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Exploring the Relationship Between Alpine Skiers' Balance Performance and Cortical Activity Using Signal Leg Stance and Modified Hop Balance Test
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  • Haroon Khan ,
  • Paolo Victor Redondo ,
  • Håvard Engell ,
  • Hernando Ombao ,
  • Peyman Mirtaheri
Haroon Khan
Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo Metropolitan University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Paolo Victor Redondo
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Håvard Engell
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Hernando Ombao
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Peyman Mirtaheri
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Abstract

The study investigates the impact on cortical activation during Single-leg Stance (SLS) and Dual-leg Stance (DLS) and its connection to skier balance performance, utilizing functional nearinfrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). In this experiment, nine young skiers participated, performing both SLS and DLS on challenging surfaces while being monitored with fNIRS. We introduced an alpinespecific balance test called the Modified Hop Balance Test (MHBT), designed to assess the balance proficiency of skier’s ability to control the upper body’s vertical orientation during SLS. We employed a statistical model based on a functional mixed-effects framework to analyze hemodynamic response changes across various conditions. The results from the MHBT with open eyes (tests 1 and 2) revealed variations in stability between the left and right foot when moving forward, compared to lateral movements with the same foot (tests 5 and 7). Interestingly, skiers exhibited slightly better overall scores in lateral movements compared to straight-line ones, indicating their proficiency in maintaining stability during sideways skiing. SLS exhibited significantly higher cortical activation than DLS, with no significant difference observed between left and right-leg stances. It appears that tasks demanding greater motor control or higher complexity lead to increased cortical activation. For future research, a longitudinal study is needed to observe how training and corresponding neuromuscular efforts influence cortical activation over time. Furthermore, we hypothesize that as athletes improve their balance skills, the level of cortical activity will become more optimized and similar in both SLS and DLS conditions. Therefore, considering lateralized patterns of cortical activity could be valuable when interpreting postural deficiencies in cases of SLS.