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Open AccessArticle

An Evaluation of Heart Rate Variability in Female Youth Soccer Players Following Soccer Heading: A Pilot Study

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School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
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School of Physical Therapy, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
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Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
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School of Occupational Therapy, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
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School of Health Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2019, 7(11), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7110229
Received: 18 September 2019 / Revised: 24 October 2019 / Accepted: 31 October 2019 / Published: 4 November 2019
Most head impacts in soccer occur from purposeful heading; however, the link between heading and neurological impairment is unknown. Previous work suggests concussion may result in an uncoupling between the autonomic nervous system and cardiovascular system. Accordingly, heart rate variability (HRV) may be a sensitive measure to provide meaningful information regarding repetitive heading in soccer. The purpose of this pilot study assesses the feasibility of measuring HRV to evaluate autonomic function following soccer heading. Sixteen youth female participants underwent heart rate monitoring during a heading and footing condition. Participants completed a five minute resting supine trial at the start and end of each testing session. Standard 450 g soccer balls were projected at 6 m/s towards participants. Participants performed five headers, for the header condition, and five footers for the footer condition. The HRV for resting supine trials, pre- and post-header and footer conditions were assessed for both time and frequency domains. HRV effect sizes were small when comparing conditions, except absolute low frequency (d = 0.61) and standard deviation of the normal-normal (NN) intervals (d = 0.63). Participant retention and adherence were high, without adverse events. Findings suggest HRV is a feasible measure for evaluating the effects of heading on autonomic function. View Full-Text
Keywords: concussion; subconcussion; autonomic nervous system; adolescents; head impacts concussion; subconcussion; autonomic nervous system; adolescents; head impacts
MDPI and ACS Style

Harriss, A.B.; Abbott, K.; Kimpinski, K.; Holmes, J.D.; Johnson, A.M.; Walton, D.M.; Dickey, J.P. An Evaluation of Heart Rate Variability in Female Youth Soccer Players Following Soccer Heading: A Pilot Study. Sports 2019, 7, 229.

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