This cross-sectional, exploratory study aimed to compare neuromuscular performance, balance and motor skills proficiencies of typically developing children and those with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and to determine associations of these neuromuscular factors with balance and motor skills performances in children with DCD. One hundred thirty children with DCD and 117 typically developing children participated in the study. Medial hamstring and gastrocnemius muscle activation onset latencies in response to an unexpected posterior-to-anterior trunk perturbation were assessed by electromyography and accelerometer. Hamstring and gastrocnemius muscle peak force and time to peak force were quantified by dynamometer, and balance and motor skills performances were evaluated with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC). Independent t tests revealed that children with DCD had longer hamstring and gastrocnemius muscle activation onset latencies (P<0.001) and lower isometric peak forces (P<0.001), but not times to peak forces (P>0.025), than the controls. Multiple regression analysis accounting for basic demographics showed that gastrocnemius peak force was independently associated with the MABC balance subscore and ball skills subscore, accounting for 5.7% (P=0.003) and 8.5% (P=0.001) of the variance, respectively. Gastrocnemius muscle activation onset latency also explained 11.4% (P<0.001) of the variance in the MABC ball skills subscore. Children withDCD had delayed leg muscle activation onset times and lower isometric peak forces. Gastrocnemius peak force was associated with balance and ball skills performances, whereas timing of gastrocnemius muscle activation was a determinant of ball skill performance in the DCD population.
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