Objective To quantify postural control ability in a group with concussion compared with a ‘healthy’ control group.
Design Case-control study.
Setting University Biomechanics Laboratory.
Participants Fifteen concussion patients (4 females, 11 males) and a group of fifteen age- and sex- matched controls. Participants were excluded if they had any: lower extremity injury that may affect gait; history of cognitive deficiencies; history of ≥3 previous concussions; loss of consciousness following the concussion for >1 minute; a previously documented concussion in the previous year
Independent variable Group; Task (3 stance variants of the Balance Error Scoring System [BESS])
Outcome measures Sway area as computed using a force-plate and sway volume as computed from an accelerometer placed on the sacrum during performance of the BESS.
Main results Concussed patients exhibited increased sway area (1500 mm2 [95% CI: 900 to 2000 mm2] vs 650 mm2 [95% CI: 520 to 780 mm2] p=0.02) and sway volume (9.5 m3s–6 [95%CI: 8 to 20 m3s–6] vs 2.80 m3s–6 [95% CI: 1.8 to 3.6 m3s–6]) in the bilateral stance position of the BESS. The sway volume metric also had excellent accuracy in identifying task ‘errors’ (tandem stance: 95% CI: 80–96%, p<0.001; unilateral stance: 95% CI: 85–95%, p<0.001).
Conclusions Individuals with concussion display increased postural sway during bilateral stance. The sway volume that was calculated from the accelerometer data not only differentiated a group with concussion from a healthy control group, but successfully identified when task errors had occurred. This may be of value in the development of a pitch-side assessment system for concussion.
Competing interests None.
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