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Medicina dello Sport 2021 December;74(4):642-56

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.21.03690-5


language: English, Italian

Development, reliability, and validity of a new protocol for measuring visuomotor response among athletes and non-athletes

Lai-Chu SEE 1, 2, 3, Yen-Hsiu LIU 4, 5, Ai-Yin LIM 1, Wei-Min CHEN 1, Jiahn-Shing LEE 5

1 Department of Public Health, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan; 2 Biostatistics Core Laboratory, Molecular Medicine Research Center, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan; 3 Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan; 4 Department of Physical Education, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan; 5 Department of Ophthalmology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan


BACKGROUND: Visuomotor response is an essential skill to acknowledge a stimulus and to complete the task. In sports, most athletes are required to react rapidly to a visual target. Response time (RT) has long been studied but no standardized protocol designated to allow a fair comparison of results among various studies. This study designed a feasible protocol to measure visuomotor response time using the FITLIGHT Trainer™ System (FTS; Fitlight Sports Corp., Aurora, ON, Canada) and reported the norm of RT among healthy non-athletes aged 6-59 years old. We also assessed the protocol’s reliability using test-retest and the validity using a known-groups difference of RT between collegiate karate athletes and collegiate non-athletes.
METHODS: The protocol was designed with simple, and choice eye-hand response tasks measured at zero, shoulder, and random distances. We only reported the result of the dominant hand because the behavior of RT between the dominant hand and non-dominant hand was similar. However, the dominant hand always reacted faster than the non-dominant hand did. FIGHT Trainer™ System (FTS), a commercialized device, was used as the measurement tool. We tested the protocol with healthy and non-athletic subjects aged 6 to 59 years old (N.=322). For the test-retest reliability of the protocol, 23 collegiate non-athletes and 12 collegiate karate athletes took the RT measurement twice on two consecutive days. The intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) was then calculated. Known-groups validity was done by comparing RT between 97 collegiate non-athletes and 61 collegiate karate athletes using 2-way ANOVA.
RESULTS: Among 322 healthy and non-athletic subjects, RT improved as we grew older and maintained after reaching age twenties till fifties. SRT_zero of young children (6-9 years old) was averagely 500.44±114.98ms which gradually reduced to 390.11±82.53ms in the teenage phase (16-18 years old). When reaching adulthood, non-athletes maintained SRT_zero at about 320ms~492ms. The choice task took longer than simple tasks, and tasks measured at shoulder distance required longer than tasks measured at zero distance. Our protocol measuring RT has good reliability (ICC=0.68-0.90 for non-athletes, ICC=0.70-0.95 for karate athletes) and known-groups validity. Visuomotor response improved from young children to adolescents, peaked at age 20-29 years old, and maintained throughout adulthood till middle-age. Men had faster visuomotor responses than females. Karate athletes had faster visuomotor responses than non-athletes.
CONCLUSIONS: This protocol was reliable and valid to measure the simple and choice visuomotor response for healthy athletes and non-athletes. We suggest this feasible protocol for visuomotor response measurement so that a fair comparison can be made across studies.

KEY WORDS: Reaction time; Sports; Exercise

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