Objective To evaluate the feasibility of a computerised balance test and a calculated Romberg Quotient in acute recognition of concussion
Design Prospective pilot study.
Setting Finnish national ice hockey league.
Participants Four teams participated in the study (n=113, male). Nine athletes who sustained a head/neck-related injury and control group of seven non-concussed volunteer players were followed.
Study procedure All participants underwent the baseline assessment before season. The study period was one hockey season 2009- 2010. All game related concussions during this time were recorded. Post-concussion assessment was administered within 36 hours after injury.
Outcome measures Balance was measured using a portable computerised platform. Romberg test stances were used on hard surface and soft foam. The participants stood still for 30 seconds with a closed stance. A relative balance change, Romberg Quotient (RQ), was assessed by calculating the ratio between eyes open, and eyes closed parameters. RQ was computed for sway length, area and velocity in each condition
Main results Concussed and control group did not differ in balance measures at baseline. At post-injury, soft foam measures showed a difference between groups in sway length (U=5.0, p=0.005) and velocity (U=5.0, p=0.005). Among the concussed, RQ mean in sway velocity was 2.02 (1.7–2.3, 95% confidence limits) at baseline and 2.14 (1.9–2.4) post-injury
Conclusions Alternating between different visual and/or somatosensory conditions in balance testing brings out the effect of concussions. RQ is easy to calculate regardless of the measurement systems or scales and can be used as valid tool in sport concussion measurement
Competing interests None.
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