Seasonal changes in functional fitness and neurocognitive performance in youth ice hockey players

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Changes in functional fitness and concussion status were evaluated over the course of a competitive season in youth ice hockey players, and relationships between these variables and injury incidence were examined. Thirty-six participants (8.9 ± 1.1 years) completed pre and post-season assessments including anthropometric measurements, the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), Lower Quarter Y-Balance Test (YBT-LQ) and a computerized neurocognitive assessment, ImPACT. Paired samples t-tests were used to compare pre and post-season data. Independent samples t-tests were used to compare FMS, YBT-LQ and ImPACT scores between injured and uninjured participants. The YBT-LQ composite score showed a decrease in reach distance scores between pre (86.10 ± 6.00) and post-season (83.20 ± 5.40, p<0.001). Neurocognitive assessment scores improved in all participants. There were no significant relationships between FMS scores, YBT-LQ and injury incidence. Future research is needed to understand the effects of functional fitness and concussion status as they relate to injury prevention.
Youth athletes, Functional movement screen, Y-Balance Test, Neurocognitive assessment, Ice hockey