Concussion and strength performance in youth ice hockey players

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Abstract

Objective

To explore the influence of concussion on strength performance within youth ice hockey players.

Design

Athletes were assessed prospectively before and after a sport-related concussion and longitudinally across a 3-year period.

Setting

University research laboratory.

Participants

178 unique male and female youth ice hockey players (ages 8–14 years). Nineteen of the 178 participants sustained a concussion while enrolled in the study, where three participants sustained repeated concussions for a total of 23 concussive events.

Intervention

Participants completed a pre-season/baseline assessment of strength performance annually for up to 3 years. If a concussion was sustained, follow-up assessment on the same measures was.

Outcome Measures

Lower body and upper body strength performance (leg maximal voluntary contraction, squat jump height, counter movement jump height and hand grip).

Results

Using a linear mixed-effects model, when accounting for severity of post-concussive symptoms, significant average effects were found for jump height (squat jump: Estimate=−0.05; SE=0.02; t=−2.51; P=0.0186; countermovement jump: Estimate=−0.03; SE=0.02; t=−2.20; P=0.0371) during the symptomatic stage post-concussion and for leg maximal voluntary contraction (Estimate=−1.05; SE=0.47; t=−2.27; P=0.0421) during the asymptomatic stage post-concussion, indicating decreased strength performance following concussion.

Conclusions

This study acts as an initial step towards better understanding concussion-related strength performance deficits that may limit the on and off ice performance of the youth ice hockey player population.

Acknowledgements

Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF).

Competing interests

None.

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