Canadian handball players take coordination tests at York U en route to the Games


Attention broadcast & digital producers/editors: raw footage of videos and images of the players taking coordination tests are available for media use.

TORONTO, July 15, 2015 - Just days ahead of their preliminaries at the Toronto 2015 Games, Canadian women’s and men’s handball teams took a trip to York University to test their hand-eye coordination.

Faculty of Health Professor Lauren Sergio and her team of researchers will use the results to study how the brain works in processing our thoughts and resulting actions.
“The Games is a great opportunity for us to test athletes for our research studying coordination in elite versus non-elite athletes at different ages, and brain differences in motor control between males and females,” says Sergio, in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science.

“The women are better at the tests that use both hands in the hand-eye coordination tasks,” notes Sergio adding, "Because their two brain halves communicate more quickly than the men's."

The tests are:
BrDI cognitive-motor integration test
This simple test takes eight to 12 minutes and involves sliding a finger across the touch screen of a tablet running custom software. In the first part of the test, the athlete simply slides a finger to a target on the screen. They then must move a cursor to the same target, this time with an altered feedback where up=down and right=left.

Automated tinetti test
This stability test takes about five minutes and involves four different gait/posture movements including walking, turning in place, sitting down, and standing up in front of a video system running Microsoft Kinect technology.

Perturbing-field slalom task
In this five-minute task, participants grasp a stylus on the end of a robotic arm and try to navigate a cursor around virtual pylons on a computer screen. This task is designed to measure the participant’s ability to make fast, smooth movements and to adjust to the irregular movements in visually-guided whole arm tasks. Movement “smoothness” and swift reaction to perturbation are qualities that often distinguish more skilled athletes from less skilled athletes, which this task quantifies.

Whole-hand bimanual coordination test
In this one-minute test, participants stand with the tool in front of them at waist height. They then hit an uncovered near-right button with their right hand while lifting a leftward hinge with their left hand, and use their right hand to press a button underneath. This action is repeated but with left hand pressing a near-left button, the right hand lifting the right hinge, and the left hand pressing the button underneath. They continue in this sequence for a total of 12 button presses, indicated by lights along the bottom of the board.

The research team collected the results of the tests anonymously completed by more than two dozen athletes, which will be added to the data collected from other major sports teams.

NOTE: York University’s media studio is available for double-ended broadcast interviews.

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Media contact:
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