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In Focus: Athletic Training & Dynamic Visual Acuity

  • Waterloo Public Library - Main Library 35 Albert Street Waterloo, ON, N2L 5E2 Canada (map)

The inner ear and visual systems work together to help us perform all sorts of tasks, whether in the classroom or on the soccer pitch. These systems are highly tuned, but can be damaged by a concussion. Current tests of the visual/motor sensory systems includes dynamic visual acuity (DVA). DVA is the ability to identify and track a moving target. Most often, the observer sits while this test is performed. Athletes, however, rely on DVA while in motion - e.g. tracking a soccer ball while running down the pitch. Join Katie Mitchell for a discussion about how dynamic DVA tests, in which the observer is moving, have possibilities for improving elite athletic training and for more accurate assessments of individuals who have a sport-related concussion.

Katie Mitchell is a PhD Candidate in Kinesiology and Physical Education at Wilfrid Laurier University. As a sports medicine practitioner (registered physiotherapist, certified athletic therapist), Katie works with athletes both on the field and in the clinical setting. Her primary goal is to bridge the gap between the literature and the clinic regarding concussion management. She hopes to improve clinical practice guidelines for the objective assessment of balance and visuomotor function using combined cognitive-motor tasks for athletes with concussion. This will help practitioners with clinical decision-making to determine if an athlete is truly ready to return to sport and reduce the incidence of subsequent injuries.

Katie has completed a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Wilfrid Laurier, an advanced certificate in Athletic Therapy from Mount Royal University, and a master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Queen’s University. She is currently practising as a physiotherapist at Woolwich Physiotherapy in Elmira, Ontario. Her clinical practice is specialized in sport-related concussion, vestibular and orthopaedic conditions. She is also the Lead Athletic Therapist for Sledge Hockey Team Ontario, and has worked with Rugby Canada, CIS Hockey, and as part of the host medical team for the 2015 Parapan Am Games.

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