Canada.

Authors

Stephanie E Black

Bruno Follmer

Rinaldo André Mezzarane

Gregory E P Pearcey

Yao Sun

Dr. E Paul Zehr

  1. Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  2. School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  3. Human Discovery Science, International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), Vancouver, BC, Canada
  4. Laboratory of Signal Processing and Motor Control, Faculty of Physical Education, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, DF, Brazil
  5. Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  6. Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

The study did an objective assessment tools to detect subtle neurological deficits that accompany repetitive and mild head impacts in contact sport across a
season.

What are the new findings in the study:

► A competitive rugby season induces subtle deteriorations in neuromuscular function that is not captured in traditional sideline assessment.

► Differentiation between static stances which range

in difficulty is relevant to uncover subtle changes in

balance.

► Tandem-leg and double-leg static stances are sensitive to detect centre of pressure alteration following

a season of recurrent head impacts.

► Spinal cord excitability measurements suggest deviated values at baseline

 

The study also found impact in clinical practices in Future studies.

► Implementing an objective balance measure as a clinical assessment may uncover subtle neurological. impairments without diagnosed concussion.

► Double-leg stance is often overlooked by subjective assessments, but it provides an insightful outcome if performed using a sensitive tool.

► The challenging tandem-leg stance over a foam pad notably contributes to a clinical assessment after recurrent mild head impacts.

► Spinal cord excitability may be suitable for detecting particular neurological patterns in female athletes exposed to head impacts performed using a sensitive tool.

Study Conclusions:

The study concluded that quantitative measures revealed that exposure to impacts across a competitive rugby season impair balance in two specific stances in female rugby athletes. Tandem-leg stance on an unstable surface and double-leg stance on firm surface are useful assessment conditions when performed over a low-cost balance board, even without clinically diagnosed concussion.

Click on link for full study: Exposure to impacts across a competitive rugby season impairs balance and neuromuscular function in female rugby athletes