Assessing balance in high school athletes and its role in concussion management
Technological advancements in electronics have provided access to quantitative methods of measuring balance or postural stability. In the past decade mobile devices have added built-in motion sensors called tri-axial accelerometers. Developers are accessing the accelerometer outputs while the device is against the body, and translating the values to postural sway and/or stability. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess balance in high school athletes using a mobile device software application using accelerometric motion sensors in order to provide information for concussion management and return-to-play. METHODS: 121 healthy high school-aged athletes (62 male, 59 female; average age = 16.1 plus/minus 1.3 yr) performed a series of balance tasks (bilateral, tandem, single leg) over multiple visits. Age, sex, orthopedic injuries post concussions, height, and weight were also recorded. RESULTS: Balance scores for concussed athletes did not show any significant difference between baseline and post-concussion test; however, there were three large effect size and one moderate effect size calculated. No significant differences were observed in balance scores between ages. CONCLUSION: Balance or postural sway is one of many important factors in providing vital information to help medical professionals determine proper management and return-to-play. Mobile devices with tri axis accelerometers is a new innovative and cost-effective method to measure human balance, however, more research needs to be completed to assess its effectiveness in identifying potential impairments resulting from sports concussions or mild traumatic brain injury.
Thesis (M.Ed.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Human Performance Studies