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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 June;60(6):934-41

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.10110-5


lingua: Inglese

Navigation Ability Test: a new specific test to asses spatial orientation ability in football players and healthy subjects

Paolo GAMBA 1 , Riccardo GUIDETTI 2, Giorgio GUIDETTI 2

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, LAB of Clinical and Instrumental Vestibology, Poliambulanza Foundation Hospital, Brescia, Italy; 2 Poliambulatorio PCM, Modena, Italy

BACKGROUND: This paper describes a new specific test to asses spatial and orientation abilities: Navigation Ability Test (NAT). The goal of this study was to determine if football players and normal subjects use vestibular information to keep track of their positions while walking through the Navigation Ability Test.
METHODS: This study was conducted on a total of 120 patients undergoing Navigation Ability Test (NAT): 60 football players and 60 normal subjects were recruited on the basis of no history of vertigo/balance disorders and a negative otoneurological instrumental examination and the second group of the football players were recruited from Division B, Division Under-21 and Women’s League. Patients who met the inclusion criteria were enrolled in the study.
RESULTS: Our results showed differences between sexes during navigation tasks are not related to spatial learning per se, but appear to be the consequence of difference in ability to effectively use specific types of distal information such as room geometry. The NAT showed that the route-times walked with eyes closed are always longer than in normal people and mistakes improve with training.
CONCLUSIONS: These results show that NAT could suggest to the coach and trainers valuable information about the characteristics of the players and how they should play in the field. Although there are some intrinsic difficulties, for example in creating patient-specific versions of the test, preliminary normative data indicate that this original test is workable and provides important information in therapy rehabilitation for vestibular disorder.

KEY WORDS: Spatial navigation; Ear; Postural balance

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