Graduation Date

Spring 2017

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Kinesiology, option Exercise Science

Committee Chair Name

Justus Ortega

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Beth Larson

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Rock Braithwaite

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



PURPOSE: It is estimated that between 1.6 and 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States every year during competitive sports. To limit the risk of returning an athlete to play too soon a sensitive and reliable assessment is needed. Static balance assessments that are used currently only detect very short term balance deficits (1-3 days). The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of a concussion on dynamic stability and more specifically if those effects are seen to a greater degree with the addition of a secondary cognitive task. METHODS: This study used 18 Humboldt State University athletes, 9 athletes diagnosed with a concussion through the school’s sports medicine protocol, and 9 healthy athletes to serve as a control group. We will examine the difference in walking kinematics between acutely concussed (within 48 hours of injury) and healthy individuals during a tandem gait walking test and tandem gait with a simultaneous secondary counting task. RESULTS: Several aspects of dynamic stability during tandem gait were compromised with the addition of a secondary task for both the concussion and healthy groups. Subjects walked slower, shortened step length, increased double support time and single support time and a decrease in swing time. However, no difference in dynamic stability or secondary task performance was found between concussed and healthy subjects. DISCUSSION: The results from this show that there is no difference in dynamic stability or cognitive function during single and dual task tandem gait tests between healthy and concussed college athletes. However, both concussed and healthy individuals did exhibit deficits in gait when faced with a secondary cognitive task.

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