Concussion history is negatively associated with visual-motor force complexity: evidence for persistent effects on visual-motor integration

Brain Inj. 2018;32(6):747-754. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2018.1444204. Epub 2018 Feb 27.


Objectives: Long-term monitoring of concussion recovery requires time- and cost-effective methods. Physiologic complexity may be useful in evaluating visual-motor integration following concussion. The purpose of this study was to quantify the extent to which prior number of concussions influenced visual-motor tracking force complexity.

Methods: Thirty-five individuals with a self-reported concussion history (age: 20.92 ± 1.98) and 15 without (age: 20.92 ± 2.21) performed an isometric visual-motor tracking task, using index finger force to trace a straight line across a computer screen. Finger force root mean square error (RMSE), multi-scale complexity, and average power from 0 to 12 Hertz (Hz) were calculated. Individual multiple regressions were fit to these outcomes.

Results: Force complexity decreased linearly with an increasing number of concussions (R2 = 0.101). Males had more complex force overall (R2 = 0.219) and greater 4-8 Hz average power (R2 = 0.193). The 8-12 Hz average power decreased significantly for individuals with prior loss of consciousness (LOC) and increasing numbers of concussions (R2 = 0.143).

Conclusion: Individuals exhibited linear decreases in visual-motor tracking force complexity with increasing numbers of concussions, influenced by both gender and a history of LOC. These findings indicate cumulative changes in the ways in which previously concussed individuals process and integrate visual information to guide behaviour.

Keywords: Concussion; mild traumatic brain injury; multi-scale complexity; visual-motor tracking.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Concussion / complications*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Feedback, Sensory*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Disorders / etiology*
  • Psychomotor Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Self Report
  • Young Adult