Hyperactive movement behaviour of athletes with post-concussion symptoms

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Research units


Objective: Observations of hyperactive (/restless, agitated) behaviour as a consequence of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) in sports are inconclusive as reduced or slowed movement behaviour is also commonly described post-concussion. This might be grounded in the fact that the movement behaviour of athletes has not been systematically investigated during standardized settings and with objective methods of nonverbal movement analysis. Thus, we investigate whether symptoms after mTBI in sports are characterized by a hyper- or hypoactive movement behaviour experimentally. Methods: Three matched groups of 40 athletes were investigated: 14 symptomatic and 14 asymptomatic athletes with a mTBI; and 12 non-concussed athletes. Four certified raters analysed with a standard analysis system for nonverbal behaviour each athlete's hand movement activity, hand movement contacts, and resting positions that were displayed during a videotaped standardized anamnesis protocol. Results: Symptomatic athletes spend significantly more time with act apart hand movements and less time with closed rest positions when compared to non-concussed athletes. Post-concussion symptom (PCS) scores positively correlate with act apart hand movements. A linear regression analysis revealed that act apart hand movements significantly predict the PCS score. Conclusions: Athletes with increased symptoms after mTBI move their hands in a hyperactive and restless manner. Increased act apart hand movements, i.e., when both hands move simultaneously without touching each other, indicate a motoric destabilization in symptomatic athletes’ behaviour that might be related to impaired inhibitory motor control systems. Future diagnoses should concern the systematic analysis of the nonverbal movement behaviour as a potential behavioural marker of symptoms after mTBI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112443
JournalBehavioural brain research
Publication statusPublished - 17.02.2020

ID: 5151137

View graph of relations