Electrocortical dynamics differentiate athletes exhibiting low- and high- ACL injury risk biomechanics

Psychophysiology. 2020 Apr;57(4):e13530. doi: 10.1111/psyp.13530. Epub 2020 Jan 20.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are physically and emotionally debilitating for athletes,while motor and biomechanical deficits that contribute to ACL injury have been identified, limited knowledge about the relationship between the central nervous system (CNS) and biomechanical patterns of motion has impeded approaches to optimize ACL injury risk reduction strategies. In the current study it was hypothesized that high-risk athletes would exhibit altered temporal dynamics in their resting state electrocortical activity when compared to low-risk athletes. Thirty-eight female athletes performed a drop vertical jump (DVJ) to assess their biomechanical risk factors related to an ACL injury. The athletes' electrocortical activity was also recorded during resting state in the same visit as the DVJ assessment. Athletes were divided into low- and high-risk groups based on their performance of the DVJ. Recurrence quantification analysis was used to quantify the temporal dynamics of two frequency bands previously shown to relate to sensorimotor and attentional control. Results revealed that high-risk participants showed more deterministic electrocortical behavior than the low-risk group in the frontal theta and central/parietal alpha-2 frequency bands. The more deterministic resting state electrocortical dynamics for the high-risk group may reflect maladaptive neural behavior-excessively stable deterministic patterning that makes transitioning among functional task-specific networks more difficult-related to attentional control and sensorimotor processing neural regions.

Keywords: anterior cruciate ligament; drop vertical jump; electrocortical dynamics; electroencephalogram; recurrence quantification analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Athletes*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology*
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult