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The Relationship Between Previous Concussion and Cervical Spine Characteristics in Competitive Athletes

Bentley, Audrey (2019) The Relationship Between Previous Concussion and Cervical Spine Characteristics in Competitive Athletes. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The relationship between cranio-cervical junction (CCJ) characteristics and concussion are poorly understood. Clinicians have established reliable clinical procedures to examine neck endurance, strength, and to detect hypermobility. This cross-sectional study aims to investigate cervical spine characteristics in competitive athletes with and without history of concussion.
Male NCAA soccer and wrestling athletes participated in the study. Clinical evaluations for cervical segmental mobility, neck circumference, proprioception, and deep neck flexor endurance were completed during the 2018-2019 season. Data was tested for normality using be Shapiro-Wilk test. Descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation, median) were calculated for all variables for athletes with and without history of concussion, and then stratified by sport. Neck muscle performance was compared between athletes with or without history of concussion using an independent sample t-test or Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test for continuous variables as appropriate. Fisher’s exact test was used for all categorical variables. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS version 24. Statistical significance was set a priori at alpha = 0.05, two-sided.
Neck circumference was significantly greater in the non-concussed group (p=0.004). Percentage of passing head repositioning trials in right rotation was significantly greater for the non-concussed group (p=0.043). No other significant group differences were demonstrated.
This study was one of the first to examine previous concussion history and cervical spine characteristics. Minimal between-group differences in cervical characteristics were demonstrated between concussed versus non-concussed groups. Clinicians should further examine craniocervical junction characteristics in a concussed population and consider the relationship between cervical proprioception with this subgroup. Neck circumference should be assessed during different components of training and competition. Future studies should include a larger sample size, prospectively assess cervical characteristics as risk factors for concussion, and implement more quantitative measures to improve sensitivity of results. This study provides future insight to clinicians seeking to identify any deficits in cervical function and cervicogenic symptoms due to cervical injury after a head-neck segment pathomechanical event.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bentley, Audreyacb124@pitt.eduacb1240000-0001-6650-9051
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairAllison, Katelyn
Committee ChairHariharan, Karthik
Committee MemberLovalekar, Mita
Committee MemberMurray, Mary
Date: 16 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 May 2019
Approval Date: 16 September 2019
Submission Date: 24 July 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 92
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: history of concussion
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2019 19:09
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2019 19:09

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  • The Relationship Between Previous Concussion and Cervical Spine Characteristics in Competitive Athletes. (deposited 16 Sep 2019 19:09) [Currently Displayed]


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