Investigating the Athlete’s Brain to Augment Performance and Skills.

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Neurodiagnostics in Sports: Investigating the Athlete’s Brain to Augment Performance and Sport-Specific Skills.

Enhancing performance levels of athletes during training and competition is a desired goal in sports. Quantifying training success is typically accompanied by performance diagnostics including the assessment of sports-relevant behavioral and physiological parameters. Even though optimal brain processing is a key factor for augmented motor performance and skill learning, neurodiagnostics is typically not implemented in performance diagnostics of athletes. We propose, that neurodiagnostics via non-invasive brain imaging techniques such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) will offer novel perspectives to quantify training-induced neuroplasticity and its relation to motor behavior. A better understanding of such a brain-behavior relationship during the execution of sport-specific movements might help to guide training processes and to optimize training outcomes. Furthermore, targeted non-invasive brain stimulation such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) might help to further enhance training outcomes by modulating brain areas that show training-induced neuroplasticity. However, we strongly suggest that ethical aspects in the use of non-invasive brain stimulation during training and/or competition need to be addressed before neuromodulation can be considered as a performance enhancer in sports.

PMID: 32327988 [PubMed]

Front Hum Neurosci. 2020;14:133

Authors: Seidel-Marzi O, Ragert P