In the U.S, mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) account for 5-10% of all athletic injuries at the high school and collegiate levels. Following mTBI, reaction time is often delayed, which can increase risk for additional injury. Research shows that vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) for mTBI/concussion can reduce symptoms and reduce recovery time; however, research is limited on the effects of VRT on reaction time. Therefore, the purpose of this research project was to critically appraise current evidence on the effects of VRT on reaction time in patients with an mTBI or concussion. To achieve this objective, I conducted a literature search through EBSCOHost using multiple discipline-specific databases, including Medline, CINAHL, and SportsDiscus. Of the 123 articles identified, 121 were eliminated using a priori inclusion and exclusion screening criteria based on article titles, abstracts, and finally full article review. Following screening, two single-group pretest-posttest studies remained, both of which demonstrated improvements in reaction time after VRT; however, these improvements were not statistically significant. Based on current evidence, the utility of VRT in improving reaction time in concussed patients remains unclear. Because VRT is beneficial for a variety of concussion symptoms, its use is still recommended; however, this critically appraised topic highlights the need for additional research, including randomized controlled trials, to determine the effectiveness of VRT on improving reaction time in concussed patients, and ultimately in reducing subsequent injury risk.
Miles, C. (2021). he effects of vestibular rehabilitation on reaction time: A critically appraised topic. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/spomed_stuwork/5