News Release

Sport-related concussions

Altered hand movement behavior in concussed athletes underlie the diagnosis

Peer-Reviewed Publication

German Sport University

Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)

image: Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) - Dr. Ingo Helmich. view more 

Credit: German Sport University

Ever since the German midfielder, Christoph Kramer suffered a black-out in the final of the 2014 Football World Cup there has been a growing number of debates around the question of sport-related concussion. The emphasis here is on correct diagnosis. There are plenty of symptoms but these can be ambiguous. Researchers of the Department of Neurology, Psychosomatics and Psychiatry of the Institute for Exercise Therapy and Movement-Oriented Prevention and Rehabilitation have now been able to find evidence for their hypothesis, that non-verbal hand movement behaviour offers additional information concerning the state of health of the athletes, but specifically with respect to possible post-concussion symptoms.

Dr. Ingo Helmich and his team compared the hand movements of symptomatic and asymptomatic athletes after concussion. The findings show that non-verbal behaviour and hand movements differ between the two groups, in that symptomatic athletes are more likely to perform so-called "motion quality presentation gestures" which provide information on the athletes' post-concussion motor sensory experience.

The study provides evidence of significant non-verbal gestures and behaviour differences between people with and without concussion which can serve as behavioural markers for sports-related concussions and so improve diagnosis.


This study was published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport on December 4, 2019: "Symptoms after sport-related concussions alter gestural functions".

Contact Dr. Ingo Helmich:

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