Sway balance score as an indication of improved function in an elite athlete

No Thumbnail Available
Geddam, David E.
Amick, Ryan Zackary
Stover, Caitlin D.
Stern, Danielle C.
Patterson, Jeremy A.
Issue Date
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Alternative Title

Balance is a key component in both the maintenance of functional abilities and performance of high level physical activity. As such, for athletes who suffer lower extremity injury, the assessment of balance is regularly used as an indication of improved functional status and readiness for return to play. The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) is a subjective balance assessment tool commonly used by Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists for this purpose. However, scoring of this test relies on the knowledge and clinical experience of the test administrator. Therefore, there may be a need for a quick, easy to use, objective balance assessment tool for use in the rehabilitation community.PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the SWAY Balance Mobile Application (SWAY) balance test to the BESS assessment during the rehabilitation of an injured Division I collegiate athlete.METHODS: The patient was a 19 year old female with a history of bilateral ACL tear and arthroscopic reconstructive surgery. The patient indicated increasing pain in her knees after practice, and after evaluation and MRI, was referred for arthroscopic debridement, chondroplasty and cyclops lesion removal. One day prior to the procedure, her balance was assessed via BESS and SWAY concurrently. Upon release for full weight bearing activity, BESS and SWAY were utilized to concurrently assess the patients balance twice per week throughout the prescribed rehabilitation process.RESULTS: Pre-op baseline BESS and SWAY scores were 6 (±2.8) and 94.7(±3.6) respectively. Post-op mean BESS and SWAY scores were 9.2 (±2.8) and 92.5 (±3.9) respectively. Bivariate correlation revealed a negative correlation between these scores, however this was not significant (r = -0.362, p>0.05).CONCLUSION: The observed correlation in this study was not significant. This may result from the limited data, as the only data points available were baseline measures and 6 rehabilitation measures. Additionally, the patient may not be fully recovered, as indicated by the higher BESS and lower SWAY mean Post-op scores. Despite a non-significant result in this case, additional data points may indicate that SWAY does measure balance in a manner suitable for providing objective balance assessments in a clinical environment.

Click on the link to access this abstract at the publisher's website.
Geddam, David E.; Amick, Ryan Zackary; Stover, Caitlin D.; Stern, Danielle C.; Patterson, Jeremy A. 2014. Geddam, David E.; Amick, Ryan Zackary; Stover, Caitlin D.; Stern, Danielle C.; Patterson, Jeremy A.. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol. 46:no. 5:pp 208-208:Supplement: 1 Meeting Abstract: 788
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
PubMed ID