Correlation of Head Impact Exposures to Vestibular Ocular Assessments
Managing a concussion injury should involve the incorporation of a multi-faceted approach, including a vision assessment. The fronto-parietal circuits and subcortical nuclei are susceptible to trauma from a concussion injury, leading to dysfunction of the vestibular-ocular system. Research investigating the effect of cumulative subconcussive impacts on neurological function is still in its infancy, but repetitive head impacts may result in vestibular system dysfunction. This dysfunction could create visual deficits, pre-disposing the individual to further head trauma.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the cumulative effect of subconcussive impacts on minimum perception time, static visual acuity, gaze stability (GST), and dynamic visual acuity (DVA) scores.
Division I University.
33 Division I men's lacrosse players (19.52 ± 1.20).
Competitive lacrosse season.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
At the beginning and end of the season, the players completed a vestibular-ocular reflex assessment, using the inVision™ system by NeuroCom® to assess: perception, static acuity, gaze stability, and dynamic visual acuity. Score differentials were correlated to the head impact exposure data collected via instrumented helmets.
A significant correlation was found between change in perception scores and total number of head impacts, (r = 0.54), and between changes in DVA loss scores on the right and maximum rotational acceleration, (r = 0.36). There were no statistical differences were found between pre and post season VOR variables.
Cumulative subconcussive impacts may negatively affect vestibular ocular reflex scores, resulting in decreased visual performance. This decrease in vestibular ocular function may place the athlete at risk of sustaining additional head impacts or other injuries.
Miyashita, T., & Ullucci, P. A. (2019). Correlation of head impact exposures to vestibular ocular assessments. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2017-0282
Journal of Sport Rehabilitation