The use of linear and nonlinear methods for evaluating balance on collegiate men’s and women’s ice hockey teams throughout a season
De Ciantis, Marco Giuseppe
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If objective data from balance assessments are to be used in assessing player’s for returning to play, it is necessary to understand the in-season variability that can occur. The purpose of this work was to determine if the time evolving nature of these measures can reveal insights, that more effective return-to-lay guidelines can be stablished. Forty-six varsity ice hockey players participated during the 2014-15 season. All underwent baseline measurements and were tested ever 4 weeks throughout the season, plus one post-season session. Dependent linear (mean power frequency, mean velocity, and total excursion) and nonlinear (approximate entropy) measures were used to interpret force plate data. Linear and nonlinear measures both showed significant main effects of time. Monthly testing throughout the season demonstrated decreases in mean values for all measures with respect to baseline. In-season variability of balance postures recorded can be used when comparing concussed athlete’s baseline measures to post-concussion measures.