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Title

Changes in Brain Oxygenation of Rugby Players Before and After Head Trauma: A Preliminary Study

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Clinicians often rely on simple neuropsychological and balance tests to diagnose concussion and determine return to sport. These tests are not fully comprehensive and lack a measure of brain physiology, warranting the need for an objective biomarker, especially in sports with frequent head trauma (e.g., rugby). The high number of concussions occurring in recreational sport necessitates an affordable and accurate biomarker to easily assess both severity of trauma and recovery timeline. The purpose of the present study was to address these issues, using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to assess relative changes in oxyhemoglobin (O2Hb), deoxyhemoglobin (HHb), total hemoglobin (tHb) and hemoglobin difference (Hbdiff) in the left and right prefrontal cortex (LPFC and RPFC) during a commonly used concussion test (King-Devick (KD)). Healthy baseline data (n=22) was compared to data collected following moderate head trauma during a collegiate rugby game (n=17) and to data collected following significant head trauma (player-reported excessive force to the head) during the game (n=5). Major findings indicate that both Hbdiff and O2Hb were significantly lower in the RPFC following moderate head trauma in comparison to that of baseline. Following significant trauma, HBdiff was significantly lower and HHb was significantly higher in the RPFC. Taken together, these findings indicate reduced activation of the RPFC following rugby competition. Interestingly, no significant differences were observed between conditions in KD results (time to completion, seconds). Since no difference was found in KD scores but there was reduced activation of the RPFC detected in those subjects who had experienced significant head trauma, our preliminary results indicate that clinicians should rely on more objective assessments of brain activity in addition to the currently used concussion tests for full contact sports. Assessing PFC activation via fNIRS may be a viable biomarker for monitoring the physiological state of the brain following a collegiate rugby game.

Start Date

11-4-2022 12:00 PM

End Date

11-4-2022 12:50 PM

Faculty Advisor

Terence Moriarty

Department

Department of Kinesiology

Student Type

Undergraduate Student

Comments

This entry was a part of the following session:

  • Date: Monday, April 11, 2022
  • Time: 12:00 to 12:50 p.m.
  • Moderator: Christine Bennett

Electronic copy is not available through UNI ScholarWorks.

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Apr 11th, 12:00 PM Apr 11th, 12:50 PM

Changes in Brain Oxygenation of Rugby Players Before and After Head Trauma: A Preliminary Study

Clinicians often rely on simple neuropsychological and balance tests to diagnose concussion and determine return to sport. These tests are not fully comprehensive and lack a measure of brain physiology, warranting the need for an objective biomarker, especially in sports with frequent head trauma (e.g., rugby). The high number of concussions occurring in recreational sport necessitates an affordable and accurate biomarker to easily assess both severity of trauma and recovery timeline. The purpose of the present study was to address these issues, using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to assess relative changes in oxyhemoglobin (O2Hb), deoxyhemoglobin (HHb), total hemoglobin (tHb) and hemoglobin difference (Hbdiff) in the left and right prefrontal cortex (LPFC and RPFC) during a commonly used concussion test (King-Devick (KD)). Healthy baseline data (n=22) was compared to data collected following moderate head trauma during a collegiate rugby game (n=17) and to data collected following significant head trauma (player-reported excessive force to the head) during the game (n=5). Major findings indicate that both Hbdiff and O2Hb were significantly lower in the RPFC following moderate head trauma in comparison to that of baseline. Following significant trauma, HBdiff was significantly lower and HHb was significantly higher in the RPFC. Taken together, these findings indicate reduced activation of the RPFC following rugby competition. Interestingly, no significant differences were observed between conditions in KD results (time to completion, seconds). Since no difference was found in KD scores but there was reduced activation of the RPFC detected in those subjects who had experienced significant head trauma, our preliminary results indicate that clinicians should rely on more objective assessments of brain activity in addition to the currently used concussion tests for full contact sports. Assessing PFC activation via fNIRS may be a viable biomarker for monitoring the physiological state of the brain following a collegiate rugby game.