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The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of concussion on gait stability when either a cognitive or motor perturbation is imposed. The hope for this investigation is to identify biomechanical, cognitive, and other measurements which can assist clinicians in their ability to determine whether an individual is ready to return to everyday or sport activities following concussion.

The primary questions which are being investigated currently include:
What is the cost of imposing a secondary task while walking following concussion?
How does concussion affect different age groups? Are recovery patterns similar between adolescent and adult brains?
What can computerized cognitive tests tell us about an individual’s motor performance and prevention of recurrent injury?

Attention and Gait

The main purpose of the study is to investigate the role of visuospatial attention during walking. We use obstacle avoidance as a model to examine how humans allocate and use visual information from the environment while walking, and how the body interacts with the object while planning and executing an obstacle crossing. We invent a visuospatial attention task that provides access to examine how visuospatial attention interacts with obstacle crossing during walking. In particular, by manipulating where one is paying attention in space, we are able to probe how attention and the stepping response interact. Furthermore, we apply transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in several brain sites to investigate the cortical control driven by visual attention during locomotion.

Running Injuries Study

Since the 1970’s the number of individuals who run for recreation and fitness has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, despite forty years of research, the frequency and distribution of injuries sustained by these individuals has not changed.  Recent research suggests that injured runners may have weaker hip muscles and atypical hip mechanics during running compared to uninjured runners.

Therefore, the Motion Analysis Laboratory is currently investigating the effect of hip muscle fatigue on hip muscle activity and hip mechanics during running.  In order to qualify for this study, you must be currently healthy without any major injuries over the past 6 months, between 18-45 years old, and running at least 20 miles per week, on average.  The study will take place over 2-3 sessions.  If interested, contact JJ Hannigan via email:

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