Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Speech-Language Pathology


Anthony P. Salvatore


Background: Minimal research is available regarding the effects on motor speech and motor limb movements following a sport-related concussion (SRC). A sensitive measure is necessary to detect subtle deficits in motor speech, as it may provide diagnostic insight involving return-to- play decisions.

Purpose: This research aimed at replicating and extending a previous research study, Hewitt (2015), conducted at the University of Texas at El Paso. The Hewitt (2015) study examined motor speech tasks and motor limb tasks which included the following: oral diadochokinetics (DDK): sequential motion rate (SMR)(i.e. /puh-tuh-kuh/) and alternating motion rate (AMR) (i.e. /puhpuhpuh/, /tuhtuhtuh/, /kuhkuhkuh/); speech rate tasks; intelligibility in a sentence repetition task; and motor limb tasks: movement execution initiation and finger repetition, in athletes following a SRC.

Methods: Given the sample of 22 SRC participants, the database of baseline measures (control group) was searched to match these 22 individuals and was closely matched by age and gender. Motor speech and motor limb tasks were examined in the 22 individuals (12 males, 10 females; age = 18.50 years ± 2.36) post-SRC and 22 individuals (11 males, 11 females; age = 17.91 years ± 3.14) in the control group. Participants from both the SRC group and the control group include retrospective data from Dolan (2013) and Hewitt (2015) to create a larger number of participants in both groups. DDK tasks: SMR and AMR were measured and acoustically analyzed using Kay Elemetrics: CSL, model 4500. Speech rates were determined using the computerized Sentence Intelligibility Test software. Motor limb tasks included a finger repetition task and a movement execution initiation time task. Total duration times for all speech and the motor limb tasks were compared between groups.

Results: There was an overall slower DDK mean syllable duration time and total duration time in the SRC compared to the control group. Additionally, motor limb tasks demonstrated slower duration times for the finger repetition task and movement execution initiation time task in the SRC compared to the control group. Furthermore, analysis of speech rate tasks did not reveal the SRC group to have slower speech rate compared to the control group. In addition, no statistical significance was found in the speech rate task between the groups. Lastly, these results were compared to the Hewitt (2015) study.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that motor speech and motor limb impairments are found in athletes with SRC. Motor speech tasks may provide valuable information regarding implications of the speech mechanism post- SRC and may further facilitate clinical decision- making in concussion management.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

90 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Linda Phan