Neural, Behavioral and Psychological Effects of Injury in Athletes

  • Rashanna A. Moss
  • Semyon Slobounov


Injury is one of the unfortunate risks that collegiate athletes are faced with today. Even worse, is the possibility that some athletes experience re-injury or multiples injuries during their athletic careers. Athletes who experience multiple injuries are often labeled as injury prone and are treated numerous times for their physical injuries, but are never examined or treated for possible neural, behavioral or psychological deficits. For standard orthopedic injuries, it is assumed that the athlete is healthy once motor performance has reached pre-injury levels. For athletes that suffer concussions, it is assumed that the athlete is healthy once they are asymptomatic. Recent research has begun to target these misconceptions by providing data which suggest that neural symptoms, behavioral and psychological factors may exist as a by product of injury. Additionally, if injured athletes harbor any of these deficits during return to play, they may become more susceptible to re-injury. This paper attempts to attack the issue of re-injury by specifically addressing the psychological issues of fear related to re-injury of all sorts as well as neural substrates and behavioral deficits existing in concussed athletes. Using neural (EEG) basis of behavioral data (Balance), and psychological data (Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia) we will ultimately be able to identify athletes at risk for re-injury. The results presented differences in athletes related to fear levels and gender, severity of injury and number of injuries experienced. EEG data was consistent in its findings in that concussed subjects showed an increase in the frequency bands of delta and theta, and a decrease in alpha compared to non-concussed subjects. Differences were also found in Balance levels in which concussed subjects showed high levels of instability particularly during eyes closed conditions in comparison to non-concussed subjects. Specific data analysis gives rise to psychological interventions that may help to identify athletes at risk for re-injury. With this identification athletes may seek the training needed to address neural, behavioral and psychological deficits.


Concussion Fear of Injury Kinesiophobia Psychological effects 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rashanna A. Moss
    • 1
  • Semyon Slobounov
    • 2
  1. 1.The Department of KinesiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park
  2. 2.The Department of KinesiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park

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